Many outside factors can affect the shelf life of a chicken egg. Below are several examples and 9 important facts that answer the common question, “How long are chicken eggs good for?”
How Long are Chicken Eggs Good for?
FACT: Freshly laid, farm fresh eggs are good for up to one month on your kitchen counter, 3 months in your refrigerator and up to 6 months in an airtight container, refrigerated.
FACT: Store purchased eggs have been washed and sometimes sprayed with chemical sanitizers, therefore should only be kept in the refrigerator for up to one month.
Is There a Shelf Life Difference Between Farm Fresh Chicken Eggs and Store Bought Eggs?
FACT: Store bought eggs have a shorter shelf life than farm fresh eggs and must be refrigerated. Farm fresh eggs have a longer shelf life and can either be refrigerated or left out on your counter.
There are so many types of supermarket eggs to choose from; free-range, organic, pasture-raised, vegetarian diet, without probiotics, free-range non-GMO. The list goes on and on. No matter which supermarket egg you choose, all of them will have a shorter shelf life than a farm fresh egg.
Age: Farm Fresh Eggs vs. Supermarket Eggs
Farm fresh eggs are just that, “FARM FRESH.” When you get these from your local farmer, they can be anywhere from literally just laid to a couple days old.
Supermarket eggs can vary in age. Egg cartons have what is called a “Julian Date.” It is stamped with a number from 1-365, depending upon the day of the year the egg was washed, graded and packaged.
For example, in the year 2020, a Julian Date of 322 was packaged on November 17th. This only tells you when the eggs were placed into their package, not how old the eggs actually are.
FACT: By law, a farmer has 30 days to get a freshly laid egg into a carton and another 30 days before it needs to be sold! That means that the egg can be as old as two months old when it hits the grocery store shelf!
Does the Age of an Egg Affect Nutritional Content
No, the age of the egg does not affect the nutritional content. What affects the nutritional content is the way in which the hen was raised. Hens that are raised in optimal conditions will produce eggs that are nutritionally better for you.
|FARM FRESH EGGS|
|INCREASED VITAMIN D|
|INCREASED VITAMIN E|
|INCREASED VITAMIN A|
|INCREASED BETA CAROTENE|
|INCREASED OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS|
|DECREASED SATURATED FAT|
Hens that are allowed to free range are exposed to sunshine, can scratch the ground and eat bugs, flowers and leafy greens.
Chickens that are raised in a factory or are not living in ideal conditions are not fed as healthy of a diet and lack exposure to as much, if any, sunshine. Their diet consists mostly of feed pellets.
Hens raised in ideal conditions, exposed to the outdoors and fed a healthy, more natural diet, will produce eggs that are nutritionally better for you.
Does the Age of an Egg Affect the Taste
Yes, if you are cooking scrambled, over easy eggs or making omelets, eggs taste better the fresher they are. You will notice a much richer flavor, the fresher your eggs are.
If you are baking the eggs, you will not notice a difference in the taste of your baked goods. The only difference you may notice is the color of the yolk when you crack the egg.
Farm fresh eggs not only will taste better because they were raised better than hens of store bought eggs, but they will taste better because they are much fresher than grocery store eggs. Farm fresh eggs have a deeper orange and richer tasting yolk.
Does Washing Eggs Shorten Shelf Life?
FACT: Yes, washing eggs will shorten the shelf life of an egg. When you wash an egg, it removes the “bloom” or “cuticle” of the egg. This is a protective barrier that prevents bacteria from penetrating its porous shell.
If your plan is to consume eggs from a farm right away, go ahead and wash them. When collecting farm fresh eggs, eggs only should be washed if they are muddy or soiled with chicken poop.
If you need to wash your eggs, it is best to wash them with only warm water. Because egg shells are very porous, you shouldn’t use soap, vinegar or any other chemicals. Warm water will make the insides of the egg expand against the shell, helping to prevent bacteria from entering through its porous shell.
FACT: Supermarket eggs are always washed prior to packaging, so right from the get go they have a shorter shelf life. All eggs purchased at your local grocery store need to be put into the refrigerator for storage.
Can You Leave Chicken Eggs Out After Refrigerating?
FACT: After you remove eggs from your refrigerator, they should be consumed within 2 hours. When eggs are cold and brought out to room temperature, they begin to sweat and are more prone to contamination by absorbing bacteria through its porous shell.
After eggs are refrigerated, they need to stay that way. A cold egg left out at room temperature can sweat, facilitating the growth of bacteria. Eggs should not be left out of the refrigerator more than two hours.USDA – United States Department of Agriculture
Both farm fresh eggs and store bought eggs that have been removed from the refrigerator, when the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, are at increased risk of becoming contaminated.
According to the USDA eggs that have been refrigerated need to be used within 1 hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
What Temperature Should I Store My Eggs At?
FACT: If you are storing your eggs in the refrigerator, it is best to keep them at around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are storing farm fresh eggs on your countertop, they are fine at room temperature as long as this is below 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Egg Storage Tips
- Outdoor temperature does affect the shelf life of an egg, especially if the temperatures are below freezing or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remember, all refrigerated eggs that you take out should be used within one hour, if the outside temperature is above 90 °F.
- Don’t store eggs on your refrigerator door. If your fridge is like mine, it is opened several times a day and quite often left open.
- Products that are stored on the door are exposed to the lower temperatures and this is not good for eggs. Once cold eggs are exposed to room temperature, they sweat, allowing bacteria to enter through their shell.
- If you choose to store your eggs in the refrigerator, it is best to store them in their carton, towards the back. This way they are least likely to be exposed to the warming temperatures.
- Refrigerators have all kinds of odors inside of them. By storing your eggs in their cartons, it will absorb the odor before your eggs do.
What happens if you don’t collect chicken eggs?
FACT: Extreme temperatures can cause a decrease in shelf life for uncollected chicken eggs in your coop, especially if temperatures are below freezing or above 100 degrees.
If chicken eggs are left out for too long during freezing temperatures, you run the risk of them cracking. Any cracks in the eggs are at increased risk of becoming contaminated, due to bacteria getting inside the shell.
Fertile chicken eggs will begin to incubate at temperatures of 100 degrees. As much as possible, try to make more frequent trips to collect your eggs from the nest box.
It is best to collect eggs from the coop several times a day to avoid extreme cold or hot weather from affecting the shelf life of your eggs.
How Do You Test Eggs for Freshness?
If you are unsure if an egg is good, you can do an egg test on it. Fill a glass with warm water and gently place the egg into the water.
If the egg sinks to the bottom, it is good. A “good” egg has more water content inside and is more dense. This is why it will sink to the bottom.
If it floats to the top, it’s a bad egg. “Bad” eggs have lost water content, become dehydrated, fermented and begin to fill up with CO2. This is why it will float.
Eggs that tend to float halfway in the middle are just not as fresh, but they are still edible. An egg that does this is beginning to dehydrate, but will not harm you if you eat it.
When you are ready to use these eggs, it is best to crack them open in a separate dish to make sure they are fresh. A bad egg will smell rancid and look bad when you crack it open. As the saying goes, “If you are in doubt, just throw it out.”
CONCLUSION: How Long are Chicken Eggs Good For?
When it comes to shelf life, it makes a difference between store bought eggs and farm fresh eggs as well as if they are being refrigerated. Farm fresh eggs last longer whether stored on your countertop or in the refrigerator and are nutritionally better for you.
If you are not sure how old an egg is, you can always do the egg test on it. If you are still in doubt, throw it out!
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