Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Wash Eggs Or Don't Wash Eggs?



   Morgan is looking at that molting Australorp as if to say, "What are you doing, you goofy hen?" I'm a bit worried too; the hen could get sick because of the damp cold weather. Or not? I hope the feathers she still has will keep her warm enough. Molting should mean she is not laying, but some hens continue to lay eggs during molt. 

   I have been in a quandary over when, if, or how to wash eggs ever since we started raising chickens. In the beginning it seemed natural to wash the eggs in an organic detergent using hot water, scrub with a veggie brush, rinse them well and dry them before refrigerating. I did a lot of searching around on the internet to try to find out the best method of egg handling.

   People have many ways of handling eggs from their chickens. Some methods are new, some here  and here have been handed down through generations. I was soon confused. Some people bring the eggs in from the coop and keep them in a basket on the counter. In Europe and other countries, eggs are not refrigerated and are sold off the shelf. Some eggs even came with little feathers still stuck to them according to one site I read.

   So... what to do. In this country we are very aware of germs and the importance of keeping things clean. I found many sites that stated they and their families never refrigerated eggs or washed eggs until they used them. I decided I like the idea of leaving the bloom on the eggs to protect them. These people here (don't wash their eggs either.

   So, at first I found it a bit strange to just collect the eggs and put them in the refrigerator without washing them. Usually, the eggs are very clean and look as though they have been already washed. My plastic egg container in the fridge has a lid. I toss eggs if they are too dirty or were laid on the ground. I wash and use any eggs that day that need washing.

   I wash eggs with water just before I am going to cook them. The latest change I have made is to now use hot water instead of cold. I read somewhere a while back that cold water was the best, but it turns out that was not true, at least according to the latest information I have found here (North Carolina Cooperative Extension) and here (The Poultry Site - Egg Handling.)

   It seems that the hot water causes the egg inside to expand pushing against any bad stuff trying to get in through the shell. I think that's how it works. 

   Disclaimer: I am not advocating my way or any way of handling eggs. Maybe I should use a sanitizer? I wonder how people handle eggs? Refrigerate or wash them? How? When? Freeze?

[5 eggs today]

Peek at the Past

~:>
Smiles
Happy Anniversary to Me.
42 years! 

26 comments:

Deb said...

As you said Callie, it seems it's all what people choose to do. I wash the dirty eggs with hot water, let them dry and then store in the fridge. I prefer not to wash them at all but some need it. Hasn't seemed to hurt anything yet :)

Happy Anniversary to you - 42 years - wonderful!!!

diane said...

Our eggs come from the supermarket. Happy anniversary.That is a long time. One more year than us.

lisa said...

Wow, 42 years, that is great! I have always just washed my eggs and put them in the refrigerator when I get around to it. I collect and put on the counter. I have never gotten sick or anything and they are usually just for our consumption any way.

Bloody Frida said...

I don't wash them - if an egg is really messy I'll give it to the dog! And I refrigerate as soon as we get them in the house.

But I'm new at this - our hens are only 7-8 months old!

Carol@ Writers Porch/ Book House said...

Hey Callie,
I do rinse our eggs in cold water and dry them with a paper towel before putting them in cartons in the fridge. I rotate the new carton to the bottom so the oldest goes first. We have relatives who don't wash and keep them on the counter in a plastic bin piling new on old. I like my way better than theirs! HA!

Toni aka irishlas said...

Callie,
I collect my eggs and put them in the fridge, but, I don't wash them until right before I use them. My understanding is when the chicken lays, the egg gets covered with a "bloom" which protects the eggs. Washing takes the bloom off and the eggs will not keep as long. As you know, I not by far an expert when it comes to the girls, but, this method seems to work and make sense to me. I checked into egg washing right after the girls started laying, and reading all the different opinions was a little scary. I stuck to common sense and it seems to be okay so far!

Jennifer said...

I collect our eggs and put them straight in the fridge... I wash them with hot water I as use them and if they are dirty I use soap.

Chicken Boys said...

Looks like different ppl do different things. We wash them in cold water. But if we have other things going on, we have, on occasion, just put dirty eggs right in the fridge. No problems here yet. Guess it's just a preference if no one is getting sick or anything. Hmmm....
~Randy

TiffanyfromMD said...

Happy Anniversary! 42 years is much to celebrate :o)

A far as washing goes, I only wash the ones with yuck on them. If the egg is completely free from debris, I just put it in the fridge. If it needs washing, I run it under cold water and rub off the gunk. My girls are pretty good about keep them clean for me! I've just adapted this method in the last few months though. I used to just toss all the yucky ones. I've since decided that this was a waste and I only did it that was b/c I was lazy! Anyway, we've never gotten sick from consuming any of our eggs.

Blessings from MD! (where we're gearing up for 12-24 inches of snow due to arrive tomorrow!)

