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How long are farm fresh eggs good for?

A week? More?

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  1. I would say more. I try to poach some right away, but if I've let them sit around for a bit, I end up hard boiling eggs. This test works pretty well - put the eggs in a bowl/pot of water. The ones that float up to the top are too old and should be thrown out, the ones that sink to the bottom are the heaviest, and freshest. If the egg stays submerged, but is vertical rather than horizontal, it's a "boiler" in my book.

    1. I assume you refrigerate them. In that case, more. I use eggs rarely, so I often have them around for a month or more. In my entire life, I have had exactly (egg-sactly?) ONE egg be bad.

      1. To me, it's not so much how long they'll keep, but how long they're good for particular uses where the freshness shines. I've never had an egg go "bad," but we do like our eggs in this household, so they get eaten sooner rather than later. When they're a couple or more weeks old, they're better hard boiled, deviled, in egg salad, etc. than say, poached or soft boiled.

        1 Reply
        1. re: amyzan

          That's a good point. I only occasionally eat eggs for a meal, usually using them in baked goods or other recipes, like ice cream. In that case, the reduced "freshness" probably doesn't matter as much. But if you eat them as a meal, it might matter more.

        2. Six months refrigerated. One month on the counter.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rworange

            rworange, I have read this somewhere before and agree with it. I'd like to know where you got this info. I'm eating eggs that are 45 days old, ate some yesterday and were very good. I collect up to 40 eggs a day so I have to keep track of their age.

          2. As ipse posted, they will keep for a long time, especially if refrigerated. I just had ate some eggs that were almost a month past their "sell by" date, and they were fine.

            That being said, the beauty of farm fresh eggs is that they are FRESH, so I'd try to use them as quickly as possible just so you can enjoy them at their peak.

            1. Months. Usually eggs from the grocery store are at least a month old already.

              Very fresh eggs tend not to be as good for hard boiling--they taste good, but they don't peel neatly. Eggs that have aged longer have more air in them.

              1 Reply
              1. re: David A. Goldfarb

                David, I take fresh eggs, such as have been in the refrigerator a day and boil them. The key is to put the eggs in cold water add a half to a full cup of cheep salt to the water, bring to a brisk boil, boil for ten minutes and cool, running cold water over them while dumping the hot. Peal under running water. Works for us every time. I agree that week old is better than day old but either way, this works.

              2. Eggs vary individually on how long they're good. That makes the quick smart*ss answer, "Until they go bad." But... If you want to maximize their shelf life, wash them well, dry them well, then coat the shell with a tasteless oil or rub them with a bit of butter. Egg shells are very porous (how do you think the baby chick breathes before it hatches?) and keeping the air out greatly extends their shelf life. Oh, and refrigerate of course!

                19 Replies
                1. re: Caroline1

                  USDA recommends against consumers washing eggs:
                  "Should you wash eggs?
                  No. It's not necessary or recommended for consumers to wash eggs and may actually increase the risk of contamination because the wash water can be "sucked" into the egg through the pores in the shell When the chicken lays the egg, a protective coating is put on the outside by the hen. Government regulations require that USDA-graded eggs be carefully washed and sanitized using only compounds meeting FDA regulations for processing foods."


                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    When I get store bought eggs that still have chicken "fecal matter" stuck to the shell, I don't wash... I throw them out! But when we raised our own chickens, we washed! Common sense, regardless of what the FDA says. '-)

                    1. re: Caroline1

                      This is not an area that I know anything about other than that the USDA is making a concerted effort to get the info I quoted about out to the public.

                      Given that we know that egg shells are quite permeable, it seems common sense to NOT wash them unless one is careful to adhere to the temperature bands and compounds that USDA dictates for commercial processors. Otherwise, there is the risk stated that contaminants enter the pores once you remove the natural coating. I understand that some who raise chickens at home use a dry brushing method and do not apply liquids due to the risk of permeating the shell.

