Have you ever wondered how long chicken eggs last? Do they need to be refrigerated? Should they be refrigerated? If so, for how long can they be left out? These are all questions that I’ve been asked, and they’re all great ones — especially when it comes to buying eggs in bulk. Let’s dive right into whether or not you should refrigerate chicken eggs.
Do Chicken Eggs Need to Be Refrigerated?
It’s true that eggs need to be refrigerated to maintain their quality. But it’s not necessary to keep them in the fridge all the time.
If you’re buying eggs from a local farmer or a grocery store that has a high turnover rate, then you don’t need to refrigerate your eggs. Just store them in the carton with some holes poked in it and keep them in a cool, dry place. It doesn’t matter if they are at room temperature because they will slowly get cold over time.
If you have fresh eggs in your refrigerator and want to put them outside for several days, then there is no harm in doing so, as long as they are still edible when you take them out again!
How Long Are Fresh Eggs Good for Unrefrigerated?
The shelf life of eggs is determined by the freshness of the eggs and how they’re handled. The fresher the egg, the longer it can be stored at room temperature.
Eggs should be kept safely away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures — between 45 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius to 60 degrees Celsius).
Unrefrigerated eggs should also never be washed or cracked open prior to cooking because this can increase the risk of salmonella poisoning. Instead, wash them after cooking or allow them to soak in cold water for at least 20 minutes before cooking them.
Egg shells are porous, which means that bacteria can get into the egg if you don’t refrigerate them. If you leave your eggs unrefrigerated for too long, you’re at risk for salmonella poisoning.
Generally, fresh eggs can be stored at room temperature for about 2-3 weeks.
How Long Do Fresh Eggs Last in the Fridge?
Eggs need to be stored in one of two ways: in the shell or hard-boiled. Once eggs are cracked open, they should be used within a few days.
Eggs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five weeks after purchase. However, if the eggs are unrefrigerated and left out at room temperature for an extended period of time, they will spoil more quickly than if they were refrigerated.
To keep your eggs fresher longer, store them in the carton rather than an open container. When you keep them in their original packaging, it also helps you keep track of how many eggs you have left so that you don’t accidentally waste any.
You may notice slight changes in color on the surface of your egg yolks when keeping them for a long period of time. This is normal and has no effect on the taste or quality of your eggs.
How to Check if an Egg Is Fresh or ‘Good’
If you’re buying eggs from a grocery store or farmer’s market, there are a few ways to tell if they’re fresh.
Look at the date on the carton. If it’s less than 30 days old, it should be fine to eat.
Check the sell-by date on the carton. This is when the egg producer thinks it will go bad, but this isn’t always accurate — so if you get eggs that are close to their sell-by date, they should still be good.
Put one egg in a bowl of water. If it floats, it’s spoiled; if it sinks, it’s still fresh enough to eat — just make sure not to crack open this egg until you’re ready to cook with it!
Does Washing Eggs Prevent Salmonella?
One of the most common misconceptions about food safety is that washing raw eggs will prevent illness. This stems from the belief that salmonella is only on the outside of an egg, and that if you wash it off, you’ll be fine.
The truth is that salmonella can be inside an egg as well as outside, so washing it won’t make a difference. In fact, there’s no way to tell by looking at an egg whether or not it’s contaminated with salmonella bacteria (or any other contaminant).
Washing Eggs Can Spread Contamination
When you wash eggs, you spread bacteria from one egg to another. If one of your eggs has salmonella on its shell, washing it will spread the bacteria to other eggs and make them unsafe to eat.
Washing also removes the natural protective coating that helps keep bacteria from getting into the egg through cracks in its shell. So, even if you don’t wash your eggs before storing them in your refrigerator, they’ll stay safe as long as their shells are intact.
Why Do Farm Fresh Eggs Not Have to Be Refrigerated?
Farm fresh eggs are not refrigerated because they’re usually sold within a day or two of being laid. The outer shell is porous, which means the egg can breathe and you can keep it in your refrigerator for up to a week.
If you’re buying farm fresh eggs, check the date when you buy them. If it’s more than a week old, don’t buy them. The eggshell is porous and will allow bacteria to get into the egg.
The reason farm fresh eggs are not refrigerated is that they’re usually sold within a day or two of being laid. The outer shell is porous, which means the egg can breathe and you can keep it in your refrigerator for up to a week.
If you’re buying farm fresh eggs, check the date when you buy them. If it’s more than a week old, don’t buy them (unless it’s an Easter basket).
What Are Meat Spots in Eggs?
Eggs are a great source of protein. They are also loaded with vitamins and minerals. But, they can also carry bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Bacteria like Salmonella enteritidis can be found on the outside of an eggshell, but most often it is inside the shell.
If you crack open a raw egg and see what looks like little pieces of meat, then your egg has probably been contaminated with Salmonella enteritidis. The bacteria will cause food poisoning if eaten raw or undercooked.
If your eggs are sitting outside of a refrigerator, at room temperature, then any bacteria that is in those eggs will grow and multiply faster. The warmer the temperatures, the quicker this happens, which means refrigerating them is tremendously important for keeping not just the chicken inside of them alive, but also for keeping us healthy as well. Give your chicken the same care it would give to you by keeping your eggs refrigerated at all times.