So, how do you safely clean and store fresh eggs? Well, a little bit of a backstory; I was raised on a working farm that has been in our family for over 150 years. Just two generations before me were almost entirely self-sufficient on the farm. Now (and while I was growing up) we raise mostly beef cattle and sheep. So, when my sister and I got our first chickens many years ago, it was a little bit of a learning curve. I reached out to neighboring chicken owners and researched the proper way to clean and store fresh chicken eggs. Most importantly, I wanted to make sure I was being as safe as possible. All the new information can be a little overwhelming. So, I want to share all I’ve learned right here with you, friend. Read on to find out how to safely clean and store your fresh eggs or fresh eggs you get from a local farmer.

farm fresh eggs in gathering basket

Fresh Eggs

Eggs are one of nature’s superfoods and sometimes referred to as “nature’s multivitamin.” There is nothing better than having fresh chicken eggs straight from your coop or from a local farmer. Store bought eggs just don’t have the rich flavor as fresh eggs either.

Benefits of Having Farm Fresh Chicken Eggs

  • They’re healthier! You are able to control what you feed your chickens and what they are exposed to.
  • Fresh free range eggs have less cholesterol and saturated fat. Additionally, fresh eggs contain 2/3 more vitamin A, 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids, 3 times more vitamin E, and 7 times more beta carotene. As well as, 1/3 less cholesterol and 1/4 less saturated fat. (According to a Mother Earth News study.)
  • They’re fresher!
  • The flavor is richer and much tastier.
  • Cheaper! Depending on how you’re feeding your chickens.

Do You Need to Clean Your Fresh Eggs?

Yes, before you crack them but not right away. That’s right, not washing your eggs right away can help them last longer! Fresh eggs have a natural coating, called the bloom, that prevents bacteria from entering the egg.

What Is The Bloom?

The bloom or cuticle of the egg is a waxy layer of protein that surrounds the egg. The shell naturally has thousands of tiny pores. So, when the chicken lays an egg, the egg passes right through the cloaca which is also where the chicken’s feces and urine exit. The bloom prevents that bacteria from entering all those tiny pores. By keeping the bacteria out, your eggs last longer on the counter at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Storing Fresh Eggs at Room Temperature on the Counter

Fresh UNWASHED eggs can be stored at room temperature on the counter for at least two weeks or up to a month. Why only unwashed eggs can be left out at room temperature? Remember, the bloom helps to seal all those tiny pores. Once the eggs are washed, those pores are open to allow bacteria to enter the egg. Washed eggs must be stored in the refrigerator.

Important Tip: In the colder months, if your eggs develop condensation on them at room temperature when you bring them inside, then it is safe practice to put them in the refrigerator. Once condensation forms it could compromise the protective bloom and allow bacteria to enter the egg. We do not want to take that risk, friends!

I love the look and feel of having my fresh eggs out on the counter. It makes for a joyful and colorful reminder of a simple, traditional life. We use our eggs regularly and they don’t last long on the counter before the next eggs are added to the collection.

If you don’t intend to use your eggs right away, then you can always refrigerate them.

farm fresh eggs on skelter on counter

Storing Fresh Eggs in the Refrigerator

You can store fresh UNWASHED or WASHED eggs in the refrigerator for longer storage.

UNWASHED eggs can be stored in the refrigerator for at least three months or more. If you are having a high yield of eggs, this is your best option for storage.

WASHED eggs must be stored in the refrigerator and will last for at least two months.

Which Storage Method Will Work Best for You and Your Family?

I usually have both unwashed and washed eggs stored in my refrigerator at any given time. So, I make sure to separate them so I don’t get them confused, due to the length of time they considered safe to eat when stored and because it is important to wash them before use. I use my washed eggs when I quickly need one for a recipe. I do always wash my eggs before using them and will rotate my unwashed eggs to my washed egg container once they’re clean. For breakfast, I typically grab a few eggs from my unwashed carton or from the counter to use and again, wash them before you use them.

As long as you’re making sure your eggs are stored correctly and being washed before use, you can store them whichever way works best for you and your family. It may take a little while to figure this out and it can change depending on how your chickens are laying. Don’t get discouraged if it is overwhelming at first. If you are ever unsure of the freshness of your eggs, there are a couple simple ways to tell.

Practical and Pretty Farm Fresh Egg Storage

I have rounded up my favorite practical and pretty farm fresh egg storage containers for your counter or your refrigerator in this post.

Practical and pretty egg storage pin

How to Spot a Bad Egg?

First things first, if you are absolutely unsure if an egg is good, throw it out!

You can use the float test to test freshness. It helps you determine approximately how old your eggs are. The inside of an egg, as we know, contains water/moisture. As eggs sit on the counter or in the refrigerator, they start to dehydrate. This dehydration allows for air to fill the pocket of empty space.

Float Test:

  • Fill a glass or bowl with cold water.
  • Gently place eggs in the water.
  • Fresh eggs will sink to the bottom and lay on their side.
  • Old eggs that have dehydrated will float to the top.
fresh eggs in bowl for float test for freshness
Notice the blue egg is on the bottom (fresh) and the brown egg is floating (not fresh).

Eggs that begin to dehydrate will have their broad end floating upward, pointing toward the top of the glass or bowl.

Another way to spot a bad egg is to simply crack it open. If it smells and looks normal, chances are it is still good to eat. Fresh eggs should be essentially odorless. Always trust your nose, eyes and experience. When in doubt, throw it out!

How to Clean Fresh Eggs

  1. Remove any large pieces of poop, nest bedding, or feathers.
  2. Rinse under warm tap water and use a soft, natural bristle brush to wash away any visibly dirty areas.
  3. Allow eggs to air dry on a towel or dry them off.
  4. Once dry, make sure to refrigerate them promptly!

That’s it!

woman cleaning fresh eggs

Important tip: Avoid cold water and chemical cleaners.

I hope this helped. If you are wanting to raise chickens for fresh eggs, I can not recommend it enough! If you want to enjoy a simple homesteading experience without actually having a homestead then I encourage you to seek out a local egg farmer or neighbor with some extra fresh eggs. The flavor and health benefits of fresh eggs is worth it but the variety of beautiful colored eggs is an added bonus! Let’s seek simple together, friend!

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How to safely clean and store your fresh eggs pin

Related Post: Easy Tips to Train Your Chickens to Lay in Their Nesting Boxes

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