                      In any case, that's the USDA's position and I wanted to include it here since it is opposite of your advice. Then consumers can be aware of both sides and make an informed decision about which way they want to go.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        Sometimes being only twenty minutes younger than God has its advantages. You know a lot of ancient history from first hand experience! And In my case, that includes eggs. But please note: I am not QUITE old enough to know which came first. '-)

                        I would not recommend that anyone wash eggs in dirty water. Or any kind of water that might flavor the eggs, good or bad. One of the reasons for the FDA's warnings has to do with salmonella contamination, as much as anything else. Today's commercial momma hens CAN (not all do, but some do) have salmonella in their systems to the extent that it is present in their freshly lain eggs, which is why it's no longer considered safe to make your own Caesar's salad dressing from scratch unless you use pasteurized-in-the-shell eggs or Egg Beaters. A few years back -- I don't recall how many years ago, but it seems to me it was within the last five or ten years -- a salmonella vaccine was developed that was to be sprayed over chickens or hatchlings (I don't recall all of the details and it's now the wee small hours of the morning as I write this so I'm too lazy to look it up) that carried some promise of getting us back to chickens the way chickens are supposed to be: salmonella free! But I don't think we're there yet.

                        Time was when chicken ranchers cleaned their eggs and buffed the shells with fine sand paper when there was a natural lump in the shell. I suspect no one today who raises chickens "commercially" has time for such niceties. Pity.

                        There is so much about life that people miss today because family farms are so very rare, and even kids who live in the countryside can grow up never having gathered eggs from under a sitting hen on a cold winter morning and feeling the heat of the hen while stealing her eggs for breakfast. How many people here on Chowhound (raise your hands!) have ever had a double yolked egg? Triple yolks in one egg? Teeny weeny first laid eggs that look like they came from a dove instead of a chicken? <sigh> And how many here know that if you feed a cow tomatoes she will give pink milk? See all of the wonderful things so many are missing today?

                        If you have to wash/clean eggs, do it with sterile salt water, preferably a saturated saline solution that you make by stirring salt into water until it will no longer dissolve. Then just wipe them with a clean paper towel dippe4de in the saline and do not soak your eggs in the saline solution over night or they will be salty! But this is a safe, natural way to clean raw eggs with no danger of contaminating the eggs. But do remember that in today's world, there is some risk eggs are already contaminated when you buy them.

                        1. re: Caroline1

                          The advisory is from USDA, not the FDA.

                          Salmonella is indeed the culprit that we're trying to avoid. It can be present on the shells or inside the egg, and as you say eggs can already be contaminated. Given that it can be present on the shells, it would not seem that there is no danger in cleaning the eggs as you describe. Wouldn't that raise the possibility of sucking the salmonella from the outside of the shell to the inside? Saline solution does not kill salmonella, in fact, salmonella thrive in salty environments unlike other bacteria. Commercial processors wash eggs within certain temperatures to moderate shell pore size and lessen permeability during this step, but again, consumers are warned not to wash eggs at home.

                          Double-yolked eggs are more common in the spring time when laying starts to ramp up. I ran across several this year.

                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            Melanie, I hear you on the Salmonella and going inside the shells. There are so many things to worry about that I go the old fashion way, collect the eggs, put the clean ones in a carton, wash the real dirty ones, eat them all, give some to friends and neighbors, their happy, I'm happy, they ask for more, I give them more if I have them and all is good. I really appreciate your input and concerns. Like I said, I hear you. I'm a fellow l that believes that I don't need to wipe down before taking a shopping cart into the store. I do wash my hands after going to the bathroom but then I ride my hand on the handrail up the stairs to the Dr's office, touch the door knob, shake a mans hand, take a candy, place it in my mouth with my contaminated fingers, lick the sticky off my fingers and get nothing but a non worried feeling. There is so much to worry about these days so I tend to live in the past, like way back. We handle money that was handled by twenty people before and they may not have washed their hands after going to the bathroom, then picking their nose, walking up the same stairs as I, opening that same door too. I'm not being mean but I am being real. I love what you have given me in info and only giving you my thoughts back. I appreciate you and can tell you have a wealth of knowledge.

                            1. re: mpostier

                              Thanks, but no, eggs are not an area of knowledge for me and I'm certain that Caroline1 has forgotten more about the topic than I'll ever know! But it would be irresponsible of me to not point out dangers in some of the advice or blanket guarantees stated earlier here when they are contrary to facts and good practice.

