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 wondered, Hmm, 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.
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 on the inside. The bloom is what keeps eggs fresh, according to The Happy Chicken Coop, a network of farmers and “chicken enthusiasts” from across the world who have been raising the clucking birds for decades.
So, how long do farm 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 a 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!
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 your bought them or if you’ve washed them yourself after bringing them home. Either way, they need to be kept in the fridge to protect them—and you—for a whole half a year.
Eggs that are going to be kept in the fridge will do well in a carton but are best in a sealable container, like this Rubbermaid one from Amazon, to ensure no other smells, tastes or bacteria can make their way into the shells.
How to tell if your 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 via the water trick.
- Grab your eggs and a bowl of water that’s deep enough to submerge the egg entirely, plus a few extra inches.
- Gently slide the egg into the bowl 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.
Those permeable shells we were talking about earlier 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 more air and the less liquid inside, the more likely the egg is to float and the older it is. What an eggcellent trick!