How to wash and store chicken eggs safely

 If you're new to raising chickens for the eggs they produce , it's important to clean those eggs before eating them. Egg cleaning methods are useful to know for your personal needs or if you want to sell eggs at the farmers market or directly to consumers. Learn several ways to ensure freshly laid eggs are clean, safe and attractive to buyers.

How to wash and store chicken eggs safely

Dry clean the eggs

The best way to wash your eggs is to dry clean them. To do this, use something dry and slightly abrasive to remove dirt or droppings until the egg is clean. With this method, you do not use water or disinfectant. Use a sanding sponge, loofah, fine sandpaper or an abrasive sponge to dry clean the eggs. Periodically disinfect the sponge or loofah or discard the old one in favor of a new one.

This method preserves the natural antibacterial coating called “bloom”. Washing the eggs with water eliminates blooming and encourages bacteria.The main bacteria you want to avoid with eggs is salmonella, which is foodborne and can lead to food poisoning. You are only at risk of contracting a salmonella infection if bacteria are present on the eggshell and you intend to eat the egg raw. Some popular salad dressings contain raw eggs, such as fresh mayonnaise, Hollandaise sauce, and Caesar dressing. However, cooking kills bacteria.

Wet wash

Sometimes eggs are just too dirty or nasty to dry clean. It is not uncommon to have unsightly smears or splatters of feces or dried egg yolk (from broken coop eggs).

If you can't clean them with the dry cleaning method, you need to wash the egg with water. Use water hotter than egg temperature . Keep it at medium temperature, not hot but not lukewarm. Avoid cold water completely. Cold water can cause the pores in the eggshell to suck bacteria from the surface and into the egg where you don't want them. Never immerse or soak eggs in water.

Wash the eggs under running tap water or spray them in washers or wire baskets with lukewarm water. Let them sit and wipe them off with a dry paper towel one at a time. Place the clean eggs in another basket or flat.

To sanitize the eggs, spray the cleaned eggs with a dilute bleach solution . Let the eggs dry on a rack, in a basket or a flat washer. If water and disinfectant spray aren't enough for particularly stubborn stains, you can remove them by soaking the eggs in hot vinegar .

Storing your eggs

If you plan to use the eggs yourself, you can store unwashed eggs on the counter for several weeks. Wash them just before cooking.Store eggs pointy side down to keep them fresh longer. Some people say unrefrigerated eggs taste better, but once you've washed them, refrigerate them immediately if you're not cooking them right away.

Preparing eggs for sale

If you are preparing fresh eggs for sale, check with your county co-op/extension office for state-mandated cleaning and safety procedures before you can sell the eggs.

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