There is nothing better than having a consistent supply of fresh eggs from your very own flock of hens – but if your hens produce more eggs than your family can eat daily, you will quickly accumulate eggs. At that point, you may be wondering: How long do farm fresh eggs last, and how should you store them?
Unwashed farm fresh eggs last for two weeks to a month at room temperature. After that, you must store them in the fridge. If you refrigerate freshly laid eggs, they should last for three to six months in an airtight container.
While fresh farm eggs definitely taste the best within two weeks of their harvest, they can last for a surprisingly long time. Good egg handling and storage skills are essential for ensuring that your farm fresh eggs keep for as long as possible.
- How Long are Fresh Eggs Good For?
- How to Test If an Egg Is Still Good – The Egg Freshness Test
- Farm Fresh Eggs FAQ
- How Long Do Farm Fresh Eggs Last
How Long are Fresh Eggs Good For?
Whether you have a small backyard coop or a large flock, you’ll likely eventually end up with more eggs than you can eat. But when you are collecting your own eggs, you won’t have a sell-by or expiration date to go by.
So, what do you do, and how long can you keep your chickens‘ eggs fresh?
If you do not wash your fresh chicken eggs, they will last between two weeks and six months, depending on whether you wash them or not and how you store them. Frozen eggs last the longest, but you can get a decent shelf life from unwashed, refrigerated eggs.
Let’s dive into the specifics and discuss how to give your eggs the longest shelf life.
What To Do With Fresh Eggs After You Collect Them
If you keep a tidy, clean coop so that eggs are free of mud and muck when you collect them, you will not need to wash them. Unless eggs are filthy, it is better not to wash them at all.
If you have to wash eggs, rinse them in lukewarm water. You can also use unscented soap if necessary to gently scrub them free of dirt or excrement.
Whether you obtain your eggs from a farmers’ market or a friend or family member with a productive backyard flock, you will want to store them in the refrigerator to ensure that they retain maximum freshness and flavor.
However, because farm-fresh eggs are generally unwashed, their bloom or cuticle protects them. The bloom, also known as a cuticle, is a protective covering that seals the egg from oxygen and bacteria, helping it stay fresh for longer.
Unwashed eggs can last for several months when you store them on the counter at room temperature.
How Long Can You Store Fresh Eggs on the Counter?
Farm fresh eggs do not carry an expiry date like store-bought ones, so you may be wondering how long they stay fresh and safe to eat.
The answer is: longer than you might think!
You can store an egg on the counter or in the pantry at room temperature for up to a month. Unrefrigerated eggs may even be safe to eat after this, but you should do a freshness test to be on the safe side.
Still, room-temperature eggs have a shorter shelf life than their refrigerated counterparts.
Do You Need To Refrigerate Eggs?
You only need to refrigerate eggs if you wash them. Washing eggs removes the natural protective coating from the shell, allowing air and water to seep in. However, even unwashed eggs last longer when you refrigerate them.
So, the verdict is: washed eggs must go in the refrigerator, while you can store unwashed eggs at room temperature. Still, all eggs will last longer when you keep them chilled.
If you’ve ever wondered why some grocery stores only sell refrigerated eggs, here’s your answer.
Many commercial egg producers in the USA wash their eggs before they get to the grocery store. For that reason, these eggs must go in the refrigerated section. Egg sellers who do not wash their eggs have the option not to chill their cartons of eggs.
How Long Do Fresh Eggs Last in the Fridge?
Keeping eggs cool in the refrigerator helps to maintain their quality and allows them to last seven times longer.
You can safely store freshly laid eggs in the refrigerator for three to six months. Some people report keeping eggs in the fridge for eight months or even a year, but that can be dangerous. If you have lost track of how long eggs have been in the refrigerator, do an egg freshness test.
Store your eggs in a carton or freezer container to prevent contamination with other smells or tastes from the fridge (like garlic and onion, gross!).
Additionally, if you take your eggs out of the fridge for a substantial period of time, they may spoil more quickly. If you choose to take your eggs out of the fridge for more than a few minutes, you may wish to test each egg for freshness before using it later.
Read More – Does It Hurt Chickens to Lay Eggs?
How To Wash Farm Fresh Eggs
While washing your farm fresh eggs reduces their shelf life significantly, in some cases, you may need to do it. For example, if the egg is particularly dirty and you can’t eat it right away, washing it may be the best option.
To wash farm fresh eggs, rinse the shell with warm water and gently rub away any dirt, poop, or debris stuck to it. If the egg shell is not particularly dirty, you can wipe it with a damp cloth. After washing, store your eggs in the refrigerator or eat them immediately.
How to Test If an Egg Is Still Good – The Egg Freshness Test
When hens are laying lots of eggs, it can be easy to lose track of their ages, but it’s super critical to stay on top of your eggs’ expiry dates. Otherwise, the growth of bacteria might take over – and no one wants food poisoning.
A good trick to help you keep track is to write the harvest date on the shell with a pencil if you plan to store your eggs.
However, the water trick is the best way to determine whether an egg is still fresh. There is no reason to find out the answer the smelly way!
To determine if your eggs are still fresh enough to eat, perform the egg freshness test. To test the egg quality, fill a medium-sized bowl with cool water, gently place the egg in the water, and see if it sinks or floats.
- If the egg floats in the bowl of water, it is no longer good to eat.
- If the egg sinks and lies horizontally on its side, it is perfectly good to eat.
- If it sinks but remains straight up, it is about three months old and should thus be eaten soon
This test works because freshly laid eggs do not have an air bubble inside. As the egg ages, a bubble forms between the inner membrane and the shell, usually on the wide end of the egg.
Eggshells are porous; over time, the yolk absorbs liquid from the albumen, and moisture and gas escape through the pores in the shell. This causes the air pocket to grow. Eventually, as the egg ages, it will also experience moisture loss, which will dry out the egg yolks and whites until they become crispy.
