Country Cleaver

How To Tuesday: How to Clean Farm Fresh Eggs

How to Clean Farm Fresh Eggs - www.countrycleaver.com

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.

How to Clean Farm Fresh Eggs - www.countrycleaver.com

First, inspect all your eggs for cracks or breaks in the shell and discard them immediately.

How to Clean Farm Fresh Eggs - www.countrycleaver.com

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.

How to Clean Farm Fresh Eggs - www.countrycleaver.com

Squeaky clean, nearly.

How to Clean Farm Fresh Eggs - www.countrycleaver.com

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.

How to Clean Farm Fresh Eggs - www.countrycleaver.com

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.
How to Clean Farm Fresh Eggs - www.countrycleaver.com

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.

How to Clean Farm Fresh Eggs - www.countrycleaver.com

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 Roast Garlic

 

How to Brown Butter

   

28 Responses to “How To Tuesday: How to Clean Farm Fresh Eggs”

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    Anne @The Cooking Campaign — March 12, 2013 @ 6:31 am

    Part of my dream life consists of owning chickens! Thanks for sharing.

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    Bev @ Bev Cooks — March 12, 2013 @ 6:40 am

    Now I want 5 billion eggs.

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    Little Kitchie — March 12, 2013 @ 6:44 am

    Great how to! A girlfriend of mine has chickens and we thankfully benefit from her abundance of eggs. Farm fresh can’t be beat!

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    sadie — March 12, 2013 @ 7:05 am

    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.

    • Megan replied: — March 12th, 2013 @ 7:50 am

      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

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    Karly — March 12, 2013 @ 8:02 am

    Yep. It’s totally chicken shit. And I giggled like a child each time you said it.

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    Melissa @ Bless this Mess — March 12, 2013 @ 8:54 am

    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?!

    • Megan replied: — March 12th, 2013 @ 9:35 am

      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! :)

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    Nicole@Youngbrokeandhungry — March 12, 2013 @ 10:34 am

    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?

    • Megan replied: — March 12th, 2013 @ 11:09 am

      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!

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    Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen — March 12, 2013 @ 11:03 am

    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.

    • Megan replied: — March 12th, 2013 @ 11:10 am

      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 :)

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    Angie @ Big Bear's Wife — March 12, 2013 @ 1:00 pm

    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

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    Julia — March 12, 2013 @ 1:09 pm

    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!

    • Megan replied: — March 12th, 2013 @ 1:21 pm

      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. :)

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    michele bowman — March 12, 2013 @ 1:31 pm

    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.

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    Kirsten — March 12, 2013 @ 1:33 pm

    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!

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    Kris — March 12, 2013 @ 8:15 pm

    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!

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    BaconSlayer, The — March 12, 2013 @ 8:33 pm

    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…. :D

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    Jeanne (NanaBread) — March 12, 2013 @ 9:16 pm

    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.

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    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — March 13, 2013 @ 7:34 am

    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!

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    Jessica — March 13, 2013 @ 6:21 pm

    Haha I am loving these How To Tuesdays! :-)

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    kelly — February 24, 2014 @ 5:47 pm

    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

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    Megan K — April 10, 2014 @ 12:40 pm

    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!!

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    Kathleen White — April 28, 2014 @ 12:51 pm

    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?

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    Sherri — November 26, 2014 @ 12:33 pm

    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!

    • Megan replied: — November 26th, 2014 @ 12:52 pm

      I am with you – nothing beats a farm fresh eff!!

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    Sherri — November 26, 2014 @ 12:40 pm

    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.

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