How To Tuesday: How to Clean Farm Fresh Eggs
Happy chickens lay happy eggs. Happy eggs are so totally a thing, I guarantee it. Next time you drive by that hand scrawled Farm Fresh Eggs HERE sign, STOP. I mean it. Best. Eggs. Ever. If not for the fun color variations of shells alone (blues, greens, speckles, OH MY!), then do it to help a local hobby farmer and support the little guy. After buying them however, there are a couple of tricks on how to clean your farm fresh eggs and make them ready to eat in a hurry.
There are many schools of thought to the Do or Do Not wash eggs argument. If you’re a a do-not-wash eggs kinda person, fabulous. Scrub the chicken shit off your eggs with a clean dry sponge or fine grit sandpaper and put them in your fridge for later devouring! Super simple. But if you get a little squiggie at the idea of the unwashed and unsanitized eggs, these tips will clean your eggs so they’re ready to go grocery store style.
The biggest point to this post – is that farm fresh eggs rock and you should buy them without fear. They’re rich, flavorful and amazing. Scrub off the shit and get to cooking garsh durn it!
Also, sorry-not-sorry for the repeated use of the word chicken shit. Saying “chicken droppings” or “leavings” just sounds too dang pretentious. It’s chicken shit people, just like cow shit or horse shit. We all know what we mean.
First, inspect all your eggs for cracks or breaks in the shell and discard them immediately.
Next, grab a clean non-abrasive sponge to gently clean any hardened dirt away from the shell. Shells have a layer over the top called a “Bloom”, so be sure to rub away only the sections of eggs that have hardened gunk, but no more.
Squeaky clean, nearly.
Next prep two bowls of water – one with warm water and another filled with water with about ¼-½ teaspoon bleach to sanitize the eggs after they have been washed.
Working quickly, dip each egg, one at a time into the warm water and with your fingers rub off the remaining bits of dirt from the eggs, then quickly dunk into the sanitizing bath and immediately dry each egg. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Because egg shells are porous they should not be left to soak in water or else they risk absorbing remaining bacteria into the egg because of the vaccuum created from the temperature difference between the water and the egg.
Once all the eggs are dipped, dunked and dried – place all the eggs into the fridge and they are ready to scramble, hard boil, poach and bake with to your hearts content.
In other news, my life continues to revolve around mint colored everything, as exhibited by this week’s nail color selection. Because, you needed to know that.
For other handy kitchen How-To’s check out these nifty tricks!
How to Make Chocolate Magic Shell
How to Poach an Egg
How to Brown Butter
Part of my dream life consists of owning chickens! Thanks for sharing.
Now I want 5 billion eggs.
Great how to! A girlfriend of mine has chickens and we thankfully benefit from her abundance of eggs. Farm fresh can’t be beat!
Hi, I just wanted to say that I have family that runs a large organic farm, including a couple hundred free-range chickens. They don’t wash the eggs at all because of the porus nature of the shells. They take a fine grit sanding block to sand off any “dirt” (which is actually poop because chickens only have 1 “vent”…which releases the eggs as well as poop). I have 6 backyard chickens, don’t soak or bleach them at all…just rub the dirt off and put in the fridge. We’ve never gotten sick from unsanitized eggs…and I eat fresh eggs every day.
Hi Sadie, thanks so much for piping up! I know some people get kinda weirded out by the idea of chicken shit on their eggs, so I wanted to provide a simple way for them to clean and sanitize their eggs at home, if that is something that concerns them.
Picked right out of the roost or cleaned and sanitized – farm fresh eggs are always better than store bought in my mind – and hopefully if people can learn a new trick to put their minds at rest, they will start to realize farm fresh is the way to go – and hopefully we can encourage people to buy straight from the farm instead of homogenized, boring, and flavorless store bought eggs. Thanks so much for your insight!! Now, I have four dozen eggs to go do something with. I think a cake is in order!! 🙂 Cheers, Megan
Yep. It’s totally chicken shit. And I giggled like a child each time you said it.
I’m totally not on board with this, you are making farm fresh eggs sound dirty and they aren’t! (thought I still like you 🙂 ) If you have your own hens and you know how clean their coop is, because you are the one cleaning it, then you have a lot of peace of mind. I’m with sadie – you just sand off the poop if needed. Wash the eggs removes the natural film that the hens body puts on the eggs when laid. Now that you washed it you opened up all those pores to bacteria and you are more likely to get sick from a washed egg in a reused egg carton (most are reused…) than a fresh egg unwashed, regardless of the egg carton. The egg cartons are generally not so clean if you are cracking eggs near them and then some drip on them and sit on the counter. You’d be better off not washing your eggs. Really!
