Thursday, March 25, 2010

More on Chickens

Ok, I thought I had covered everything, but my friend Kimberly has asked a bunch more questions that I'm sure others are asking too.

Do I wash the eggs? Yes.  I know some people feel you should leave the 'bloom' on the eggs and have all sorts of claims as to why this is a good idea.  But our chickens lay their eggs where ever they like and the eggs come from the barn with all sorts of 'stuff' on them.  I give them a quick wash under running water in order to cut down the chances of spreading e.coli. around.  That and I think it's disgusting to crack an egg into a recipe that's covered in poop.

How long to keep fresh eggs?   Are you ready for this -an unbelievably long time, so long that we've never had a bad egg.  You may not believe this, but store bought eggs can be about a year old!!  Yep, you read that right, a year.   I forget which show I saw that on, but it was one of those 'investigative news-type' shows that you can trust.  My MIL stores her eggs in the basement (when she gets backed up), it's cool and they keep for months (if needed).  Remember, in Europe people don't even refrigerate their eggs, fresh eggs are kept on the counter.  Fresh eggs are in such demand that MIL's eggs are usually never more than a week old, sales slow a little during the bad weather months.

How soon do they need to be collected?  It depends on the time of year and if you have roosters.  During the winter or without roosters you can actually collect eggs every couple days.  Colin usually goes every day but there have been times he's forgot.  The chickens aren't broody during the winter and so the eggs usually aren't fertilized (not an issue if no rooster) and they just lay around the coop (i.e. not kept warm).  These days when the hens are getting broody and the roosters are doing their 'duty' Colin collects every day.  Soon he will let them set on a few eggs (the Chanteclers, likely not the Bantys).  While the weather stays cool, I wash the eggs every couple days and then refrigerate.  Once it gets much warmer, I'll wash them as soon as they come in.  Here's a picture of one of our Banty eggs.  See how far the yolk stands up in the white, that's one way to tell a fresh egg.

Blood spot in 'organic' store eggs?  I'm not sure whether you can salvage those.  You still don't know how old the eggs are or whether there was a rooster involved.  If the eggs aren't yours (or a friends) I would be tempted to toss the blood spots.  I'm much more cavalier with egg safety (eg., eating dough, meringue) but that's because I know how old the eggs are and the conditions they were harvested under.  I'd be more wary with store bought.


Anonymous said...

Wow! That was great! A year? That's gross! I want chickens! {That's me, throwing a fit!}

Paula said...

Did I cover everything?

Try to find a local person selling eggs. I don't know if they are any cheaper to raise if you have to buy corn by the bag.

Diann said...

Oh yuck! I hope I'm not getting year old eggs at the grocery!! When we are camping, I try to buy a dozen eggs from an Amish lady up in that area. They are a little more expensive than store bought, but at least you can count on them being fresh, and they are also a lot larger than I get at the store.