What came first? The chicken or the egg? – That’s the age-old question. But there’s one question more vital for homesteaders who love eating fresh eggs daily. The question is – are farm-fresh eggs better than store-bought eggs? We are diving into this question and cracking open the facts of farm-fresh eggs vs. store-bought.
Which eggs taste better? Which is healthier? And which lasts longer? These are the questions we’ll brainstorm.
Then let’s continue!
- Farm Fresh Eggs vs. Store-Bought
- Farm-Fresh Egg Shelf-Life and Storage
- Cooking With Fresh Eggs
- Farm-Fresh Eggs Taste Superior! We Think So, At Least. Here's Why.
- Do Store-Bought Eggs Taste Different Than Fresh Eggs?
- Are There Any Risks to Eating Farm Fresh Eggs?
- Do Farm-Fresh Eggs Have Salmonella?
- Here's Why Fresh Eggs Are Better Than Old Eggs
- Is It Okay to Eat Fresh Laid Eggs?
- What Not to Do With Farm Fresh Eggs?
- Farm-Fresh Egg Nutrition
Farm Fresh Eggs vs. Store-Bought
Some of our homesteading friends swear that backyard, pastured, and free-range eggs are superior to regular commercial or store-bought eggs – in taste, quality, and shelf life.
But is that true?
Let’s dive closer into the details.
(Get your frying pans ready. And some whole wheat toast!)
Are Farm-Fresh or Free-Range Eggs Better Than Store-Bought?
We think so – yes! Most homesteaders would agree that fresh, free-range eggs from the farm taste better than their store-bought counterparts. Others might say there is no such huge difference. But we disagree! Fresh eggs feature deep orange yolks. And many egg fans swear free-range eggs taste better and are more robust.
(It’s impossible to prove that free-range eggs taste better. But we believe they do!)
Free-range eggs also seemingly contain more nutrients and essential vitamins, including omega-3 fatty acids, beta carotene, and vitamins A, E, and D. But egg quality always depends on the hen’s diet. If the eggs are from chickens living on a sunny free-range or pastured farm, she will eat fresh insects, greens, corn, flowers, or other forage crops, hopefully boosting nutritional levels.
Comparing the Shelf-Life of Farm-Fresh Eggs vs. Store-Bought
Farm-fresh eggs from free-range chickens will last several weeks to over a month if stored properly. If unwashed, they will last up to three months in the refrigerator. This is due to protective bloom, a natural coating found on the shell. Store-bought eggs are often a few weeks old (or older) when you purchase them and have already gotten washed. They will last about five weeks in the refrigerator after the purchase date.
Are Farm-Fresh Eggs Safer Than Store-Bought?
Not necessarily. We’ve sampled eggs from dozens of small homesteaders and local farmers from all over the world. We’ve also devoured plenty of eggs from the big box stores – including BJs, Walmart, Costco, and more. The point is that we’ve never gotten sick from any of the eggs. In our experience, all fresh eggs are generally safe to eat – as long as they don’t emit a foul odor and as long as you cook them thoroughly.
Food safety should always be a priority. Farm-fresh and store-bought eggs could also get bacteria. It is always wise to wash your hands before and after handling the eggs, cooking them, and storing them properly.
Here's an excellent resource for all homesteaders who love eggs like us. It's The Egg Cookbook by Healdsburg Press! The book contains over 110 yummy recipes perfect for cooking farm-fresh eggs. Recipes range from sweet to savory, including Baked French Toast, Poached Eggs with Ratatouille, Quiche, and Tortilla Patatas. The book also helps you master essential egg-cooking basics - like fried and scrambled eggs.
Do You Need to Wash Farm Fresh Eggs?
Not really. We never wash our farm-fresh eggs until right before we use them. Washing removes the bloom, or cuticle, a protective coating that helps keep bacteria from permeating the shell.
(If there are blatant chicken droppings or feathers on the eggs, you can safely remove those using a soft, dry towel.)
Farm-Fresh Egg Shelf-Life and Storage
A batch of farm-fresh unwashed eggs is safe at room temperature for about two weeks. However, they will last up to three months in the refrigerator. Here’s a little-known freshness extension tip! Store farm fresh eggs pointed side down to keep the yolks centered and the air cell at the top.
|Chicken Egg Style
|Shelf-Life and Storage Tips
|Fresh Eggs With Cuticle:
|Two weeks at room temperature, up to three months in the refrigerator.
|Fresh Eggs Without Cuticle:
|Up to two months in the refrigerator.
|Up to five weeks in the refrigerator. (Remember that commercial eggs are often older than local eggs!)
Cleaning Farm-Fresh Eggs
Backyard chicken farm fresh eggs may have dirt, dust, and even chicken poop on the shell. Clean the fresh eggs with a dry brush or sandpaper if you want to try to avoid removing the bloom. If you must wash them, use warm water and pat them dry immediately.
(Even if you wash the eggs with sandpaper or a dry brush – you remove some of the bloom. If you want to leave the cuticle bloom intact – disturb them as little as possible.)
You can also clean the eggs thoroughly. But this will remove the bloom. And then, you must place them in the fridge! Cleaning the eggs is straightforward. Wash farm-fresh eggs under warm water, not cold water, dry them, and store them in the refrigerator to prevent bacteria growth.
Refrigerating Farm-Fresh Eggs vs. Store Bought Eggs
Farm-fresh eggs don’t need to get refrigerated because of the bloom. The bloom can keep fresh eggs safe at room temperature for a few weeks. The egg bloom (or cuticle) is a natural protective layer that prevents bacteria from entering the egg. However, refrigeration is necessary if you wash the coating off.