                              Personally, when I buy eggs direct at the farm, I ask for unwashed eggs with the hen's natural coating and keep them that way in fridge. When buying eggs in the supermarket, check the julian date for the freshest batches. Starting with the freshest eggs is the best way to ensure maximum keeping time.

                              * * * *

                              Sonoma County Egg Hunt: I Brake for Fresh Farm Eggs

                            2. re: Melanie Wong

                              Yes! USDA, not FDA. I mistyped. Sorry about that. :-)

                              As for your question about whether washing eggs will suck salmonella inside them, not a lot of danger there since if salmonella is present on the exterior of the shell, it's almost 100% sure to be inside the egg too!

                              The USDA (and other government regulatory agencies) have to practice the same teaching method that most schools today practice in classroom instruction. You CANNOT teach to the brightest students! You have to find your target at just a bit below the midline so the slower people can at least try to keep up too. Soooo... as I read the USDA warning, I read:
                              ...Don't wash your eggs in dirty dish water
                              ...Don't wash your eggs in agents that will flavor them
                              ...Don't wash your eggs in anything that will endanger your health.
                              ...Don't wash your eggs in turpentine or gasoline
                              ...Don't wash your eggs in.....
                              How long a list is needed to cover all of the dumb possibilities that some people MIGHT try? The easiest and clearest way to state it all is "Don't wash your eggs!"

                              These government warnings have to cover EVERYONE, but they also have to try not to inhibit the market for egg producers, in this case. Fact is people with compromised immune systems should not eat any egg that is not fully cooked or baked. No sunny side up! The risk a sunny side up egg will harm them is not 100%, probably not even 25%, or even 10%, but with a compromised immune system, why take chances? So government warnings have to be as close to "all encompassing" as possible.

                              I buy free range brown eggs simply because it's the easiest way I know of to make sure I'm not going to get those pale lemon yellow yolks my 2nd husband was so fond of! About every fourth or fifth or tenth? carton, I'll get an egg that has a patch of chicken excrement still stuck to the shell. I could wash such an egg, then hard boil it, and it would in all likelihood be perfectly safe to eat. Probably perfectly safe to not even bother washing it and just fry it for breakfast. BUT...!!! Any flavoring agent an egg is in long term contact with WILL flavor the egg! Is that a flavor I want to add to my egg salad or have the Easter Bunny leave for my grandson? I don't think so! It's all just a matter of common sense. '-)

                              And unless some changes have been made I'm unaware of, most (maybe even all?) commercially produced eggs are sprayed with a fine mist of mineral oil to coat the shells, thus seriously limiting, if not completely preventing, air from passing through the shell. This GREATLY extends their shelf life. If you can get your hands on some untreated eggs and like butter flavor in your eggs, you can coat the shells with butter (or ghee for a more intense flavor) overnight, then scramble your eggs in a nonstick pan and have a nice buttery flavor with extremely little added fat.

                              For anyone concerned about salmonella in eggs, you can buy fresh eggs that are pasteurized in the shell and therefore perfectly safe to use in Caesar salads, or to just down the whole egg raw the way my grandfather used to do. I never developed a taste for it, but it seems to me I remember some sort of bar well drink for hangovers that included a raw egg in the bottom of the glass... Anyone remember those? I mean, I do like runny yolks, but please, they at least have to be warm!

                              1. re: Caroline1

                                Agreed that advisories need to be geared to elementary school reading level and comprehension. That iteration of what not to wash your eggs doesn't change the fact that washing in something sterile and non-dangerous could still introduce environmental contaminants present on the shell. It's not the make-up of the solution but what may be present on the shell, so you missed the point. That's the reason for the blanket prohibition and why your advice to wash eggs needed to be called out.

                                Salmonella found inside eggs in recent years (since the mid 1980's) is Salmonella enteritidis. Other types exist outside in the chicken raising environment, so no, it's not almost 100% sure that salmonella will be inside the egg if it's present outside.

                            3. re: Caroline1

                              According to the source below, 1 in 20,000 chicken eggs is infected with salmonella. And, "Those few contaminated eggs that come out of a hen usually contain a very low level of bacteria, Keener said, totaling between two and five microorganisms. It takes a level of at least 100 bacteria to make a person sick."

