eggs in carton

How Long Are Fresh Eggs Good For? 5 Easy Ways to Extend Their Shelf Life in 2024

Farm fresh eggs are a delicious and nutritious addition to any kitchen, but how long do they really last? With proper storage techniques, you can extend the shelf life of your farm fresh eggs and enjoy them for weeks to come.

In this guide, we’ll share 5 easy ways to keep your eggs fresh, from room temperature storage to refrigeration and beyond. You’ll also learn how to spot the signs of a bad egg and master the art of egg candling.

Whether you’re a backyard chicken enthusiast or a farmers market regular, these tips will help you make the most of your farm fresh eggs in 2024 and beyond.

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links.

Key Takeaways

  • Store eggs at room temperature for up to 14 days or refrigerate for longer storage.
  • Different types of eggs last varying lengths of time depending on storage conditions. Unwashed eggs, washed eggs, farm-fresh eggs, and eggs from backyard chickens can last longer in the fridge compared to being stored on the counter.
  • Keep eggs in a cool, dry place away from sunlight and heat sources
  • Maintain freshness by keeping eggs in their original carton or a covered container
  • To ensure eggs stay fresh, keep them in the coldest part of the refrigerator, away from the door.
  • Use their original carton or an enclosed container, and label the container to monitor storage duration. Bring eggs to room temperature before use to enhance their cooking quality.

5 Proven Egg Storage Tips to Keep Your Farm Fresh Eggs Tasty for Months

Tip 1: Keep Eggs at Room Temperature for Up to 14 Days

Farm fresh eggs have a natural protective coating called the cuticle, which helps keep them fresh at room temperature for a couple weeks. This coating seals the pores in the eggshell, preventing bacteria from entering and moisture from escaping. To maximize the shelf life of your eggs, store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat sources.

Ideal storage locations include a pantry, cupboard, or even a dedicated egg holder on your kitchen counter. Keep eggs in a consistent spot so they’re easy to find and use. Room temperature eggs are also easier to whip into meringues or combine with other ingredients in baking recipes.

How Long Are Fresh Eggs Good For??

Fresh eggs can safely sit on the counter at room temperature for up to 14 days. However, it’s essential to monitor the temperature of your storage area. The ideal temperature range is between 68°F and 77°F (20°C to 23°C). If your kitchen tends to be warmer, consider finding a cooler spot or opt for refrigeration.

Tip 2: Refrigerate Eggs for Long-Term Storage Up to 3 Months

If you want to extend the shelf life of your farm fresh eggs beyond 30 days, refrigerated eggs are the way to go. Storing eggs in the fridge slows down the aging process and prevents bacterial growth, keeping them fresh for up to 3–6 weeks. Washed or previously refrigerated eggs need to be refrigerated to prevent contamination and maintain quality.

To maximize freshness, store eggs in the main body of the refrigerator, not in the door where the temperature fluctuates more due to frequent opening and closing. Keep eggs in their original carton or a covered container to prevent moisture loss and protect them from absorbing odors from other foods.

a refrigerator full of vegetables and fruit

What Happens if You Don’t Wash Farm Fresh Eggs?

Unwashed farm fresh eggs retain their protective cuticle, which makes refrigeration optional for short-term storage. However, if you choose to refrigerate your eggs, it’s best to do so consistently. Shifting between room temperature and refrigeration can cause condensation on the eggshell, leading to mold growth and faster spoilage.

If you do need to wash your eggs before storage, use warm water that is at least 20°F (11°C) warmer than the egg temperature to prevent the egg contents from contracting and drawing wash water (and any bacteria present) into the egg through the pores. Dry eggs thoroughly before storing.

Tip 3: Freeze Eggs for Up to 1 Year

If you have an abundance of farm fresh eggs and won’t be able to use them within a few months, consider freezing them for later use. Frozen eggs can last up to one year, providing a convenient solution for long-term storage.

If you want to freeze entire eggs, just crack them and mix them until the yolk and whites are combined in a bowl. Pour the mixture into freezer-safe containers or ice cube trays, leaving some headspace for expansion. Label the containers with the date and number of eggs, then freeze until solid.

For easier portion control, separate the yolks and whites before freezing. Egg yolks require a stabilizer to prevent them from becoming gelatinous when frozen. Mix in 1/8 teaspoon of salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar per 1/4 cup of yolks (about 4 yolks). Freeze whites on their own without any additives.

