Refrigerated Eggs?

We received this question from a Facebook follower:
I read about this a while back and wanted to ask your thoughts on the issue. Forgot about it until I came across this NPR bit in my newsfeed. What do you do with your eggs/chickens?  NPR:  Why the US Chills Its Eggs and Most of the World Doesn’t
Here’s what we know from our experience:  chicken eggs do not spoil on our counter top in the summer if eaten within 30 days.  How do we know?  We’ve kept eggs unrefrigerated for one month.  They may last longer, but we haven’t tried it, so we can’t say.  The sample size is small, so it cannot be taken to be statistically significant.  Nor can it be established that these one-month-old eggs are bacteriologically safe for people with compromised immune systems.  Perhaps we are adapted to the bacteria present in our eggs.  Nor can it be assumed that eggs would last as long in hotter climates.


But all that nitpicking aside, it certainly makes sense that eggs should last a long time without refrigeration.  Modern production breeds of egg laying hens crank out five or more eggs per week for several months at a stretch and never have the biological urge to hatch eggs.  But an “unimproved”, traditional hen will lay eggs until she has between ten and fourteen in her nest, and then she’ll “go broody” and start sitting on her eggs for three weeks until the chicks hatch.  Many old fashioned breeds of chickens don’t lay eggs as regularly, so that means it might take a hen three weeks to lay all her eggs before incubation.  During that time, the eggs remain viable.


If we were to sell eggs, by law we would need to wash and refrigerate them.  Most states also require eggs to be candled (checked with a bright light to detect cracks or blood spots within).  Since we consume all our eggs, we have the prerogative to enjoy detergent free, unrefrigerated eggs.  Realistically, most eggs don’t hang around here for more than a few days anyway since we do a pretty good job of eating as many eggs as we collect each day.


And to answer the inevitable follow-up question — yes, we do eat them raw when we make mayonnaise, ice cream, and Orange Julii (is this the plural of Juliuses?).


One Comment on “Refrigerated Eggs?

  1. My understanding is that as long as you dont wash the eggs and take the bloom off they are fine to sit on the shelf (as you said). Thanks Dave for your posts,very informative and interesting for sure. Jeff

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