I think people need to know chickens are NINJAS and not to be scared of totally normal things. Farm eggs are awesome like you said but I don’t think scaring people about chicken crap is the answer.
PS. This is the meanest comment I’ve ever left in my whole life and I hope you don’t take it as such. I had no idea about that film on the eggs (I can look up the name if you like) and I didn’t ever really like chickens until I got my own just less than a year ago. Now I have three hens that roam my yard (and lay every where but their coop!!) and the knowledge I’ve gained has been so empowering. Nature is amazing and we need to trust it a little more, chicken poop included. Can we still be friends?!
Yes, we can still be friends. This post was not meant to be a “wash your eggs or you’re dirty” kinda thing. I personally couldn’t care less about whether eggs are washed before use – I’m not promoting a “wash all your eggs” agenda – it’s a buy farm fresh eggs agenda more than anything else!
I trust nature and I want chickens of my own because I love fresh eggs right out of the coop, and people have been eating unsanitized eggs for EONS before us. I know they’re safe.
But I know some people out there ARE weirded out by chicken shit on their eggs and feel more comfortable knowing that they have been cleaned and even sanitized – I’m trying to help the OCD people out there. It doesn’t make anyone right or wrong for washing or not washing eggs – everyone is different ans has different comfort levels and preferences. I was just giving ONE how-to, if someone out there in the interweb wanted to buy farm fresh and wanted to know how to clean them. This wasn’t meant to be “the only way”, by no means!
Gimme an egg right out of the coop anyday – and I’ll eat it, washed or unwashed – it’s all YUMMY to me! 🙂
I have only had farm fresh eggs once and I haven’t been able to find them again but the taste is unbeatable. Where do you get yours?
I get my eggs from a local friend. Her family raises their own chickens so I buy them directly from her. Fresh as you can get!
I love this post! Living on a ranch “shit” isn’t really a bad word. I grew up with farm fresh eggs and there’s nothing better.
Preach it!! I am with you, everything is better with fresh eggs. 🙂 I’m so glad someone else understands the appropriate use of the word “shit” in this instance haha 🙂
I think that farm fresh eggs are so much better than store bought! I’m so glad we have friends that have chickens. I’d much rather buy them from a friend than from a store. <3
I love how to Tuesdays on your blog and adore that you’re promoting farm-to-table food! I exclusively use eggs from off the farm and haven’t cleaned them because they seem to always get to me pretty clean, save of a few feathers. I love the nutrition that comes from happy chickens. Well done, sister!
These eggs were really pretty darn clean, too. Just a few spots that needed scrubbing and I went through the “sanitize” motions of cleaning for an example of what some people who prefer Really clean eggs might want to do. I hate getting my eggs from the store, its so detached from the process and happy chickens always lay better eggs. 🙂
i’m not going to want to eat any of those eggs if they come in such beautiful colours. i think i need to buy them just to enjoy their beauty 🙂
Thanks for the pointers and encouragement to try local farm eggs. I guess I’m going to the local farmer’s market tomorrow.
Well done Megan. I don’t know why some people get a little skittish about chicken shit on farm eggs–they come out of chicken butts, people! 😉 I just rub the clumps off mine with a damp paper towel, but I have friends that do the quick bleach wash because it makes them feel better. Whatever works for you. That said, I’d that flicking off a little poop any day rather than buy commercial eggs that can (legally!) be up to 3 months old. Those things are “washed” in all sorts of nasty chemicals before they hit the shelves. There is a difference! Thanks for calling attention to it and for supporting your local farmers. You rock, Sister!
Love this post! I have to share this with some of my friends that question eating my farm fresh eggs! Fortunately, there usually isn’t much shit on our eggs, and if there is I clean it a little bit, and keep those eggs for ourselves so I don’t gross any of my customers out!
You know, we have good friends that have about 70 egg-layers….and for the 2 to 3 dozen eggs that our household can go through in a week, I have never once stopped to think from where the eggs exit the chicken….or that a chicken butt could also be referred to as a vent….or that there could be two schools-of-thought about chicken shit removal from “vented” eggs…or that the suggestion of washing chicken shit off of eggs would bring out the “chicken shit removal police”…or that chickens are ninjas (still processing that comparison…they lay eggs?)
To wash or not to wash…that is the question. Whether it is healthier in the mind to leave one’s recently vented eggs with trace amounts of chicken shit, or to take eggs into sink of water, and by scrubbing…to wash them….
