Few things are better than having a consistent supply of fresh eggs from your backyard flock of hens. But if your hens produce more eggs than your family can eat daily, you will quickly accumulate excess eggs. At that point, you may wonder how long farm fresh eggs last. And how should you store them?
Here’s everything you need to know about farm fresh egg shelf-life, long-term storage, and freshness.
- How Long Do Farm Fresh Eggs Last?
- How Long are Fresh Eggs Good For?
- How to Test If an Egg Is Still Good – The Egg Freshness Test
- Tips and Tricks for Safe Backyard Egg Production
- Farm Fresh Eggs FAQ
How Long Do Farm Fresh Eggs Last?
Unwashed farm fresh eggs last two weeks to a month at room temperature. For longer-term storage, you must store them in the fridge or freezer. Freshly laid eggs should last for three to six months in the fridge. Eggs frozen in an airtight container are safe indefinitely, but you should consume them within one year for the best flavor and texture.
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.
And here’s some reassuring news: A study in the journal Poultry Science found that even after 10 weeks of extended storage, the quality of the egg white, measured in Haugh units, remained within the Grade A range. This suggests that your farm fresh eggs can maintain their quality for an extended period if stored properly.
|Farm Egg Type
|Washed Farm Egg
|2 to 48 Hours (Refrigerate ASAP)
|Up to two months at 40 degrees Fahrenheit
|Up to one year
|Unwashed Farm Egg
|Two weeks to a month
|Three to six months at 40 degrees Fahrenheit
|Up to one year
|Two to six hours
|Up to one week
|Raw Egg Yolks
|Two to four days
|Raw Egg Whites
|Two to four days
|Up to one year
|Two to four days
The table above represents farm fresh egg shelf-life. But that’s not all you need to consider about storing chicken eggs. There are many more egg freshness nuances that all homesteaders should know.
Let’s explore them in more detail.
How Long are Fresh Eggs Good For?
If you do not wash your fresh chicken eggs, they will last between two weeks and six months, depending on how you store them. Frozen eggs keep even longer, but you can get a decent shelf life from unwashed, refrigerated eggs.
Whether you have a small backyard coop or a large flock, you’ll likely eventually possess 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?
Let’s dive into more specifics and discuss how to give your yummy backyard eggs the best and lengthiest 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 rarely need to wash them. Unless eggs are filthy, it is arguably better not to wash or clean them.
If you have to wash eggs, rinse them in warm water. (Water 20 degrees warmer than the egg itself works perfectly.) You can also use unscented soap to scrub them free of dirt or excrement – should you wish.
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 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 several months when you store them on the counter at room temperature.
Are Homegrown Eggs Healthier?
I’ve always had a hunch that our backyard eggs were not just fresher but also healthier than store-bought ones. Turns out, science backs this up! A study published in the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis found that eggs from smaller operations are rich in beneficial fats known as polyunsaturated fatty acids. So, it’s not just a feeling – our homegrown eggs actually offer nutritional advantages you won’t get from the supermarket.
How Long Can You Store Fresh Eggs On the Counter?
The answer is longer than you might think! You can store an unwashed 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 safe.
Still, room-temperature eggs have a shorter shelf life than their refrigerated counterparts. We always recommend storing the eggs in the fridge.
Do You Need to Refrigerate Eggs?
You only need to refrigerate backyard chicken eggs if you wash them or want to store them for more than a few weeks. Washing eggs removes the natural protective membrane from the shell, allowing air and water to seep in. However, even unwashed eggs last longer when you refrigerate them.
So, washed eggs must go in the refrigerator, while you can store unwashed eggs at room temperature. Still, we advise storing all eggs in the fridge at 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Research led by Professor Grashorn found that storing eggs at lower temperatures like 6°C (around 43°F) helped maintain their quality better than at higher temperatures. Specifically, the study showed negligible weight loss and better Haugh Units, a measure of egg white quality, when eggs were stored at this cooler temperature.
How Long Do Fresh Eggs Last In the Fridge?
