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Cleaning eggs

 
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I know eggs can sit out quite a while until you wash them, then they should be refrigerated.  I was wondering how you clean them.  The shells are porous, so I think it matters what you use.  I brush off anything on them, then rince with water, but wonder if this is sanitary. Thanks
 
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hello jen

I cannot tell you what is sanitary per say. I will tell you what we do. We bring them in the house and eventually when we have about 12(about 3-4 days this time of year) or so more eggs to wash we will wash them with cold/warm water with an old dish scrubby which has a big hole in it.  We leave them on the counter and at times we crack an egg which has not been cleaned onto a cast iron pan to fry it up.
We mostly wash them to sell them to one of our regulars.  The eggs really do not sit around for more than a 5 days at most before we have either sold them or they have been eaten by us. so we have no need to store long term.

For myself i would not store them in the refrigerator as ive got more important things to keep in that special cold controlled environment.

so just my two cents.
 
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If there is just a bit of surface dirt/poop, I don't do anything other than wipe them with a dry cloth and leave them on the counter in the egg basket.

If the egg is really messy/poopy, then I'll wash it with water and put it in the fridge.

It's really only an issue when there are more eggs than you know what to do with.  Generally, in our house there isn't a surplus.  When we had 8 hens, we were swimming in extra eggs.  But now that the girls are older and not laying as frequently, as well as having lost 3 so we've only got 5 laying now, we don't seem to have that problem of having too many eggs.

Mmm . . . nothing like a fresh egg with a nice piece of seedy toast from a good loaf of bread.
 
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I don't wash eggs, they are normally clean but even  if they have a bit of blood or a smear of something on them it's left, if one's been laid somewhere dumb like right under the roosts then I call it a dog egg and it still doesn't get washed!
 
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I was tired of dirty eggs, so I bought better bedding.
Now, the worst I get is a little something stuck on the shell.
If I had to clean an egg, I would soak in cold water and then use a veg brush.
 
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We buy unwashed eggs from someone local and keep them out of the refrigerator except in the really hot part of the summer.
If, I decide to wash some, for whatever reason, I use water that is warmer than the egg.  I don't remember when or where I first read that.

I found a little bit HEREabout washing them....not exactly the reason I remembered but still makes sense I think.


   Use warm water, not cold water.  Warm water can cause the contents of the egg to expand against the shell, helping to prevent bacteria to enter through the shell.  No need to use harsh soap, bleach, or vinegar…warm water is sufficient.
   Cold water can cause the contents of the egg to shrink, creating a vacuum that can pull bacteria into the egg through the porous shell.
   It is recommended to not saturate or soak eggs in water.  If they are that soiled, it may be best to just trash it.

 
William Bronson
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I've avoided any heat for fear of cooking them(and because hot poop is stinky poop).
Now I know better, no more soaking  or cold water for me.
Thank you Judith!
 
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Ooh, I'm glad that eggs here in India are always sold unwashed, so we can keep them out of the fridge for a month or two. Washed eggs are about as perishable as eggs that you've cracked into a bowl, aren't they?
 
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Rebecca Norman wrote:Ooh, I'm glad that eggs here in India are always sold unwashed, so we can keep them out of the fridge for a month or two. Washed eggs are about as perishable as eggs that you've cracked into a bowl, aren't they?


This is my concern, and I imagine this is why there is so much international confusion/debate about proper storage. I assume that if I buy the eggs unrefrigerated they haven't been washed, but I am not entirely sure. At this point I buy the dirty ones on purpose.
 
Jen Fulkerson
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Thank you so much Judith, I did not know that. Warm water or nothing from now on.
 
Judith Browning
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What I'm fairly certain I've experienced is that unwashed refrigerated eggs do not keep as well as unwashed and not refrigerated eggs.  I suppose this is due to what my link above explains where the outer cold causes the egg to shrink away from the shell and then can pull in some of the surface 'stuff'? I do notice if my egg supplier happens to refrigerate the unwashed eggs they are covered in condensation by the time I get them home and I feel like I need to rinse them....it's a little confusing and makes me wish we had chickens out back again

 
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I found out the fun way that eggs are supposed to be washed in HOT water. The if you use water colder than the egg, it creates a vacuum inside the egg, sucking in water/poop bacteria from the outside. My eggs kept tasting like poo until I started washing them with hot water. I use water as hot as comes from my faucet.

It's also important to dry them fully as soon as  you can. The more time it's in water, the more chances for bacteria to seep in. I wash them one egg at a time, so they spend the least amount of time in water as possible.

I also only wash them immediately before using, unless I'm giving them to someone else. Then I wash them individually, laying each on a towel until they're all washed. Then I dry them all one at a time and put them in their container.
 
Judith Browning
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Some information says hot water, some says warm and some says 20 degrees warmer than the egg.  The last one makes more sense to me...so if it's a fresh poopy egg straight from the nest in the summer time heat the wash water would need to be hotter than if it was a cool weather poopy egg brought into an air conditioned house?  The thing most all agree on is do not wash eggs in cold water, especially ice water.