For me and my house, I will wash them gently and not be scared from the suggestion…. 😀
As is the case with most things, it comes down to personal preference. Do whatever makes YOU feel comfortable. If we did everything we saw on the internet, we’d all be running virus scans from those fake “Hey, I saw this picture of you on Facebook” scams and we’d never have time to read blogs.
I’m choosing to focus on the fact that Megan is promoting the purchase of farm-fresh eggs from local egg farmers and the fact that if some people ARE nervous, they have options. I wish I had chickens. That would rock.
PS – I’ve never seen the phrase “chicken shit” thrown around so often in one place. Maybe I’m just immature, but I cannot stop giggling. You are my hero, Megan.
Such a fun tutorial! When I lived on a farm as a kid, this was my job. Thanks for sharing and helping me reminisce a little!
Haha I am loving these How To Tuesdays! 🙂
My husband and I grew up in the burbs and learned everything the hard way when we bought our 5 acres. Books do not tell all- ha!
We had a great time raising geese, ducks, chickens and sheep
Ate them all
Store food does not compare
I loved this post 🙂 I am up to my eyeballs it fresh eggs (all covered with shit). And I learned something! I have been giving the eggs a little soak in water to soften the poop and dirt then just scrubbing the eggs clean. I never knew soaking them was bad!!! Thanks for the tip!!
This post and all the comments left were so helpful! A friend just gave me a dozen fresh eggs from her chickens, and my son just dropped off 2 dozen more fresh eggs that were given to him. I am of the “remove the obvious dirt spots” school of thought. I’m going to steam a dozen now. Having never steamed fresh eggs before, I was looking for info about cleaning them before steaming. It sounds like I would ok to just do a little easy cleaning first, and being in a steamer should kill any remaining bacteria. What do you think?
Great blog! We started raising chickens only a year ago and have been happily eating unwashed eggs for the past 7 months (since our girls started laying). While I’m only “mildly” bothered about dirty eggs, I am OCD when it comes to giving my hands a quick wash after handling them. Plus, I can’t tell you how many times we’ve given away eggs to friends whose noses shrivel when they discover there is only one, um exit. For those who like to refrigerate eggs au naturale, consider this, the cold dry air of a refrigerator can cause the bloom to prematurely dry and flake off leaving the pores open to dry out and/or to accept bacteria.
I wanted to add a couple things, if I may. In Europe, as I understand it, they don’t sanitize, nor refrigerate. Eggs will keep just fine for a month without spoiling on the counter. Many people say if you sanitize you MUST refrigerate. Also, I found this little tidbit I thought I’d share: For those who prefer to sanitize, lightly coat with mineral oil afterwards to replace the bloom (also known as cuticle). http://www.incredibleegg.org/egg-facts/eggcyclopedia/b/bloom
It’s an old debate that will likely never see a clear winner based on the evidence. Both schools of thoughts are responsible for breakfast smiles (dinner too!). One thing IS clear though… nothing beats a farm fresh egg!
I am with you – nothing beats a farm fresh eff!!
Oh, I almost forgot! May I ask your source for the claim that the warm water creates a vacuum in the egg? To my thinking, the opposite should happen. However, and this may be what you meant, upon consequently cooling down, a slight brief vacuum might be created in the egg.
I’d never actually considered that. Good point.
if you do not wash your farm fresh eggs, no need to refridge them for at least three weeks…
Can you just rinse them off and pat dry right before you use them or is that a bad idea as well?
Everyone is different, some people just rinse them and dry them before use. This method sanitizes them as well. Do whatever you think is best for you!
Why on earth would you ever put your eggs in bleach???? You said yourself, egg shells are porous. I don’t care how quick you are about dunking them, it simply isn’t necessary and worse than not being necessary, bleach is extremely harmful!!! Humans have raised chickens for a much longer time than bleach has been around without dying from using natural, nontoxic cleaning products.
Okay, I admit, I’m slightly weirded out by poop on my eggs. BUT, I’m okay with not washing if it helps with the integrity of the egg too. I got 6 dozen fresh eggs from a new friend. Question: do I wash them before I crack them to prevent contamination that way? Like right before I crack them I mean? Sorry, I’m ignorant to these things.
I love this. Camille is eating egg yolks now, and I’m buying farm eggs. And yes, there’s gunk on them! Thanks 🙂
I never actually thought about washing the fresh eggs I get from my father-in-law. Sure, I will wipe them down if they are really noticeable, but for the most part I just inspect and go. Fresh eggs make such a difference (especially in baking!)