Tip 4: Coat Eggshells with Mineral Oil for Longer Egg Shelf Life

Another lesser-known method for extending the shelf life of farm fresh eggs is to coat the eggshells with food-grade mineral oil. This odorless, colorless oil helps seal the pores in the eggshell, preventing bacteria from entering and moisture from escaping.

To coat eggs with mineral oil, warm a small amount of oil in your hands and gently rub it all over each eggshell. Be sure to cover the entire surface, including the ends. Place the coated eggs pointy-side down in a carton or container and store them at room temperature for up to 3 months or in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

Tip 5: Perform the Float Test to Check Egg Freshness

a diagram of the egg float test showing fresh eggs sinking to bottom of a cup full of water

The egg float test, also known as the float test, is a simple and reliable method to determine if your farm fresh eggs are still safe to eat. Fill a bowl with cold water and gently place the egg inside. Fresh eggs will sink to the bottom and lay flat, while older eggs will stand upright but still touch the bottom. If an egg floats to the surface, it indicates that the egg is no longer safe to consume and should be discarded immediately.

The science behind the egg float test is based on the fact that as eggs age, they develop an air pocket inside the shell. As the egg ages, this air pocket grows larger, causing the egg to become more buoyant. The egg float test takes advantage of this principle to help you quickly identify which eggs are fresh and which ones need to be used soon or discarded.

Step-by-Step Guide to the Float Test

  1. Fill a bowl with enough cold water to submerge the egg completely.
  2. Gently place the egg in the water.
  3. Observe the egg’s position in the water:
    • If the egg sinks and lays flat at the bottom, it is very fresh (1-3 days old).
    • If the egg sinks but stands upright at the bottom, it is still fresh (1-2 weeks old).
    • If the egg floats to the surface, it is no longer safe to eat and should be discarded.
  4. Remove the egg from the water and dry it before storing or using it.

How to Spot the Signs of Bad Eggs and Ensure Freshness

Examining the egg’s appearance, including discarding cracked eggs due to potential bacterial contamination, and storing eggs properly are crucial steps in maintaining the quality and freshness of your farm fresh eggs.

Examine the Egg’s Appearance for Signs of Spoilage

In addition to the float test, you can also inspect the egg’s appearance for signs of spoilage. Start by checking the shell for any cracks, slimy or powdery residue, or discoloration. These can be indicators that the egg has been compromised and may no longer be safe to eat. Broken eggs should be discarded to prevent contamination.

Next, crack the egg into a separate bowl to examine its contents before using it in a recipe. Look for any unusual odors or colors, such as a strong sulfuric smell or a green or iridescent sheen on the egg white. Pink or bloody egg whites can also be a sign of bacterial contamination. If you notice any of these signs, discard the egg immediately.

Common Signs of Egg Spoilage

  • Cracks in the shell
  • Slimy or powdery shell surface
  • Discoloration of the shell
  • Strong, unpleasant odors
  • Green or iridescent egg whites
  • Pink or bloody egg whites
  • Unusually runny or watery egg whites
  • Yolks that are flat or break easily

By familiarizing yourself with these common signs of egg spoilage, you can quickly identify and remove bad eggs from your batch, ensuring that you only use the freshest eggs in your recipes.

Tips for Storing Farm Fresh Eggs

a single egg in a basket full of green strips of paper

Choose the Right Container for Egg Storage

When it comes to storing eggs, the container you choose plays a crucial role in maintaining their freshness and quality. To ensure your eggs stay in top condition, store them in their original carton or a dedicated egg container with a lid. The carton or container provides protection against impact and helps prevent the eggs from absorbing strong odors from other foods in the refrigerator.

Using an Egg Skelter for Easy Access

An egg skelter is a convenient storage solution that allows you to keep track of the age of your eggs. This device stores eggs in a spiral or linear formation, with the oldest eggs at the bottom and the newest ones at the top. By using an egg skelter, you can easily access the oldest eggs first, ensuring that you use them before they spoil.

Maintain Consistent Temperature and Humidity Levels

Temperature and humidity play a vital role in preserving the quality of your farm fresh eggs. To ensure long-term storage success, keep your eggs at a stable temperature between 45-50°F (7-10°C). This temperature range slows down the growth of bacteria and helps maintain the egg’s internal quality.

Frequent temperature changes can cause condensation on the eggshell, which promotes bacterial growth and deterioration. To minimize this risk, avoid placing your egg container near the refrigerator door or in areas prone to temperature fluctuations.

