How To Clean Farm Fresh Eggs: Essential Tips for Homesteaders

Gathering eggs from your backyard chickens and cooking with them right away is the ultimate homestead dream. But you might have some questions. Do you have to wash them first? What if you’re giving them away? What about keeping them on the counter to enjoy all the pretty colors? It can get confusing. Here’s what to know about cleaning farm fresh eggs.

A variety of colorful farm-fresh eggs in hues of brown, white, blue, and speckled patterns neatly arranged in a cardboard egg carton on a rustic wooden table with a floral-patterned cloth in the background

What You’ll Learn

  • Why you might not need to wash eggs at all: The natural reasons to skip washing eggs fresh from the coop
  • When to clean: Why you might want to clean when gifting or selling
  • How to do it: My go-to method for cleaning eggs meant for others
  • Storage: How to store your eggs once they’re squeaky clean

Egg Bloom: Nature’s Preservative

When you scoop those treasures out from the nest, they’re coated in a natural protective layer called the “bloom.” This magical coat keeps out bacteria and maintains freshness, making refrigeration unnecessary for a good while.

In my kitchen, those eggs sit pretty on the counter, the bloom intact, until it’s time to cook. It’s not just about ease; it’s about trusting nature’s own preservative. Plus, it keeps the daily egg collection as straightforward as a morning stroll to the coop.

Unwashed farm fresh eggs can be safely left unrefrigerated for two weeks or more, thanks to their natural protective bloom. This bloom acts as a barrier, keeping air and bacteria out, which allows the eggs to remain fresh without the need for refrigeration.

When and How to Clean Eggs

If I’m planning to sell or give away eggs, I always clean them first. It’s about aesthetics more than anything else. Timing is everything; I wait until I’m ready to move them out the door. Waiting ensures the natural protective bloom stays intact as long as possible, which helps keep the eggs fresh. Once the eggs are washed, you’ll need to refrigerate them.

1. Gentle Washing

One at a time, hold each egg under the warm running water. The temperature should be just a tad warmer than the eggs. Avoid soaking eggs, as prolonged exposure to water can weaken the egg’s natural defenses.

A collection of freshly washed farm eggs in natural colors including white, brown, and blue, loosely placed in a white colander to drain, situated on a metal cooling rack above a kitchen sink.

2. Remove Dirt and Debris

Using a soft brush, cloth, or paper towel, gently wipe the surface of each egg to remove any visible dirt or debris. It’s important to be gentle to avoid damaging the eggshell or the protective bloom.

A hand holding a black spray nozzle faucet, misting water over a range of farm-fresh eggs in colors of white, blue, and brown, positioned on a wire rack to be cleaned.

3. Address Stubborn Spots

If you encounter any stubborn spots that won’t come off with just water and gentle scrubbing, apply a drop or two of vinegar directly to the area. Vinegar is a natural cleaner that can help dissolve grime without using harsh chemicals. (This is rarely needed!) After cleaning, give each egg a final rinse under warm water to ensure all cleaning agents (and any remaining dirt) are washed away.

4. Dry the Eggs

Carefully pat each egg dry with a clean towel or paper towel. It’s crucial to dry them thoroughly to prevent bacteria growth. Be gentle to avoid any damage to the eggshell.

A hand wiping a light blue egg with a paper towel, cleaning it. The egg is among a collection of multi-colored eggs resting on a wire rack above a kitchen sink with a white basin.

5. Inspect Each Egg

Once dry, inspect each egg for any missed spots or remaining debris. If necessary, repeat the gentle cleaning process on those areas. If any are cracked, discard them.

Different colored farm-fresh eggs placed on a wire sink grid. The assortment includes white, brown, blue, and pink eggs. Some eggs have visible specks of dirt, and the rack is set against a white backdrop.

Cleaning Tips

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling eggs to prevent the spread of bacteria.
  • Avoid using cold water for washing, as it can cause the pores of the eggshell to pull bacteria into the egg.
  • Consider labeling the carton with the cleaning date if you’re storing cleaned eggs for later use.

Cleaning Materials You’ll Need

Right out of the gate, you’ll need the right cleaning materials. These are the simple yet effective tools I swear by:

  • Non-abrasive sponge or soft cloth 👍 – Harsh materials can damage the eggshell and its protective layer, called bloom.
  • Warm water – The key here is that it should be warmer than the egg’s temperature to prevent bacteria from being drawn in.
  • Bowl or basin – This is for soaking or gently dunking the eggs if necessary.
  • Drying rack or towel – To air dry the eggs or pat them dry, since moisture is a no-go for egg storage.

With these items, you’ll be set up for success. Eggspect your eggs to come out clean, without losing their naturally protective coating or getting contaminated.

Tips for Storing Cleaned Eggs

Once your farm fresh eggs are cleaned, it’s time to think about storage. Here’s how I keep them safe and sound:

  • Storage container – Use a clean, refrigerated container or carton. Label it with the date of cleaning for proper rotation.
  • Consistent temperature – Aim to keep your refrigerator at a steady temperature to preserve the eggs’ freshness.
  • Pointy end down – Store eggs with their pointy end down to keep the yolk centered and the air cell at the top, which helps extend their shelf life.
  • Avoid strong odors – Eggs can absorb flavors, so keep them away from foods with strong odors or consider a sealed container.

Following these tips will ensure your eggs stay fresh as long as possible. If you are selling them, consider pairing them with these printable egg-handling instructions so your customers know how to handle them.

How To Clean Farm Fresh Eggs FAQs

How long can I leave farm fresh eggs unrefrigerated?

Unwashed farm fresh eggs can be safely left unrefrigerated for two weeks or more. This is possible because of the protective bloom that coats the shell and helps to keep air and bacteria out. If you choose to refrigerate your eggs, unwashed or washed, they can last for several months.

Can I use soap to clean farm fresh eggs?

While it might be tempting, you should avoid using soap to clean farm-fresh eggs. Soaps can strip away the egg’s natural protective bloom and seep through the porous shell, affecting the flavor and safety of the egg. Instead, use warm water and a dedicated egg-cleaning product or simply wipe with a dry cloth if they’re minimally soiled.

Should I wash eggs before cracking them?

It’s a good idea to wash eggs before cracking them, especially if they’re visibly dirty. Quick washing minimizes the chance of any bacteria on the shell contaminating the egg contents. However, ensure you’re using the proper techniques to avoid cross-contamination.

How can I tell if a farm-fresh egg is still good?

To check if a farm fresh egg is still good, perform the water test. Fill a bowl with water and gently place the egg in it. Fresh eggs will sink and lay flat on the bottom, while older eggs will start to float or stand upright. A floating egg is a sign that it’s no longer fresh, as gases have built up inside the shell over time.

More on Raising Chickens for Eggs:

Backyard chickens are one of the best ways to start homesteading. If you’ve just gotten started and want to expand your flock, there’s a lot to learn.

Enjoy your harvest!

  • 🚫 Cleaning isn’t always necessary, especially for eggs you’re keeping for yourself.
  • 🧽 When it comes time to clean, do it with care, using the right materials.
  • 🎁 Presentation matters if you’re sharing or selling your eggs.
  • 🥚 Respect the egg’s natural protective barrier when possible.
  • 💡 Proper storage after cleaning prolongs an egg’s freshness.

Remember, no matter how you choose to handle your bounty, a little knowledge and attention can go a long way in keeping your eggs safe and delicious.

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2 Comments

  1. Thank you for this information. I enjoyed the article and thought the format was easy to read and follow for anyone.
    God Bless.