You can keep your farm fresh eggs in the fridge for three to six months. Keeping your eggs chilled in the fridge is the best way to keep them fresh – especially washed eggs.
Keeping eggs chilled in the refrigerator helps to maintain their quality and allows them to last many months longer.
Some chicken enthusiasts report keeping eggs in the fridge for eight months or even a year, but these eggs will likely lose volume, flavor, and texture. If you have lost track of how long eggs have been in the refrigerator, do an egg freshness test. Or – throw them in the trash.
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!
Related – Does It Hurt Chickens to Lay Eggs?
How to Wash Farm Fresh Eggs
To wash farm fresh eggs, rinse the shell with warm water and gently rub away any dirt, poop, or debris stuck to it. Use water approximately 20 degrees warmer than the egg. Wipe the eggshell with a damp cloth if it isn’t overly dirty. After washing, store your eggs in the refrigerator or eat them immediately.
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 ludicrously dirty and you can’t eat it immediately, washing it may be the best option.
(Most chicken keepers we know never wash their eggs. But – most work hard to keep their nesting boxes clean. That’s half the battle!)
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 wise to stay on top of your egg’s expiration dates.
A nifty 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. Or – you can label each egg carton as you harvest eggs.
And – if unsure how old your egg is, try the egg freshness test! This 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!
Perform the egg freshness test to determine if your eggs are still fresh enough to eat. 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 water bowl, it is no longer ideal for eating.
- If the egg sinks and lies horizontally on its side, it is likely perfectly fresh and safe to eat.
- If it sinks but remains straight up, it is about three months old and should thus get 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.
(When this air pocket forms – it’s not 100% proof that the egg is no longer safe to eat. But eggs with massive air pockets are invariably older, and the flavor might be dull. So – use the egg floating test as an indicator of freshness. But if you think the egg is spoiled – always chuck it out anyway!)
Eggshells are porous. Over time, the yolk absorbs liquid from the albumen, and moisture and gas escape through the pores in the shell. This escaping gas causes the air pocket to grow. Eventually, as the egg ages, it will also experience moisture loss, drying 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 old.
Tips for Making Farm Fresh Eggs Last Longer
Naturally, we all want to enjoy our farm-fresh eggs before they spoil! Luckily, there are a few simple ways to keep your eggs fresher longer.
Here are a few handy tips to help you get the lengthiest shelf-life from your eggs.
- The optimal temperature for storing eggs is 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 degrees Celsius). 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 moments 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 get safely cracked, mixed, and stored in a freezer in a sealable container for as long as a year! You could also place the mixed egg whites and yolks in an ice cube tray. Freezing eggs in ice cube trays is the ultimate egg storage hack! 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.
Tips and Tricks for Safe Backyard Egg Production
Ever wondered how to make sure your home-laid eggs are as safe as they can be? Well, you’re in luck. Recent research from the journal “Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety” has some eye-opening insights.
- Biosecurity is Your Best Friend: Make sure your chicken coop is designed to keep out unwanted visitors. This includes everything from wild animals to human visitors who might bring in contaminants.
- Keep Those Critters Away: Believe it or not, mice and insects can be carriers of Salmonella. So, make sure you have effective rodent and insect control measures in place.
- Vaccinate Your Hens: If you’re serious about egg safety, consider vaccinating your hens against Salmonella. It’s an extra step, but it could make all the difference.
- Quality Feed Matters: The type of feed you use can impact the safety of your eggs. Store feed in a cool, dry place and make sure it’s free from mold and contaminants.
I’ve always had a hunch that my farm-fresh eggs were top-notch, and diving into this research just confirms it. By taking these precautions, we’re not just raising happier hens; we’re also producing safer, healthier eggs for our families.
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 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. You can also crack and whisk the eggs, toss them in a freezer-safe, airtight container, and freeze them. Frozen eggs taste best when eaten within twelve months.
Farm fresh eggs can last three to six months in the refrigerator. But if you wash the eggs with water, they will only last up to two months.