                              So if that's correct, and if you were to eat one raw egg every day of your life, you could expect to be exposed about once every 55 years, and even then probably by far too few bacteria to make you sick.


                              1. re: Soul Vole

                                That quote refers to salmonella that is present inside the egg when it laid and does not count outside on the shell. The same article also goes on to say,

                                "Salmonella doubles every 20 minutes under ideal conditions," Keener said. "When sitting there for an hour, two could become 32. At two hours, there would be 1,000 organisms. At eight hours, it would be in the range of millions. In one egg."

                                And also states that producers have up to 36 hours to refrigerate eggs, so the bacteria count can increase dramatically and be enough to sicken even when a producer is following standards of practice.

                                1. re: Melanie Wong

                                  I wish the USDA would pass a mandate that ALL commercially distributed eggs must be pasteurized before going to market! But until that day, here is a brand that I think is national, and has a store locater to help you find them:

                                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                                    According to a USDA study in 2002 it's actually only one in 30,000 eggs that is infected with salmonella.

                                    So by that number, if you were to eat one raw egg per day, you would be exposed to salmonella on average once every 82 years, or basically once in a lifetime. That's if you ate a raw egg every single day of your life, birth to coffin.

                                    The last time I ate raw egg, sort of, was when I made spaghetti carbonara about a month ago. Not strictly raw, but, eh, kind of iffy, depending on the temperature. Before that, homemade mayonnaise a couple months ago.

                                    So I'm expecting to live something like 30 lifetimes for every egg salmonella exposure.

                                    How often do you eat raw eggs? Salmonella dies instantly at 160°F. If it's a concern, the solution is to eat only cooked eggs. Problem solved.

                                    Meanwhile there's the very real risk from mishandled chicken...

                                    1. re: Soul Vole

                                      Sorry, you don't seem to have a handle on things. You're misinterpreting the statistic you offer. Fact is the number of eggs shipped to market from commercially raised chickens annually is 75,000,000,000,000 (Yes! 75 BILLION!), so now divide that number by the 30,000 (garnered from the only one egg in 30,000/salmonella that you quote) and you come up with 2,500,000 salmonella carrying eggs shipped to market annually!

                                      Yes! eating uncercooked eggs is risky. There are two ways of looking at that:

                                      One way is to say, "Oh, well, life is a crapshoot and everybody dies of something" and have a couple of sunny side up eggs for breakfast....


                                      Some people NEED to be cautious! So for them, this may well represent a risk they don't want to take, so those individuals will be better off making a selection from these choices"

                                      #1. NEVER eat undercooked eggs!

                                      #2. ONLY buy fresh PASTEURIZED eggs that are ALWAYS salmonella free!

                                      It's not rocket science.

                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                        I have a very clear handle on things. The risk from eating raw eggs is very, very low.

                                        Let's suppose for the sake of argument that eating a raw egg infected with salmonella results in salmonellosis 100% of the time. Given the 1 in 30,000 USDA stat, and if you ate raw egg on average once per month, that means you could expect to get sick from salmonella once every 2498 years.

                                        Salmonellosis can be fatal but it's highly unlikely -- less than 1% according to [1]. That puts a person's expectation of dying from eating raw egg at less than one in 3 million raw eggs, or, at one per month, once every 250,000 years.

                                        If that's too much risk for you then don't eat raw egg. But eating charcoal-broiled steak carries a non-zero risk of death by cancer from benzopyrene. Eating peanut butter can give you liver cancer from aflatoxin B. Eating a banana can give you cancer from radioactive potassium-40. If my sources and calculations are right spending one day breathing the air in New York City is more dangerous than eating a raw egg. Walking 5 miles carries about the same risk, as does a few months of drinking chlorinated tap water.

                                        By your reasoning all of these things are "risky" (as if anything were risk-free) and should "NEVER" be done.

                                        Also, I see no point in buying pasteurized eggs unless you're planning to make mayo or eggnog or some such. Cooking an egg accomplishes the same thing as pasteurizing it.

                                        1. http://www.idph.state.il.us/public/hb...

                            4. re: Caroline1

                              rinsing an egg is not going to kill salmonella. if you're worried, crack the egg in a separate bowl than slip into the cooking pan.

