Refrigerating Eggs

Why do we refrigerate eggs?

Something that surprised me during my trip to a grocery store in England was that they didn’t refrigerate their eggs. I spoke with our hostess at the hotel and she told me she didn’t refrigerate her eggs either. I am not a huge fan of eggs, but the ones I had in England were amazing! I found myself looking forward to breakfast every day. (It could have been their love of bacon as well, but I’m not sure- yum bacon!)

The only difference between the eggs was that in America we refrigerate our eggs and in England they do not. I spent some time searching the internet trying to find out what makes American eggs different. I couldn’t find much information as to why American eggs will make you sick if you don’t refrigerate them (or so we are told) but chickens in other parts of the world lay refrigeration optional eggs.

Personally, I would always refrigerate eggs purchased from a grocery store. But what about farm fresh eggs, do those need to be refrigerated too? I don’t want to put my family at risk by not refrigerating eggs but I often wonder why we do the things we do. Is it out of habit? Is it because a small percentage of people got sick from not refrigerating eggs, so now everyone does it just in case? Is it because our government likes rules and regulations? I wonder.

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Comments

  1. Sara Burns says:

    I just read this the other day…I don’t know if it helps 🙂

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,596344,00.html

  2. I would think that keeping eggs refrigerated would keep them “fresh” longer, but wouldn’t think it was necessary for farm-fresh eggs that are meant for consumption within a few days after being laid.

  3. Serenity says:

    When I was at the Farmers Market a few weeks ago a chicken farmer told me to leave my eggs on the counter for 2 or 3 days if I wanted perfect hard boiled eggs. I was shocked because I have thrown away eggs before that sat out a couple of hours. We love hard boiled eggs so I’m going to give it a try soon.

  4. Elaine Smith says:

    mostly it is because the farm eggs have not been washed like the store bought ones.
    eggs have a natural coating on them that protects form bacteria and such.
    the ones from the store have been run through a washer of some kind and washed all the good stuff off. the fresh eggs still have this on them.
    i use fresh eggs all the time- have 14 hens.
    i will keep them in the fridge, but sometimes the sit out for several days before i get them all in the fridge, been doing this for 5 years, no prob so far.
    fresh farm eggs will keep twice as long a store bought eggs too.
    hope this helps

    • TheHappyHousewife says:

      Elaine-
      Do you have any tips for purchasing farm fresh eggs. Anything to avoid or to look for?
      Toni

      • I am not Elaine, but…do raise a small flock of hens (10) for fresh eggs as well. Buying eggs is pretty simple and not much you should look for really (farm fresh that is) because there is not much that can be done to the eggs. The only thing is, if the egg has been washed it will not last as long on the counter. If the egg has just been “brushed” off, it should last up to approx 14 days on the counter before use. Hope this helps! 🙂 P.S You can get lots of YUMMY eggs from a farm, far more delicious than the store. The yolks will be a much darker orange, and the eggs themselves are usually brown, pink, blue and or green!

      • Elaine Smith says:

        always make sure they are not cracked.
        that about it.
        and always crack in separate bowl, before adding to other ingredients.
        because they have not been through washer and the machine that looks inside0 to make sure nothing in there – (know what i mean–)
        other than that farm eggs are good to go- they suppose to have less cholesterol

        • From cooking shows on TV, also remember not to crack on the edge of a bowl (which pushes potentially contaminated bits of shell into the egg that are so much fun to fish out of the whites) but on a flat surface. They are just as easy to pull apart either way.

      • I grew up with chickens and we would always wash the protective coating off, then refrigerate them. The protective coating is excreted from the hen and leaves behind a colored residue. I imagine that eggs are washed before they are sold because it can be pretty unappetizing to look at, and you want the shells to be as clean as possible before cracking to prevent contamination.

  5. Living internationally I was told that if eggs are ever refrigerated you must keep them refrigerated. So if you have chickens and do not refrigerate that is ok, but if you buy at the store keep them in the fridge.

  6. In Germany they sell eggs and milk from the shelf.

    Only difference is the length of time they stay fresh, tow dates are given one shelf one cooled, the latter being longer.