Yes – they should. That said, farm fresh eggs do not necessarily need to be refrigerated. If they are unwashed (if in doubt, check with the farm owner), they will stay fresh for two to four weeks on the counter, unrefrigerated. If you aren’t sure if the eggs got washed, store them in the fridge to be safe.
It’s normal to have chicken poop on your eggs – especially if you score many beautiful, fresh, unwashed eggs. The main reason there’s chicken poop on the eggs is the cleanliness of the coop. A clean coop and nesting box often produce a nice, poop-free egg. (However, even if you maintain immaculately clean nest boxes, you’re bound to have some poop, feathers, or grime on the eggs now and again.)
Unwashed eggs always last longer! Egg longevity is the main reason why you shouldn’t wash fresh eggs. Washing eggs removes the protective bloom that coats them. Once you clean an egg and remove the egg bloom, you must store it in the refrigerator.
I’m unsure if this is scientifically proven – it’s probably a taste-test thing, but farm fresh eggs 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.
Yes. For sure! Similar to store-bought eggs, farm fresh eggs can spoil. If unsure, always stay on the safe side and discard them. You can also perform an egg freshness test before eating or crack the egg into a bowl. Does the egg smell and look okay? 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 clean the egg just before you use it. If you want to keep your eggs longer, crack them into clean containers, whisk them, and store them in the freezer for up to a year!
First – double-check eggs in stores. Stay clear of any deformed eggs or broken shells. Eggs with broken shells are rarely safe to eat as foodborne illness is a concern.
Once you get your eggs home, I don’t recommend leaving them on the kitchen counter overnight. Instead – put your eggs directly in the fridge. You can also whisk and store them in the freezer for long-term storage for up to a year.
Freezing eggs is surprisingly easy. But – you don’t freeze the eggs in their shell. Instead – start by cracking the eggs you want to freeze into a large, jumbo bowl. Then, whisk the eggs and egg whites together. When mixing the eggs – don’t incorporate air. (Don’t whip them. Instead – whisk the eggs gently.)
After the egg whites and egg yolk mix uniformly – pour the mixture in a freezer-safe container. Then – place the egg mixture in the freezer for long-term storage. Mason jars work perfectly for this case. A 32-ounce Mason jar will easily hold an entire carton of backyard chicken eggs.
Remember that eggs have a protective layer called the egg cuticle – or bloom. The egg cuticle bloom seals the egg from oxygen and bacteria, helping it stay fresh for longer. Washing the egg removes the bloom and decreases egg storage time.
Unfortunately not. Hard-boiled eggs will make them spoil faster. The FDA says that boiled eggs last for around seven days (one week) in the fridge. The FDA also notes that keeping the shell on or off the boiled eggs does not impact their shelf-life.
Read more on the FDA website – https://www.fda.gov/food/buy-store-serve-safe-food/what-you-need-know-about-egg-safety
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. We advise not washing 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 eggs in the fridge is that they can stay fresh for much longer – unwashed eggs last up to six months if refrigerated!
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 the eggs never get mucky.
If you have to wash eggs, use warm water to rinse and gently scrub the debris from the shell. Use unscented soap if needed. Use refrigerated washed eggs within a week or two, as they do not keep as well as unwashed eggs.
- What Time of Day Do Chickens Lay Eggs? And When Is the Best Time to Collect Them?
- Why Do Chickens Stop Laying Eggs – 10 Reasons With Easy Solutions!
- 44 Free Chicken Coop Plans! Easy DIY Ideas You Can Make!
- 20 Chickens That Lay Colored Eggs! Olive, Blue, and Pink Hen Eggs?!
- It’s Been Ages. When Do Ducks Start Laying Eggs?
How Long Do Farm Fresh Eggs Last – Resources, Field Guides, and Works Cited
- Storing Eggs and Dairy Products | Food Safety, NC State Extension
- Egg Safety – What You Need to Know | US Food and Drug Administration
- Food Storage Guidelines | Virginia Coop Extension
- Safely Handling Eggs & Preventing Salmonella | University of Minnesota Extension
- Egg Safety From the Farm to the Table | NC State Extension