now that we have plenty of Gifts from The Girls, the obvious question is how to best store the eggs?
farm fresh eggs come with a protein coating called the bloom which seals the egg and protects it from going bad from bacterial contamination. supermarket eggs are washed which removes the bloom and forces refrigeration. but just how long can unwashed eggs remain edible without refrigeration?
we’ve heard anectodes from folks with backyard hens who claim 3-4 months! i’m not sure who would ever have the tasty gifts sitting around that long, but a 1977 study from mother earth news, “How To Store Fresh Eggs” seems to corroborate the anectode. according to the article unrefrigerated, unwashed farm eggs were still edible after 12 weeks, although they note that, “If we’d had our druthers, understand, we’d have eaten something else … but, under survival conditions, we could have lived on the completely unprotected 90-day-old eggs if we’d have had to.”
according to the study, an unwashed clean egg placed under refrigeration shortly after being laid can stay fresh for up to six months or more!
so, as strange as it might sound to folks used to fretting about how long eggs have been out of the fridge, keeping clean fresh, unwashed eggs unrefrigerated for a few months seems entirely plausible.
we don’t keep them around that long, but we do tend to have them out of the fridge for a few days before sending our surplus to happy homes and consuming the rest within 7-10 days of being laid.
the inevitable egg with a bit of manure is a little more problematic. washing it will remove the protection of the bloom, so any soiled eggs are handled with care and common sense. don’t put heavily manured eggs in fridge with other food and, as this article states, “Do not immerse your eggs in a sink full of water. The bloom is removed leaving the eggs surrounded by water that contains manure. I think you can see the problem here.”