    Otherwise I have never noticed a difference.

  7. I wonder if it has to do with regulation or over regulation. In Europe you can still purchase raw milk as well, here I dont even think it legal to sell it…

    So it just may be a regulatory thing that the store can not sell the eggs without refrigeration.

  8. When we went to Mexico this spring, we stayed with friends and it was the same story–their eggs sat out on their counter all the time. I have some friends who raise chickens and they might get their eggs in the fridge eventually, but like someone else said, it might take a few days to get them there.
    I think I read somewhere that it also has something to do with how most of our chickens are raised and kept–often in small cages close together, which allows sickness and disease to spread more rapidly. This creates a greater likelihood of eggs with bacteria that could spoil the eggs/make people sick if not refrigerated. Now, I have no links or anything to back me up on that, so don’t quote me. Maybe it was some documentary about how our food is produced?

  9. Others have already answered, but I just wanted to note that “chickens in other parts of the world lay refrigeration optional eggs” cracked me up. 🙂

  10. BarbaraL in OK says:

    My first thought is that perhaps England doesn’t have the massive, industrial-scale henhouses that we here in the USA do, so they have a reduced risk of salmonella etc from their eggs.

    Also, in Europe their store-bought milk is ultra pasteurized, which really kills off the bad bacteria etc. Much of our dairy is ultra pasteurized but we’re not comfortable with nonrefrigerated milk products.

    Small tip: refrigerated eggs last 4+ weeks in the fridge, as long as the shells are not cracked/broken.

  11. You know my neighbors growing up had chickens and their eggs were gathered in a basket that sat out till they used them.
    After the chicken lays them, they sit there until gathered and they aren’t refrigerated in the nest…

    Sometimes I do wonder why we do the things we do…

    “A newly married young woman, while preparing an Easter dinner for her husband, cut off the end of the ham before putting it in the pan to roast, just like her Mother had done before her. One afternoon while her Mother was visiting, her daughter asked her why she had always cut the end off the ham. The Mother replied that it was what her Mother had always done. Mother and daughter decided to pay a visit to Grandma to find the answer to their question.

    So the following Sunday, while visiting Grandma, they asked her why she had always cut the end off the ham before putting it in the roasting pan. She replied, “I only had a small pan and it was usually too small for the size of the ham!” “

  12. In Japan they don’t refrigerate their eggs in their grocery stores at all, they are kept on the shelfs with other non-perisable items. So I wonder when we started requiring eggs to be chilled as well, maybe around the time they started making processed flour… things that make you go hummmmm.

  13. Hiya!

    I’m English and I have been on holiday to America a couple of times. I’m not sure what you mean by ‘farm eggs’ but the main difference that I’ve noticed before is that a really big fraction of eggs in the UK are free range. This is where the chickens are allowed to roam around, have access to outside space and plenty of natural sunlight. When I’ve been to the US I’ve found it hard to purchase eggs that are produced this way and instead found a lot of eggs where either they weren’t clear or they were produced by battery farming methods ( also called caged birds). I have also since found out that there are no standards in the US for what defines ‘free range’ and manufacturers can use the term freely if they want to without it meaning a particular welfare standard – so the eggs that I hunted to find probably weren’t as good as I thought they were anyway!

    I think they taste different because the lifestyle of the chickens is so different and they have vit D etc. from this more natural way of living so this might have made the difference when you ate eggs on holiday!

    I haven’t commented before but I have been reading your blog for about a year now. Thank you so much for all that you do!

    Sarah

  14. My ex husband’s family (aunts & grandparents) kept opened condiments in the pantry. Thanks to them, I don’t refrigerate chocolate syrup. It’s so hard to get out of the bottle when it’s cold & we use it so quickly. I also tend to leave butter out. I like my butter soft & spreadable rather than having to fight to get some off the stick or tearing up bread in attempt to spread it. Neither of these things have killed anyone in this house.

