Many people have asked whether they really need to refrigerate their fresh chicken eggs or not. The answer to this question depends on several factors which we will discuss more in-depth in this article.
What Determines If Eggs Need To Be Refrigerated?
One of the main factors that determines if eggs need to be refrigerated or not is where you live.
In the United States, eggs are washed to remove any fecal matter that may be present on the eggshells. This is done to reduce the risk of salmonella contamination. However, washing eggs also removes the natural protective coating that is present on the eggshells. As a result, the eggs become more porous and are more likely to absorb odors and bacteria from the surrounding environment.
If you live in the US, it is recommended to refrigerate your eggs for safety reasons.
If you live in other countries such as the UK, eggs are not washed before being sold. The natural coating on the eggshells remains intact, which makes the eggs less porous and more resistant to bacteria and odors. As a result, eggs in the UK do not need to be refrigerated.
The Importance of Temperature Control
Whether or not you choose to refrigerate your eggs, it is crucial to store them at a consistent temperature. Eggs should not be subjected to extreme temperatures or sudden changes in temperature as this can cause the eggshells to crack, which increases the risk of contamination.
If you choose to refrigerate your eggs, make sure that your refrigerator temperature stays between 33°F – 40°F (0°C – 4°C). A digital thermometer can help you monitor the temperature of your refrigerator.
The Shelf Life of Eggs
Eggs have a surprisingly long shelf life, even without being refrigerated. The shelf life of an egg depends on several factors including the age of the egg and how it is stored.
On average, eggs can last up to 5 weeks in the refrigerator when stored properly.
When eggs are stored at room temperature, their shelf life is reduced to only 1-2 weeks.
How to Store Eggs
The key to storing eggs properly is to keep them away from any sources of heat, light, or moisture, which can cause them to spoil more quickly.
If you choose to refrigerate your eggs, store them on one of the shelves in the main body of the refrigerator, rather than in the door. The door is often exposed to more temperature variations which can cause your eggs to spoil more quickly.
Another important factor to consider is storing your eggs with the pointed end facing downwards. This helps to prevent the air pocket inside the egg from growing too large, which can cause the egg to spoil more quickly.
So, do fresh chicken eggs really need to be refrigerated? The answer is, it depends on where you live and how the eggs were processed before being sold. If you live in the US, it is recommended to refrigerate your eggs for safety reasons. If you live in other countries where eggs are not washed before being sold, you may be able to safely store your eggs at room temperature, provided you keep them away from sources of heat, light, and moisture.
Regardless of whether you choose to refrigerate your eggs or not, it is crucial to store them properly and to monitor their temperature to reduce the risk of contamination.
Most Common Questions about Refrigerating Fresh Eggs
- Can I refrigerate eggs that are close to their expiration date?
- Yes, refrigerating your eggs can help to extend their shelf life, even if they are close to their expiration date.
- Can I freeze eggs to extend their shelf life?
- Yes, you can freeze raw eggs for up to a year. However, it is important to remove them from their shells and to freeze them in an airtight container or plastic bag.
- What is the best way to test the freshness of my eggs?
- You can test the freshness of your eggs by placing them in a bowl of water. If they sink to the bottom and lay flat, they are fresh. If they stand upright or float, they are less fresh and should be used soon.
- How long can boiled eggs be stored in the refrigerator?
- Boiled eggs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.