I am all for natural foods…but I’m not eating chicken poo, haha! Yay for clean eggs! 😉
Yes people are weirded out by poop on eggs…I personally don’t like it so I wash and sanitize mine too.
Great post! There is no better egg than a farm fresh egg.
We had chickens growing up, but we never went through a process like this – we just brushed them off and stuck them in the fridge. I can’t even imagine going through the hassle of bleaching them. Nothing beats a farm fresh egg though!
Love farm fresh eggs! You can so taste the difference!
We just rinse and dry our eggs right before use – of course I wipe any really yucky stuff off before refrigerating. But I have to think about the bloom drying and cracking if you put in fridge unwashed. The poultry expert at state extension said to use a Clorox wipe but I don’t want to use that on food. You do want to use water warmer than the eggs, and don’t soak them (same with vegetables).
But I want to ask – have you ever scrubbed so hard the color came off 2 or 3-day old eggs? I’ve heard you can rub the color off brown or olive eggs when they’re newly-laid, but I just took a damp paper towel and scrubbed some olive eggs so hard the speckles came off (and I know they were speckles not shit)!
Great Post with lots of information. Keep Updating with newer post and Nice work on writing such a beautiful article.
the back yard chicken eggs I bought have lots of poop on them. How do you not clean them? when if you crack them open the inside of the eggs are contaminated from the poop on the outside Are they not??
I washed my in ozone water Did I ruin the egg inside by doing that?? Please advise? Thanks Bonny
I love all ya’ll;)). I have a chicken coop and plenty of eggs
Covered in chicken shit and I love it! Lol lol I do have a quick question for y’all though… My hubby and I have been debating this for a few so I thought what better place to get the best answer than right here;)). Ok, once I get the eggs out of cool, what’s my time frame on sitting without cleanin off, out of fridge, and then time in fridge?
Without washing or getting them wet, they can sit o your counter for at least a month. I just made breakfast, gave the eggs a quick rinse and rub and dried and cracked them in the pan. damn good!
So, is rinse and repeat you just being cute or should we do those steps twice?
What’s up, cool website you possess at this time there!
I have to share this with some of my friends that question eating my farm fresh eggs
I love this how-to, thank you for sharing. We have had a lot of success with our layers laying longer into the winter, just by leaving the lights on in there and heating it up a little! https://dragosfarm.com/2017/12/06/why-you-should-eat-farm-fresh-eggs/
Thank you for sharing great tip, it helps me a lot, if you need some more of my suggestions click here for more details.
Bleach!??? The egg is porous! I do not think that is a very good idea at all. What a way to go from fresh and natural to gross chemicals. i have never heard of anyone rinsing fresh eggs in bleach. A little warm water is all that is needed. And yes…..it is okay to say chicken shit. lol 🙂
A small amount of bleach in a bowl of cool water for a quick dunk does no harm, and then a quick rinse under cool tap water to rinse off the bleach water is just a little added safety against dreaded salmonella.
Cross contamination is certainly something to guard against when handling fresh eggs and poultry of any kind. Also, you may not realize this, but chicken poop can contain hook worms!
Clean is best.
I was given some beautiful farm fresh eggs by my daughter. I popped them in the fridge so they have an even longer shelf life. When I need them for cooking, I take out what I need, and use a paper towel under running tap water to clean the poop off, and then crack them into my bowl. Easy to do, and works for me!!
Thank you . I always wash the eggs thoroughly in warm water; drain and wipe dry before storage.
Why on earth would anyone put their eggs in bleach?? The egg shell is porous. Even soaking them in water will cause the bacteria from the shell to get into the part of the egg you eat. This entire article is full of terrible advice.
I’m sorry this didn’t meet with your expectations Jaclyn. I posted information that could be used by anyone who might wish to do this, it is not the ONLY way to clean eggs, and I outlined other methods depending on whatever the user feels is best for their needs. I hope you will look at the other how-to’s I post and find one that you would like to try.
Bleach disinfects the egg shell, killing harmful bacteria and parasites, and then breaks down into harmless table salt and oxygen. A very important step if you have an immunocompromised father who doesn’t believe in washing his hands after handling raw eggs.
I love all the information here! We have a friend, OB/GYN and prolific FARMER who we buy organic produce and FRESH, ORGANIC FREE RANGE EGGS from….He told us that his fresh eggs will last for weeks and weeks UNREFRIGERATED! Love eating organic!
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I know this is an old blog post! But I love your chicken shit stance. Haha Had me laughing. Thanks
HAHA! THANK YOU!!! I have my own chickens now, and they’re just about laying age, so I’ll get to use my tips and tricks very soon!