    Eggs…well, I guess if I were going use them in a day or two, I could see leaving them out. But we just don’t use a lot of eggs unless I’m baking or dh is on an egg diet. I usually have no idea how long the eggs have been in the fridge. Again, no one has died here.

    • dgsandbjsmom says:

      We do the same thing. Condiments do not have to be refrigerated as long as they stay out all the time. Once refrigerated they must stay there. We leave our butter out at room temperature too. I am also known to leave the kids juice out .

  15. we american’s refrigerate a lot of stuff that doesn’t need to be refrigerated. more that half the stuff in my fridge: bread, soda, water, cheese, jams, butter, eggs, and beer to name a few items wouldn’t be refrigerated in many other countries.

    • Bread actually goes stale in the fridge so if you do that …you should stop. Freeze it if you bought too much. (I used to do that with fancy breads that I could only get once a month at the market) But you can only defrost bread once.

  16. Jamie Lyn says:

    My parents have chickens, and never refrigerate the eggs when they bring them inside. If they’re going to stay around a while, Mom refrigerates them after a few days, but if you eat a lot and can keep up, they’re fine on the counter. Once refrigerated, though, they have to be refrigerated. Don’t know the science behind it, but my dad says that’s what he was taught in his high school ag class and it seems to work. Anecdotally, though, we’ve noticed that unfertilized eggs (i.e., no rooster in the coop) seem to stay fresher longer this way than fertilized ones.

  17. dgsandbjsmom says:

    We have raised chickens off and on my whole life. An egg that has been refrigerized must stay there. If you do not wash your eggs until you use them and you may leave them on the counter. But once you refrigerate them you can not go back or you will get sick.

  18. They leave them out in Fiji- the milk too!

  19. I was curious about this too as the eggs purchased at Amish shops are not refrigerated either. From what I have read, the FDA did not make a law about egg refrigeration until June 2001. Eggs that have been pasteurized do not legally require refrigeration as the pasteurization has killed the salmonella. Refrigeration does lengthen the shelf life of eggs.

  20. Christie says:

    My college roommates from Bolivia and Peru left their eggs out on the counter, too.

  21. In Israel eggs are stamped with two days – one about a week away, which is the out-of-refrigerator use-by date, and one a month away, which is the refrigerated use-by date. The only eggs kept in the fridge at the supermarket are the special ones, like free-range or super-fresh. I keep my eggs in the fridge as soon as I buy them, but it’s not necessary.

  22. I’ve wondered the same about butter. I know some people have those butter crocks and they keep them out. But I wonder if you can do that with a butter dish? I’ve always refrigerated eggs but I guess it never occurred to me not to. Very interesting.

    • I have been leaving store bought stick butter (not margerin) in a butter dish on the counter for nye on two years. Never an issue. Most of the time, it takes close to three weeks to use, so not sure how long it would last, but no troubles have been felt or smelled from it.

  23. I grew up on a farm and we never refrigerated our eggs. We ate them fairly quickly, so they only ever sat out for about a week. The ones we sold weren’t ref. either.

    FWIW- we didn’t rerig. our butter either.

  24. Eggs do not need to be refrigerated. My mom said they never did growing up but she was raised in Europe. That is definitely interesting about hard boiled eggs though!

    I would also suspect that the eggs in England tasted so much better because of the way they are raised. I would guess most are still pasture raised there where here, most eggs from the store come from chickens locked in barns or cages without sunlight and given feed rather than to forage for what they are supposed to eat. We only buy eggs from the farmer these days and they taste so good. Any time we have eaten a store bought egg, we have found them bland and not worth eating.

  25. Before I go on, I’m going to preface this by saying that I’m probably going to sound like an alarmist nut but I swear, I’m not trying to! My guess is that American eggs are refrigerated to slow/halt growth of pathogens that may be present in the eggs due to the conditions under which they are produced.The average American supermarket gets eggs that are laid by hens on factory farms that are crowded and dirty.

    Farm fresh eggs produced by poultry farmers whose hens are not subject to the overcrowding are perfectly fine at room temperature. As others have mentioned, these eggs can last for a few days at room temperature but are meant to be consumed soon after purchase anyhow.