So, if the egg floats, air or moisture has moved into the egg through the shell, indicating that the egg is spoiled.
Read More – Do Chickens Need Light at Night to Lay Eggs? [and Do Chicks?]
Tips for Making Farm Fresh Eggs Last Longer
Naturally, we all want to make good use of our farm-fresh eggs before they spoil! Luckily, there are a few simple ways to keep your eggs fresher for longer.
Here are a few handy tips to help you get the longest shelf-life from your eggs:
- The optimal temperature for storing eggs is 45° F (7°C). Keeping them at this temperature will maximize storage time.
- Do not wash fresh eggs. Leave the bloom intact to preserve their freshness. If you are worried about hygiene, wash the egg right before using it.
- Keeping a clean coop, with fresh bedding litter added to nesting areas regularly, helps keep eggs clean so you do not need to wash them.
- Eggs can be cracked, separated, and stored in a freezer in a sealable container safely for as long as a year! You can place the egg whites or yolks in an ice cube tray for the ultimate convenience. That way, you know how many eggs you have in your freezer at any time.
An airtight egg storage container can make it easy to keep your eggs fresher for longer. Even if you don't plan to refrigerate your eggs, a sealing container like this one can help you keep track of how long you have had your eggs and prevent them from getting cracked.
Plus, if you wash your farm fresh eggs, keeping them in a sealed container in the fridge is critical.
Farm Fresh Eggs FAQ
Keeping your eggs fresh is a great way to ensure nothing goes to waste, but it can also help you understand when it’s time to cut your losses and toss your eggs out.
Food poisoning is no yolk (sorry for that pun), so here are some common questions we’ve heard about egg storage:
Eggs that are fresh from the farm can last for two weeks to a month at room temperature if you do not wash them. Washing eggs removes their protective cuticle and will significantly decrease their shelf life. You can store unwashed farm fresh eggs in the fridge for three to six months.
Farm fresh eggs can last three to six months in the refrigerator if you keep them in an airtight container. However, if you wash the eggs with water, they will only last up to two months before they spoil.
Farm fresh eggs do not necessarily need to be refrigerated. If they are unwashed (if in doubt, check with the farm owner), they will last for two to four weeks on the counter, unrefrigerated. If you aren’t sure if the eggs were washed, store them in the fridge to be safe.
It’s normal to have some chicken poop on your eggs, especially if you’ve managed to score some beautiful, fresh, unwashed eggs. The main reason why there’s chicken poop on the eggs is the cleanliness of the coop. A clean coop and nesting box result in a nice, clean egg.
Unwashed eggs last longer, which is the main reason why you shouldn’t wash fresh eggs. Washing eggs removes the protective bloom that coats them. Once you wash an egg, you must store it in the refrigerator.
I’m not sure if this has been scientifically proven – it’s probably more a taste-test thing, but farm fresh eggs definitely taste better. There’s nothing quite like collecting a freshly laid egg and having it for breakfast! It may also have something to do with chickens often getting lots of free-range time, eating up all sorts of goodness, which percolates into your eggs.
Just like store-bought eggs, farm fresh eggs can go bad, too. If you are unsure, always perform an egg freshness test before eating or crack the egg into a bowl. There’s no mistaking a rotten egg!
You can make farm fresh eggs last longer by storing them in the fridge. Don’t wash fresh eggs – let the cuticle help preserve their freshness. You can always wash the egg just before you use it. If you want to keep your eggs even longer, crack them into containers and store them in the freezer for up to a year!
How Long Do Farm Fresh Eggs Last
Having an abundance of fresh farm eggs is a blessing, and you will certainly want to handle and store them correctly so that they keep for as long as possible.
A carton of fresh eggs can last on the countertop or inside the pantry for two to four weeks. Ideally, you should not wash them so that they retain their protective bloom, or cuticle, which prevents bacteria and oxygen from getting through the pores in the shell.
Eggs retain their flavor and consistency better when stored in the refrigerator. Another benefit of storing them in the fridge is that they can keep for much longer – unwashed eggs last up to six months in the fridge!
To prevent having to wash eggs, ensure that you regularly add new bedding litter to the coop, and clean droppings out of nesting areas so that the eggs never get mucky.
If you have to wash eggs, use lukewarm water to rinse and gently scrub the debris from the shell. Use unscented soap if needed. Use washed eggs within a week or two, as they do not keep as well as unwashed eggs.
More on Raising Chickens
Saturday 18th of February 2023
How long can eggs be good outside when removed after being refrigerated for a month?
Thursday 2nd of March 2023
Hi Theo! Great question! How long your eggs will last after you take them out of the fridge depends on how hot it is outside/indoors. Because there are a lot of factors that can affect how quickly the eggs will go bad, I would do an egg freshness test on the eggs in question. If you place them in water and they float, they've gone bad. But if they sink, they should be safe to eat, especially if you plan to cook them. I hope they sink!
William Omar Ramos
Sunday 14th of August 2022
I heard that sailors on submarines keep fresh eggs fresh for months by simply flipping them over every seven days.
Tuesday 15th of March 2022
Egg "cleanliness" isn't determined by how clean you think a coop is. I clean my nesting boxes weekly and the chickens can literally lay a "poopy" egg the moment I clean their nesting boxes. Chickens are just messy. A lot of times the "poop" you're seeing is mud. I can tell which days it rained by looking at the eggs in my cabinet.
Wednesday 9th of March 2022
This article was unclear and gave conflicting information. Washed eggs last 2-3 weeks? 3-6 months? I did not find this article helpful.
Thursday 10th of March 2022
Thanks so much for the feedback Michelle! I'm going to take a look now and edit :)