The Shelf Life of Eggs - impressive
What exactly is the shelf life of eggs? Does anyone really know? I can't say that I do, but I have a good idea.
My estimations are based on some experiments that I have done with eggs produced here at Best of Both Worlds, my estate just outside of Cheyenne. Here our approach to frugal living includes fine feathered girls laying eggs and us placing them into refrigerated storage.
Are you concerned about old eggs, well don't be. Eggs have a long natural shelf life.
The ability of an egg to stay in storage is enhanced if your approach to egg storage is conservative in nature.
Let's look at some of the facts and figures, and let me give you a little advice. But first, a little background on eggs.
Not so many years ago, most of the eggs sold in the grocery stores could be classified as older eggs. They might have been a month old or more when they were sold.
And, once you brought them home, how many weeks might they sit in the refrigerator before being consumed? I remember not eating eggs out of my refrigerator for what seemed like months, and they were perfectly good when I went to use them.
So, it would appear that the shelf life of eggs is impressive to start with. Proper handling will optimize this.
Proper Handling of Eggs
To maximize the shelf life of eggs, there are a few factors to keep in mind:
Let's see how these factors can affect the shelf life of eggs that you raise in your backyard, homestead or small farming operation.
Harvesting eggs on the day they are laid is important. The sooner they are harvested, the sooner you can get them cleaned up and placed in the refrigerator. Eggs left in the nests will still be good for a few days, but if you plan to store them instead of use them right away, I recommend harvesting them the same day they are laid.
Cleaning your eggs is important to remove impurities that will undoubtedly come in contact with your eggs. Cleaning eggs is relatively easy, but not every egg will come clean. Impurities left on eggs can find their way in through hairline cracks and the natural porosity of the egg shell, so eggs that don't come clean should be used soon and not stored.
Proper storage of your eggs is another key to longevity. Use of a refrigerator will ensure that the shelf life of eggs is optimized. Place eggs in egg cartons, mark then with the month and day or month and year, and you'll be able to tell roughly how old your eggs are.
If you're going to use eggs within a few days to a week after harvesting them, then there isn't any reason why they can't stay out on the counter at room temperature. There is no need to store eggs that you intend to use in the very near future.
If you decide not to use eggs that have been stored out on the counter, then you should refrigerate them and mark them for use at the next opportunity.
My Experience with Egg Storage
I mark my egg cartons with the month and year. You could note them as "early" or "late" in the month if you would like. I don't think it makes much difference, so I tend to just note the month and year.
This morning, August 5th, 2009, I had eggs for breakfast, and the eggs were harvested, cleaned and placed into refrigerated storage in March of 2009. So, those eggs were roughly 5 months old. They were perfectly good, and I believe that they could have remained in storage for another month or so with no ill effects.
I know that a six month old egg sounds like a very old egg, and it is, but if you have harvested, cleaned and stored them properly, the natural shelf life of eggs will allow you to keep them for many months.
Here is more information about egg storage, and a few tips on what to expect and how to handle old eggs.
If your approach to frugal living includes raising chickens for eggs, then you'll be impressed with the shelf life of eggs. Take good care of them, and they'll keep well for you until you'd like to use them.
Done with The Shelf Life of Eggs, take me back to Backyard Chickens