One of our favorite ways to kick off the weekend is by whipping up a batch of red shakshuka, the traditional Israeli egg dish that makes us feel like we're indulging in a fancy brunch. But when we reached into the back of the fridge for the carton of eggs we picked up from the farmer's market, we hesitated since they'd been there a while. How long do farm fresh eggs last? We know the eggs we snag from the grocery store come with an expiration date stamped on the side, but eggs from a farm? That's a horse chicken of a different color. So, we went straight to the source to crack the code on this mystery.
How Long Do Farm Fresh Eggs Last? Let’s Crack This Mystery
It all depends on the bloom
When it comes to farm fresh eggs, it's all about the bloom. The bloom, if you'll allow us to speak farm for a moment, is the very thin, nearly imperceptible protective membrane that exists over the shell of a freshly laid egg. It's the barrier between the eggshell, which is porous and susceptible to germs and bacteria, and all the good stuff inside. The bloom is what keeps eggs fresh, according to The Happy Chicken Coop, a network of farmers and "chicken enthusiasts" from across the globe who have been raising the birds for decades.
How long do fresh eggs last on the counter?
If an egg hasn't had its bloom washed away by soap and water, it can remain fresh and ready to eat for at least a month outside of the refrigerator, The Happy Chicken Coop writes. The site suggests eating eggs within two weeks after harvesting because they'll taste better, but they note that there's no harm in leaving an egg with its bloom intact outside of the fridge for four whole weeks. After that point, however, the chicken experts say it's time to place the egg in a protective covering so the permeable shell doesn’t take on other fridge tastes, like garlic (ew), and move it into the fridge where it will keep for another six whole months!
How long do fresh eggs last in the fridge?
Any eggs that have lost their bloom and need to be refrigerated as soon as you get home will last for six months too, according to The Happy Chicken Coop. This might be the case if your eggs were washed before you bought them or if you washed them yourself after bringing them home. Either way, they can be kept in the fridge to protect for a whole six months. Eggs that are going to be kept in the fridge will do well in a carton, but are best in a sealable container to ensure no other smells, tastes or bacteria can make their way into the shells.
Can you freeze fresh eggs?
Yes—but not in their shell. The eggs need to be cracked and removed from the shells to be safely frozen, since the egg white and yolk will expand in the freezer, which could potentially cause the shell to break. To freeze eggs whole, beat the whites and yolks together and pour them into a freezer-safe container to store. The same goes for freezing egg whites. As for egg yolks, separate them from the whites and add either salt or sugar (which act as a stabilizer) to the yolks to prevent gelation (an irreversible loss of fluidity that will make them essentially unusable once thawed) and whisk them before storing. To defrost and cook frozen eggs, transfer them to the fridge overnight to thaw and use immediately—never cook them straight from frozen.
How to tell if your fresh eggs are still good
If you can't remember how long your eggs have been sitting in the fridge—farm fresh or store-bought—the best way to test them out is by using the water trick:
- Fill a bowl or glass with water that's deep enough to submerge the egg entirely, plus a few extra inches.
- Gently slide the egg into the bowl or glass and wait to see if it sinks or floats.
- If the egg sinks to the bottom and lies on its side, it’s still very fresh. If it stands up straight, it's OK to eat but will go bad soon. Any egg that floats is past its prime and should not be eaten.
Their permeable shells will deteriorate and break down over time—bloom or no bloom—allowing air to get in, but also enabling moisture inside the egg to escape. The older the egg, the more air and the less liquid it will have inside, and consequently, the more likely the egg is to float. Talk about an eggcellent hack.