                              store bought eggs in the u.s. are already washed, which is why they should be stored in the fridge. the coating from the hen has been washed off, leaving them more porous. i have never bought eggs in the market that have "matter" on them and i eat 3-4 eggs a day.

                              other countries do not mandate eggs be washed which is why they frequently are sold at room temp.

                              eggs will "last" for months, but a farm-fresh egg is a delicious thing so don't dawdle. :)

                              store them on the lowest shelf in the fridge still in the container to prevent other odors permeating.

                              1. re: hotoynoodle

                                Please read this all the way through! store bought fresh eggs are prewashed and sprayed with a coating of mineral oil to REPLACE the cuticle that washing removes.

                                PLEASE READ:

                                1. re: Caroline1

                                  some states mandate this, most do not. only about 10% of commercial eggs are oiled.


                        2. Eggs are only as fresh as their storage. I have a friend who sells her farm eggs and I see them sit in a bucket for a week before she candles them. Them are not fresh eggs! So you gotta know your source. If they are truly fresh, they will keep for at least 2 weeks if properly stored (unwashed, in the container, refrigerated).

                          1. Eggs keep a really long time if refrigerated. The white gets watery and the air pocket grows, but they can be boiled or used for baking months after they were laid.


                            Unwashed eggs last longer than commercial washed eggs, since the protective coating is not disturbed.

                            That said, I use most of my eggs "over-easy" and I like to eat my farmers market eggs within 4-6 weeks after they were gathered. I would throw out supermarket eggs on their sell-by date, since I do not trust them.

                            I also make sure not to serve less than fully cooked eggs to people who might be immune-compromised (very young or old or pregnant) or to strangers. My family members and I happily enjoy Caesar dressing, mayonnaise, tiramisu and other raw-ish egg dishes.

                            Never had a bad egg.

                            Caroline: <raising my hand>! I always think the double-yolked eggs mean a lucky day -- my mom must have told me that. Never seen a triple yolk, though. As a girl, I absolutely hated gathering eggs, though, because I don't like chickens. (They are mean and too fluttery :)) Worth it, though, for chicken with homemade egg noodles.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: DebinIndiana

                              It was my job to gather the eggs in the morning before I went to school. Because we wanted more chickens from fertile eggs, we kept a rooster. If you think chickens are mean and pecky, you ain't seen nothin' til you meet a mean rooster! We fed our chickens mash (ground grains and other nutrients bought by the gunny sack full), then supplemented that with scratch, a combination of dried corn, dried sunflower seeds, dried all sorts of goodies (I used to pick the sunflower seeds out for myself) which got scattered over the large grassy chicken pen to encourage the chickens to scratch for worms too. I had to go in the pen and scatter the scratch by hand, and EVERY time I opened the gate into the pen, that damned rooster would try to spur me! Finally, one day I had had enough! So I decided to teach that nasty bird to fly! I think I was around 12. Caught him, held him by his legs just above his spurs, then spun around and around with him held out at arms length, then hurled him into the sky as high as I could! He went up about 12 or 15 feet, tried to fly but didn't know how, then landed with a big thump not too far from me. He got up and shook his comb and wattles straight clucking all the while, ruffled his feathers, gave me a truly nasty look, but he never bothered me again EVER! And my grandfather couldn't figure out why the rooster didn't crow for the next few days! '-)

                              We started with two different breeds, but heaven knows what we had after a few generations with only one Rhode Island Red rooster in the pen. The Rhode Island Reds were gentler than the Plymouth Rock hens, but as generations went on, there were fewer and fewer black and white (Plymouth Rock) chickens. I got to be good friends with our prize RIR brooder. She warmed my hands on cold winter days!

                              For anyone who is interested, if you have eggs that are old enough that the yolk goes flat when they're in the frying pan, you can "freshen" the eggs so the yolks stand round and high as if they were fresh laid by resting the eggs in hot (not boiling) water to cover for about a minute or two before cracking into the pan. It also re-centers the egg inside the shell for hard boiling.

