By the time you buy your eggs in the grocery store, the average age of eggs would have been around 8 weeks old. By raising your own chickens, you can be sure that your eggs are fresh. Here are some tips to keeping your eggs fresh as long as possible:
Keep The Eggs Clean
Ensure that the nesting box bedding is kept clean and it should be changed often so that the eggs collected will not be caked with mud or chicken poop.
Do Not Wash Them
As a general rule of thumb, do not wash the eggs immediately after collecting them. There is a natural bloom on the surface of the shell of eggs that help keeps out air and bacteria. Hence, it is important to ensure the bloom is intact in order to keep the eggs fresh.
To Refrigerate The Eggs Or Not?
Eggs do not need to be refrigerated. However, if you are not planning to eat the eggs immediately, it is best to refrigerate them. One day out on the counter at room temperature is equivalent to about 7 days in the refrigerator. Hence, eggs can be kept 7 times longer if refrigerated. It is a personal choice whether one wants to refrigerate the eggs or not. In some countries such as United Kingdom or Ireland, eggs are not even refrigerated in the supermarkets.
Storing The Eggs
Eggs should be stored with the pointy end down and the blunt end up. This is because the air sac in the blunt end helps keep additional moisture from being lost. Eggshells are porous and will absorb odours. Therefore, it is important to store them in a carton or covered container and keep them away from food that has a foul smell.
Freezing Extra Eggs
Eggs can freeze well. If you have extra eggs and want to store them to use during the winter when egg production is lower, it is a good idea to freeze the extra eggs. If you are living in a cold climate, there is a chance of eggs freezing outside the nesting box and possible cracking. Therefore, collect the eggs frequently to avoid this issue.
Test The Age Of Eggs
To test if the eggs are old, perform the "Float Test". Fill a glass with water and drop the egg into the glass. Fresh egg will lay at the bottom of the glass, eggs aged 2-3 weeks will start to rise from the bottom of the glass, eggs that is 2 months old will start to angled up a little more and by 3 months, it will stand up straight in the glass. The general rule of thumb is as long as one end of the egg is touching the bottom, it is safe to eat. If the egg floats, it's best not to eat and discard it.
Wash The Eggs Before Using
Before using the eggs, rinse them under warm water. It is not necessary to use soap or detergent to wash the eggs so as long as the water is warm as it avoids drawing bacteria through the shell of the egg. Eggshells can be fed to your chickens as a free source of calcium.