 
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When I had an egg handler's license, washing eggs with HOT water was recommended. I was fastidious about changing the material in the nest boxes so the eggs were usually very clean, and if the eggs were clean I didn't wash them because the natural "bloom" on the outside of the egg provides the best protection against bacteria. But if the egg were dirty, I washed the egg with HOT water. I don't remember the exact temperature but it's hot tap water temperature, not boiling water. You're cleaning the egg, not cooking the egg. Hot water causes the egg to expand against the shell, preventing bacteria from entering the egg through pores in the shell. Eggs that have been washed don't stay fresh as long as unwashed eggs. But if you're selling eggs, nobody wants blobs of poop on their fresh eggs.  
 
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There are laws in the state of Ohio about how you store eggs if you plan to sell them retail.  Small egg handlers (less than 500 hens) are required to refrigerate at a temperature around 4 degrees F.  I sell eggs at the farmer's market during the summer (no real requirements) and keep them in a cooler with ice packs, since they've already been refrigerated. Whatever I don't sell at the marker and during winter months I sell them retail at a local co-op.  As far as cleanliness of eggs, the chicken eggs are usually pretty clean, unless it's been a rainy day.  I spot clean with water.  Duck eggs are usually filthy as they are indiscriminate as to where they lay. Again, a brief soaking in warm water and a scrubby pad occasionally.
 
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I am 70+ years old.  When I was growing up, eggs in the grocery store were never refrigerated, so that does show us how things have changed regarding egg companies back then being a lot more responsible about taking care of their chickens and feeding them correctly. The rule of thumb is that unwashed, unrefrigerated eggs will be good for a year if kept out of the heat.  Before putting them in a storage bucket i flick off any big poop after it has dried.  I wash them briefly in organic peppermint soap before using.  I have never had a problem.  But here again, I think a necessary quotient of this whole scenario lies in how nutritional the egg is in the first place.  For instance, feeding GMO feed will often result in a much thinner shell which would allow the egg to become infected with e-coli or salmonella.  My egg shells are so hard that even dropping them on the floor rarely breaks them.  You can tell how nutritional your eggs are by looking at them when you crack them into the pan to cook.  If the white spreads across the pan, this is not a good, nutritionally filled egg. My dear ducks get whole organic wheat, rye, barley and oat grains briefly cooked in a pressure cooker, and organic baby spring lettuce; they are still laying at 8 years of age. I really do think we have to take into account these important things when determining how long an egg is good for.
 
Laurie Meyerpeter
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Another thing about an egg handler's license. When I first had one many years ago, I was allowed to sell unrefrigerated eggs because I was selling fertile eggs. Fertile eggs remain in a state of "suspended animation" (until the hen begins to set or go broody on the eggs and then begin to develop into chicks) so fertile eggs don't degrade or decay until the embryo dies. I could sell unrefrigerated fertile eggs at farm stands or other vendors that didn't have refrigeration. This is not allowed anymore but the concept of storing nonrefrigerated eggs if they are fertile still applies. The rules have tightened up and eggs should be washed, graded, sized, labeled, stored in new cartons at a temperature of 45 degrees or less, etc. although here is still an exemption for storage of unrefrigerated eggs if ALL of the requirements listed by the state are met, such as on-farm sales only plus a half dozen other requirements. Each state has slightly different requirements and the requirements continually change. And the fees have gone up. My egg handlers license used to be $5 and it's increased in the last 10 years to $75 initially and $50 annually after that, which is too much.
 
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Patricia Boley wrote:There are laws in the state of Ohio about how you store eggs if you plan to sell them retail.  Small egg handlers (less than 500 hens) are required to refrigerate at a temperature around 4 degrees F.  I sell eggs at the farmer's market during the summer (no real requirements) and keep them in a cooler with ice packs, since they've already been refrigerated. Whatever I don't sell at the marker and during winter months I sell them retail at a local co-op.  As far as cleanliness of eggs, the chicken eggs are usually pretty clean, unless it's been a rainy day.  I spot clean with water.  Duck eggs are usually filthy as they are indiscriminate as to where they lay. Again, a brief soaking in warm water and a scrubby pad occasionally.



Are you sure it was 4 degrees F?  That sounds like freezing, not refrigerating.  I've had eggs go solid in much warmer temperatures than that.  Perhaps 4 degrees C?
 
Patricia Boley
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Jean-Paul Calderone wrote:

Patricia Boley wrote:There are laws in the state of Ohio about how you store eggs if you plan to sell them retail.  Small egg handlers (less than 500 hens) are required to refrigerate at a temperature around 4 degrees F.  I sell eggs at the farmer's market during the summer (no real requirements) and keep them in a cooler with ice packs, since they've already been refrigerated. Whatever I don't sell at the marker and during winter months I sell them retail at a local co-op.  As far as cleanliness of eggs, the chicken eggs are usually pretty clean, unless it's been a rainy day.  I spot clean with water.  Duck eggs are usually filthy as they are indiscriminate as to where they lay. Again, a brief soaking in warm water and a scrubby pad occasionally.



Are you sure it was 4 degrees F?  That sounds like freezing, not refrigerating.  I've had eggs go solid in much warmer temperatures than that.  Perhaps 4 degrees C?



Sorry, I work in a lab and everything is metric. The correct temp is 45 degrees F.  I doubled checked on the website.
 
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