                              1. re: Caroline1

                                Caroline 1 I raised my hand, have seen a triple a time or two. Our great granddaughter has seen it all, her two younger brothers haven't yet, one has picked eggs but she has seen them being laid, like dropped in the nest. She loves collecting eggs. I grew up on a small, 240 acre farm in Northern MN. I love your stories, its just the way it is and was. I now live in Western Washington 1 1/2 hours south of Seattle and 1 1/2 hours west to the Pacific Coast. I have 40 acres that I live on, 45 Rhode Island Reds, two sows, 9 piglets left, 2 horses and a black angus. I use these to help feed my three kids and their families plus our granddaughter and her family. Our freezer is open to them. I like the Rhode Island Reds, they are a healthy bread and don't get disease like other chickens. I like your saline method however I doubt I will use it at this time. I collect, wash, package the eggs and in the refer they go, A week at the most and there gone. I have to think of the thousands of folks, many of which I have rubbed shoulders with, talked to, picked their brain and all of them wash and store for eating. However, my dad was raised on a farm with chickens and the rest, he farmed, had chickens and I never remember any eggs being washed until mom made eggs for dinner. Yes, dinner, I never had eggs for breakfast until I enlisted, then it was cereal by choice and the hunger got me taking eggs also. Now I love eggs for breakfast, then we ate hot and cold cereal. We had breakfast, lunch, dinner, lunch and supper all my growing up days. I was 25 before I heard it called lunch for dinner. I recently turned 66 and still like breakfast, dinner and supper but I yielded. I appreciate all the input and info but still am curious where you grew up, actually, all of you that are in our circle of eggs.

                                1. re: mpostier

                                  I grew up in California, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back before it was buried under asphalt and concrete! Born in Los Angles, grew up in San Diego, summered in San Francisco with paternal grandparents. "California" hits it all. '-) I now live in
                                  Texas, and do not go back to California, because unless I helicopter in and get dropped in the middle of Muir Woods, or someplace protected from human encroachment, it just makes me cry....

                                  I kind of regret that the colloquialisms of American language have been ironed out through television. There was a time when you could tell exactly what part of the country someone was from by their "accent" and choice of words. In fact -- and here's a piece of trivia for your pursuit -- way back in the early days of radio and right up through the earliest days of television, NBC had a strict policy on how the word "route" was pronounced during specific hours of the day. Early in the morning, when farmers were listening, it was pronounced "rout" and after 8(?) AM it was pronounced "root." People from the Midwest usually ate breakfast, dinner, and supper, but in California where I grew up, we had breakfast, LUNCH, and dinner, and supper was only eaten after 8pm. You could have "supper" at home, but people often went out for supper, dancing and often a floor show to a "supper club."

                                  World War II brought a massive migration to California of people from all over the country to work in war factories, and my young ears were suddenly hit with strange verbal pictures from people who never got "in bed" at night, but got "on the bed." My mental picture was an image of those souls sleeping without covers! A boy up the street invited me to supper when we were in 3rd grade, and I replied that I wasn't allowed to stay up that late.

                                  Strange language, this English we all speak so differently.... '-)

                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                    Yes, here in Indiana, my grandparents had breakfast, dinner and supper -- my parents and I had breakfast, lunch and dinner/supper (dinner implying more food than supper, but also used for Sunday Dinner, which was at lunchtime). So if Grandma invited you to dinner, you should pay attention to show up at the right time.

                                    My address growing up was "RR1" -- don't know how widespread that term for "Rural Route" was -- and yes, we said route rhymes with out.

                                    I have commented on another thread about our Hoosier vegetables muskmelon and mango (cantaloupe and Bell peppers). I know that the "mango" appellation is on its way out, but I have old recipes calling for mangoes, and they don't mean a peach-colored tropical fruit!

                                    1. re: DebinIndiana

                                      my Hoosier grandmother called bell peppers 'mangoes'. Confused the daylights out of me when I became acquainted with the tree fruit.

                                      At least pawpaws were just pawpaws :)

                                    2. re: Caroline1

                                      I am completely in awe of this thread. Hope to find more from you:)

                                  2. re: Caroline1

                                    Caro -- I have a great mental picture of the rooster "flying" through the air, and my 12-year-old self cheering. I know that bird deserved it!

                                2. best to refrigerate it.. try to consume all with in a month.