Using the Egg Float Test to See If Your Eggs Are Fresh
Try this to tell the difference between fresh eggs and a not-so-fresh egg. Fill a glass of water and drop the egg in. If it sinks, the egg is fresh. If it tilts up or floats to the top, it is older. But even if the egg floats – it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s unsafe to eat. (If the egg smells and looks okay – it’s probably safe.)
Store-bought eggs don’t have the cuticle – so refrigeration is required.
Why Not Refrigerate Farm Fresh Eggs?
Farm-fresh eggs don’t need to be refrigerated initially because the protective membrane, the bloom, keeps them fresh. However, once washed or after two weeks at room temperature, it’s a good idea to refrigerate them.
You can also wash the bloom off – if you want. (But chuck them in the fridge immediately after doing so.)
Cooking With Fresh Eggs
Egg freshness is a huge variable when cooking. Fresh eggs are excellent food ingredients for many recipes. We find that fresh eggs feature firmer whites and yolks, making them ideal for poaching, frying, or any recipe where the shape of the egg matters. Older eggs are easier to peel, making them better suited for hard-boiling. (We’ve read that hard-boiled eggs should be at least ten days old for best results.)
Farm-Fresh Eggs Taste Superior! We Think So, At Least. Here’s Why.
Farm-fresh, free-range, pastured eggs are from happy, active chickens enjoying naturally diverse diets. The hens get raised in less crowded circumstances than those cage-raised chickens laying eggs in poor living conditions on commercial farms. Free-range hens enjoy a rich vegetarian diet from natural food sources that we believe enhance the taste. In our experience, free-range eggs feature a richer, more satisfying flavor.
(The taste of eggs can also vary by breed of chicken.)
- How Many Eggs Does a Chicken Lay a Day? – What About Per Week? Or Year?
- What Chickens Lay White Eggs – White Egg Laying Chickens Top 19!
- How Long Do Farm Fresh Eggs Last and How to Store Your Egg Bounty
- 15 Largest Chicken Breeds In the World [and the Biggest Eggs!]
Do Store-Bought Eggs Taste Different Than Fresh Eggs?
It’s nearly impossible to prove. But yes, we believe there may be a difference in flavor among the type of eggs. Many of our friends swear that farm-fresh eggs taste better, too. That said – there have been surprisingly few studies testing egg taste. But we believe store-bought eggs aren’t as robust as free-range fresh farm eggs because of the hens’ diets, living conditions, the eggs’ age, and the age of eggs by the time it reaches your kitchen.
Are There Any Risks to Eating Farm Fresh Eggs?
The primary risk of consuming any egg – farm-fresh or store-bought, is bacterial contamination, such as Salmonella. However, this risk is minimal with proper handling and cooking.
Do Farm-Fresh Eggs Have Salmonella?
There’s always a risk! Chickens can easily have Salmonella on their beaks, feet, and feathers – even if they appear healthy. The CDC says Salmonella causes over one million food illnesses yearly in the USA. The risk of Salmonella and other harmful bacteria is related more to the hens’ living conditions and how the eggs get handled, not whether they’re farm-fresh or store-bought.
How to Manage Salmonella Risk:
- Wash hands with warm soapy water after handling raw food, chicken eggs, or spending time in the coop.
- Wash all surface areas with warm water if they touch raw eggs, meat, or poultry.
- Don’t put food on a cutting board that previously had raw meat, eggs, or poultry!
- Cook your food to the recommended temperature.
Here’s Why Fresh Eggs Are Better Than Old Eggs
Freshness is key. Fresh eggs, whether store-bought or farm-fresh, have a yummy taste, firm whites, and centered yolks, making them excellent for most cooking applications. Older eggs can have a sulfuric taste and have thinner whites with flatter yolks.
(We should also note that if your eggs have a strong sulfur taste – chuck them out! That’s when you know your egg is spoiled.)
Is It Okay to Eat Fresh Laid Eggs?
Yes! You can eat eggs fresh from the nest. But always ensure they get handled properly and cooked thoroughly. (And wash your hands!)
What Not to Do With Farm Fresh Eggs?
Avoid washing farm-fresh eggs until ready to use them, as this removes the protective bloom. Also, we advise not to leave them at room temperature for more than two weeks, as this can affect their freshness and quality. We also suggest using older eggs for making hard-boiled eggs.
Farm-Fresh Egg Nutrition
Eggs help form a healthy and nutritious breakfast, lunch, or dinner! A farm-fresh egg contains around 75 calories, six grams of protein, and a host of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, D, E, B12, iron, folate, and choline. It may also contain higher omega-3 fatty acids and beta-carotene levels. (Depending on the hen’s diet.)
Are Farm Fresh, Pastured Eggs Healthier Than Store Bought?
Finding reliable information on free-range eggs vs. store-bought eggs is tricky! We could only find one pastured egg study that indicated pastured eggs could have more nutrients. They may contain higher omega-3 fatty acid, beta carotene, and vitamin E levels, which is excellent for the human body.
Why Are Farm Fresh Eggs More Yellow Than Store Bought?
The deep yellow or orange yolks of farm-fresh eggs are due to the hens’ free-range diet, which is rich in xanthophylls, a type of carotenoid that gives foods like carrots their orange color, creating darker yolks.
Thanks for reading our guide about farm-fresh eggs vs. store-bought eggs. We know we made it seem like we loathe store-bought eggs. But that’s not true. We love all eggs!
Many homesteaders and small farmsteads treat their chickens like family – with love, care, and respect. That’s what we care about the most!
So – all things equal – we always advise our homesteading friends to support local farmers who care for their animals.
We also think happy chickens lay better eggs – even if we can’t prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt!
Thanks again for reading
And have a great day.