Among the most common of animal foods, chicken eggs are least prone to spoiling. But what if your hen Jen has been laying more than you can handle, or you’re looking to stock up? Keep these two things in mind:
1. If you decide to refrigerate your free-range eggs, you can be confident they should remain fresh for thirty days- and even more! Since you are raising your own free-range chickens with your hen house, and you are conscientious and responsible about daily care, you would not really need to worry about salmonella.
Even if an egg did have salmonella, refrigeration should kill the majority of the bacteria– proper handling, preparing, and cooking, virtually all of them.
2. To get the most out of your stock, only poach the freshest eggs, and scramble the older ones. This way the best taste is assured.
Perhaps while frequenting your hen house, you missed one of Jen’s eggs, or maybe it has found its way out of her nest- is it still ‘good’ (is it tasty!)? Try this:
Fill a pitcher, a sizeable glass, or bowl with water (any temperature will work), and gently drop an egg one-by-one inside. Does it float? If it does, you probably have an old egg.
What causes this? If you read our previous post on the 15 layers of an egg, you remember that eggshells are extremely porous. As an egg ages, its air cell enlarges, forming a little floaty-like creation inside, causing it to keep above water. Pretty cool, but pretty pungent!
Remember: Especially if you refrigerate your free-range eggs, they should be pretty fresh for a long time. But if at any time you want to perform a taste-test pre-boil, -crack, or -poach, just place it in some water!
Keep up with your hen house, and your taste buds– and your chickens– will thank you.