Controlling Humidity for Optimal Egg Quality

In addition to temperature, humidity levels also impact egg quality. Aim to maintain humidity levels around 75% in your egg storage area. This level of humidity prevents moisture loss from the eggs, which can lead to a decline in quality and shorter shelf life.

To control humidity, you can use a refrigerator with adjustable humidity settings or place a small container of water in the fridge to increase moisture levels. Monitor the humidity regularly using a hygrometer and adjust as needed to maintain the ideal range.

The Benefits of Leaving Eggs Unwashed

When eggs are laid, they are coated with a natural protective layer called the bloom or cuticle. This coating seals the pores in the eggshell, preventing bacteria from entering and slowing down moisture loss. The bloom is the egg’s first line of defense against contamination and helps to maintain its freshness.

Unwashed eggs can last for an impressive amount of time when stored properly. At room temperature, unwashed eggs can remain fresh for up to 30 days. However, if you want to extend their shelf life even further, storing unwashed eggs in the refrigerator can keep them fresh for up to 3 months.

It’s important to note that the United States is one of the few countries that requires commercial eggs to be washed before sale. In many European countries, eggs are sold unwashed, and consumers are advised to store them at room temperature. This approach relies on the protective qualities of the bloom to maintain egg freshness.

When to Wash Farm Fresh Eggs

a person sitting washing eggs in a blue bowl

While leaving eggs unwashed can extend their shelf life, there are instances when washing eggs becomes necessary. Washing eggs removes the protective cuticle, which means they must be refrigerated to prevent contamination. If eggs are visibly soiled or have come into contact with contaminated surfaces, it’s essential to clean them before use.

When preparing recipes that require cracked or beaten eggs, it’s advisable to wash the eggs just before use. This helps to minimize the risk of introducing any unwanted bacteria into your dish.

If you plan to sell your farm fresh eggs to customers, some may prefer washed eggs for aesthetic reasons. In this case, washing eggs just before packaging and sale can cater to customer preferences while still maintaining egg quality.

Proper Egg Washing Techniques

When washing eggs, it’s crucial to use the correct technique to avoid damaging the delicate eggshell and inadvertently introducing bacteria. Follow these steps for safe and effective egg washing:

  1. Use water that is slightly warmer than the eggs to avoid causing the egg contents to contract and pull any bacteria through the shell.
  2. Gently scrub the eggs with a soft brush or cloth to remove any visible dirt or debris.
  3. Rinse the eggs thoroughly under running water.
  4. Allow the eggs to air dry completely before storing them in the refrigerator.

By washing eggs only when necessary and using proper techniques, you can maintain their protective bloom and extend their shelf life.

Identifying Bad Eggs: Signs to Look For

Despite the extended shelf life of unwashed eggs, it’s still important to know how to identify eggs that have gone bad. Older eggs are better for hard boiled eggs, while fresher ones are ideal for poaching and frying. Here are a few signs that indicate an egg is no longer safe to consume:

  1. Smell: Fresh eggs should have no discernible odor. If an egg smells unpleasant or has a strong sulfuric aroma, it’s likely spoiled and should be discarded.
  2. Appearance: Crack the egg into a bowl and examine it closely. A fresh egg should have a bright yellow or orange yolk that stands tall and a clear, firm white. If the yolk is flat or the white is watery and spread out, the egg may be past its prime.
  3. Float test: Place the egg in a bowl of water. If it sinks and lies flat at the bottom, it’s very fresh. If it stands upright but still touches the bottom, it’s a bit older but still safe to eat. However, if the egg floats to the surface, it’s an indication that it’s no longer fresh and should be discarded.

By familiarizing yourself with these signs, you can ensure that the eggs you consume are always fresh and safe.

Eggcellent Ways to Keep Your Farm Fresh Eggs at Their Best

Storing your farm fresh eggs properly is key to enjoying their delicious flavor and nutritional benefits for weeks or even months. Room temperature storage works well for short-term use, while refrigeration is best for longer periods. Regularly checking egg freshness using the float test, appearance, and candling ensures you always have a supply of top-quality eggs on hand.

When it comes to refrigerating farm fresh eggs, it’s a matter of personal preference and how quickly you plan to use them. Choosing the right container and maintaining consistent temperature and humidity levels are essential for optimal egg storage.

By following these simple tips, you’ll never have to worry about your farm fresh eggs going bad before you have a chance to enjoy them. So, what’s your favorite way to store and use your farm fresh eggs? Share your tips and recipes with fellow egg enthusiasts and keep the conversation going!

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