Tiffany

Missy AKA Little Messy Missy said...

I just run the eggs under warm water and leave them on my counter for a day or two them if I am not going to be using them soon I put them in the friend. I do not use any type of detergent on the eggs. :0)

Willow Witch said...

I only wash them when they need it...Sometimes I put them in the fridg and sometimes they sit on the counter, depends on how much time I have that day. Either way, we are all still alive and kicking to tell about it.

Foothills Poultry said...

Around here a dirty egg gets washed, but otherwise they just go in the cartons on the microwave cabinet.

~~Matt~~

DayPhoto said...

Happy Anniversary 42 years for us, also!

Linda

I wash eggs if they need it and we raised chickens to sell eggs for years (42 years)

http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

Interesting to read the varied comments. We sell our eggs at a Farmers Market. I never refrigerate the eggs, besides when you are baking, you don't want to use chilled eggs. If I need to clean an egg, I use the Baby Wipes, they work great. We try to keep our nests clean but when the weather is poor its hard for the girls to keep their feet clean, and yes every so often we need to wipe some poop off an egg. I just love having a basket of fresh eggs sitting on my kitchen counter.

Merideth in Wyoming said...

Well that's always been a question for me too - too wash or not wash, that is the question! Thanks for the insight. Love your blog and your chicken information is downright helpful!

John Gray jgsheffield@hotmail.com said...

toni is right..mind you chicken poo HAS to be removed!!!!!

Christine said...

I generally don't wash my eggs at all. My family has done this for over 30 years. If one has poo I'll wash it just before I use it. I do keep mine in the fridge unless I'm know I'll use them within a couple days.

leeoliphant said...

Had to look up "molting/moulting" because, after reading your blog I thought I might not be spelling it correctly. Evidently, molting is the British way to spell it so both are right.

Interesting about washing eggs. I was told not to as it removes the mucus covering and allows air to penetrate.

I use "astroturf" in the nest boxes (heck, the hens don't know the difference between real and plastic) and with a shake now and then the next boxes are clean.....thus, clean eggs!

Toni aka irishlas said...

Happy Anniversary! Many more to come..

K-Falls Farmgirl Cheryl said...

Callie,

I do not wash the eggs unless theyare nasty with chickypoo. I do not refrigerate them right away either. I place them on my counter in a basket and then as I gather a dozen (we're getting 4-5 average a day)I move them to a carton and mark it with the date. If I don't sell them or use up what I collect within ten days they go into the refrig. those get used first. I do wash them before I use them. No problem here with anyone getting sick!
Happy Anniversary too... WOW! 42 years..wonderful.

Cheryl

JoyceAnn said...

Wonderful blog ~ I don't wash until using , just refrigerate , if they're really dirty , I put them in a separate container from the other eggs to be washed and used first.

~ Blessings ~

Gus, Louie and Callie said...

Mom's grandma used to have a funny machine that would vibrate the eggs in a basket of water. She is not sure if she used hot or cold water or even soap for that matter.. To bad grandma has passed so she can't ask her for you...
Congrad's on your anniversary! 42 years is a very long time. Mom and Dad hit 30 this year..

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

mutteringsfromthemoor said...

Such varied ways of doing things! All the shops here in the UK sell their eggs off the shelf, not from the fridges. I keep ours in the fridge, and I only wash ones that are pooey before they go in. Our duck eggs are ALWAYS covered in poo, they are such messy creatures. So they absolutely have to washed before going in the fridge as the smell is just awful!! We've been doing this for years now, and no problem with anyone getting ill.

Becky's Barnyard said...

I don't wash my eggs, unless they are really bad. I collect the eggs and put them in a basket on the counter. I have more eggs than I use, so I sell most of my eggs. Happy Anniversary late wishes.

Knatolee said...

THanks for visiting my blog! Your chickens are beautiful.

As for me, I don't wash my eggs. I keep the nestboxes clean with a lot of fresh bedding. If the eggs have a little bit of dirt on them, I clean the spots of dirt off with hot water (or at least a temperature warmer than the egg) on a paper towel, then carefully dry them before putting in the box. If they are really dirty, I either feed them to our dogs or just throw them out. I personally don't like taking the bloom off the egg, but there are several schools of thought on this and I think there's no one correct method. :)

I also don't let our eggs sit around long enough to get a huge bacterial load. They go from the coop to the fridge, often while they are still warm. I work at home, so it's easy for me to collect the eggs every day before they sit too long or the girls make a mess of them. :)

Your doggy is beautiful too!

Shari from Big Yellow Farmhouse said...

I've really enjoyed this discussion as I've always wondered about this, too. In the end, we decided not to disturb the natural bloom that is on the egg. So we do not wash at all, just put in cartons in the fridge. Most of our eggs are clean and beautiful, so why mess that up!! We wipe away the occasional yucky spot with a paper towel soaked in warm water.