Q: Do I need to wash my eggs?
A: Our eggs are sold unwashed which is why you’ll see the label read “not intended for human consumption”. Sound scary? Read on to find out why we do it.
When hens lay an egg, the egg is coated with a “bloom”. The bloom is the natural coating on the eggshell that seals the eggshell pores. The bloom helps prevent bacteria from getting inside the egg and reduces moisture from escaping.
Eggs sold at the supermarket are washed with a sanitizer and de-staining compound per USDA regulations. This cleaning process removes the bloom and requires that the eggs be refrigerated.
We’ve chosen not to wash our eggs which leaves the egg’s natural protective mechanism in place – something we feel is better than using a bunch of chemicals. By law, unwashed eggs must be sold as “not intended for human consumption” or “for pet consumption only”.
We do a few things to ensure clean sanitary eggs. From the beginning, the nest boxes our hens lay their eggs in are designed to let the eggs roll away once the hen gets up. This shields the egg from dirt and debris when the next hen comes to lay her egg. This helps ensure clean eggs when we go to collect them each day. Even the way we package the eggs, pointy end down/fat side up, plays a part in keeping the eggs fresh – more to come in a later post.
We choose to leave our eggs out on the kitchen counter, but if you chose to wash them they MUST be refrigerated afterwards to protect them from becoming contaminated with bacteria. If you decide you want to wash your eggs, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Use warm tap water – the water must be warmer than the egg to prevent water and potential contaminants from being sucked into the egg
- Use an indirect flow of water and gentle scrubbing – remember the shell is porous and you don’t want to force contaminants in
- If you chose to use soap, stick with a mild dish soap (again, they’re porous)
- Dry them well and refrigerate promptly
The eggs you get from us are at most a few days old, compared to those you get in the supermarket which are already a few weeks old. Both unwashed eggs and washed eggs (that have been refrigerated) last weeks to even months – but they never last that long in our kitchen! 😉