After collecting eggs, how long will they last?

“After collecting eggs, how long will they last?” ~ Mark Beard

Hi Mark thanks for the question.

Forgive me if you know this already but let’s start with the basics; as the last step before being laid, the egg is coated with a protective membrane called the “bloom”.”

The bloom seals the pores and slows down the evaporation that takes place through the porous egg shell. It also helps to protect the contents of the egg from bacteria that could enter through the shell.

All eggs should be washed before consumption; this is done by rinsing them with water. The great debate is when to wash.

One side of the argument would say that if the bloom can protect a chick for 21 days during incubation, surely the eggs can sit on the kitchen counter for awhile and still be just fine. Simply wash the eggs before use to remove the bloom.

The other side of the argument goes something like this; all eggs should be washed and refrigerated as soon as they are collected.

I tend to fall somewhere between these two schools of thought.

If the eggs are soiled, they are washed and then immediately eaten or refrigerated. Soiled eggs should not be placed in the refrigerator until they are thoroughly washed. Eggs must be refrigerated as soon as they are washed because once the bloom has been removed, that protective and preservative quality is gone.

If the eggs are clean, meaning they are not soiled in any way, I do not believe they need to be washed until we are ready to use them. I don’t have a problem with the eggs sitting on the counter for two to three days before we refrigerate them. Refrigeration further slows down the aging process and keeps the eggs fresher for a longer period of time.

When the weather is warm, we collect our eggs more often and do make sure to refrigerate them sooner. The warmer weather will speed the aging process.

So Mark, to answer your question, if the weather is cool, I’m comfortable recommending that unwashed, unrefrigerated eggs should be good for up to two weeks.

This presupposes that there are no cracks in the eggs and that they are not soiled in any way. It also assumes that the eggs have not been handled very much as this will wear away the bloom.

If the eggs have been washed and refrigerated, they will stay good for two months or longer although they will not be as fresh tasting.

Always store your eggs in an egg carton in the center of the refrigerator. Do not use the egg holders the manufacturers put in the door. Opening and closing the door exposes the eggs to far too many temperature changes. Your eggs need to be kept at a more constant temperature on an interior shelf.

To keep your eggs fresh longest, store non-soiled, unwashed eggs in the refrigerator. They will stay good for 6 months. Eggs age because of the transference of air and the evaporation that takes place within the egg. The combination of the sealing effect of the bloom and the refrigeration give you the best of both worlds.

I’d recommend that before you use any eggs, you do a float test to check for freshness.

Fill a flat bottomed container with cool water. Place your eggs in the water.

If the egg lies on its side at the bottom of the container, it is very fresh.

If the egg starts to come up at an angle but stays in contact with the bottom of the container, it is fresh as well.

If the egg stands on end but still stays in contact with the bottom of the container, use it for baking.

If the egg floats in any way, losing contact with the container, throw it out, it’s gone bad.

Thanks again for the question Mark.