For the urban chicken farmer, the issue to clean or not to clean their chicken eggs is confusing. With some basic information this issue can be resolved.

An egg is laid with a natural coating on it called “bloom”. This keeps the egg fresh by sealing them and keeping the bacteria out. (It’s a natural defense for the baby chick if it was forming inside.) Eggshells are porous.

Due to this “bloom” fresh eggs can stay fresh longer without refrigeration. Ever see a basket of eggs sit on Grandma’s counter? Her whites would beat up nice and fluffy due to her eggs being room temperature.Cleaning Your Chickens Eggs

If you wash this bloom off then the protection is gone. Grandma would collect the eggs once or twice daily. She knew when her chickens would lay them and she kept her egg collection to their schedule. The sooner the egg is collected after laying, the cleaner the egg. Some people use sand paper on the dirty eggs to lightly clean any hardened on dirt or nasty stuff. I have bought eggs from a farmer with feathers still on it.

Gently wipe your eggs with a paper towel (not a towel as you’ll spread bacteria from one to the other). Use a new paper towel with each egg. Put them in a container and refrigerate. They should keep for a month. I don’t suggest leaving them out at all.

When you want to use the eggs, is when you should was them. Gently rinse the egg under luke-warm water. Cold water actually shrinks the egg contents and causes a vacuum, which pulls the bacteria on the outside of the egg in. That’s how detergents or anything else you use to clean them, get’s into the egg itself. Even just plain water will permeate the shell. Don’t let them sit in a bowl filled with water. Never wet your egg unless it’s right before use. And DON’T use bleach. This has been linked to stomach ulcers.

If you want to check the freshness of the egg before cooking, a quick dunk in luke-warm water is okay. If it floats it should be thrown out. As an egg ages, gas is released in the decaying process. This is why a rotten egg floats. Only fresh ones will sink.

All eggs, cleaned or unclean should be stored in only clean cartons. Previously used cartons can contain bacteria that might pass through the eggshell. Store bought eggs have to be cleaned (with a corn-based detergent) by law before they are brought to market. They are also coated with a corn-based oil. They must always be refrigerated and won’t last long.

Always wash your hands after handling eggs, clean or unclean. Make sure your prep area and any utensils used are cleaned thoroughly too.

Mother Earth News has a great article on various techniques of storing eggs with the results over a year, Eggs-joy!

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1 Comment on How To Clean Chicken Eggs

  1. Sandy says:

    And here I thought I should wash them like an apple. Thanks for the tips.

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