  26. We learned at a living history museum that an unwashed egg can be covered in lard and packed in straw for up to a year! We keep our unwashed homelaid eggs on the counter for weeks.

  27. So funny to see this post. Whenever anyone asks me if they should toss eggs that have sat out, I say that the man who sold eggs in Athens, Greece when I lived there had no power (electricity) to his shop!! Obviously no refrigeration. No ice. Eggs on the shelf day in and day out.
    🙂

  28. I agree that if it has already been in the fridge it should stay cold. The farmer that we get our raw milk and eggs from said that farm fresh eggs are fine to be left out for a couple of weeks.
    Theory – I think that farm fresh eggs that are not kept cold taste better b/c they do not have the shock from going from really cold temps to instant hot temps. Maybe that is why the hard boiled eggs taste so much better when left out.

  29. This Week For Dinner had a discussion about eggs around Easter. I included the links since I learned a lot about eggs from her. The most interesting fact I thought was that the shell is where the salmonella comes from so if you wash your eggs well, you don’t have to worry about it as much. Love your website and this discussion as well!

    http://thisweekfordinner.com/2010/03/30/egg-facts-that-will-blow-your-mind/
    http://thisweekfordinner.com/2010/04/06/deciphering-egg-labels/
    http://thisweekfordinner.com/2010/06/08/fresh-eggs/

  30. here in australia we refridgerate eggs, but its purely to make them last longer. there is a risk of salmonella from eggs, but you only need to worry about that if youre drinking them raw or making raw egg products like homemade mayonaise or something, so in those cases id be careful, but otherwise its simply that eggs keep longer in the fridge. You may get a couple rotten eggs if you keep them on the counter, but if you make sure you crack eggs into a cup and check them individually before adding them to a recepie (a standard practice here) then youll spot (or smell) a rotten egg quite easily.

  31. I’m from Australia as well and here in our town the grocery stores only started putting the eggs in the refrigerated section a year or so ago. The only reason being that they last longer in the fridge. My mother in law has chickens and we got some off the nests (while they were away) that had been there for a couple days. They were still perfectly fine.

    Interesting sidenote: all the eggs you buy here from the shops are brown. Haven’t seen a white egg since I was in the States four years ago.

  32. I buy farm fresh eggs all the time and leave them on the counter for up to two weeks. I mostly do this so they are at room temp for baking. Farm fresh eggs taste far better them store bought eggs. As a family of 9 the youngest being 3 do we very seldom have stomach virus.

  33. You’ve recieved lots of advice on this, so I’m most likely be redundant, but its something I know about and I like to hear myself talk:).

    We live outside the US (most of the time) and I buy eggs at traditional market. These are brown eggs that are never refrigerated or washed. If I find a deal, I’ve been known to by 2 kilos (roughly 4 lbs or 30 +eggs) and keep what doesn’t fit in the fridge on the counter. I have a family of 3 so that’s a lot of eggs for us. The rule of thumb I follow is that until they are washed they don’t have to go into the fridge. I keep them in a bowl on the counter for up to a week. After washing, they go into the fridge and I think they would be safe to keep for at least 2 weeks in the fridge. The rule is: Once in the fridge, they stay in the fridge. I don’t think its safe to go back and forth.

  34. Jocelyn says:

    I’m originally from CA but have been living in England for 7 years now. In the UK we don’t refridgerate our eggs because the protective coating has not been washed off. It doesn’t matter if the egg is free range, ‘farm fresh’, or just from your standard caged bird. The protective coating keeps enough bacteria out that they don’t need to be in the fridge. In the States the eggs are washed and are more susceptable to bacteria. So… if you live in the States and buy your eggs from grocery stores, put them in the fridge!

    On another note, here in the UK we keep our butter out in the butter dish and it never spoils and is always soft. This is real butter by the way, not margarine or butter-like spreads. We also don’t refridgerate our ketchup either (how many preservatives are in there anyhow!). American fridges are so large that you can keep your whole kitchen in there if you want, whereas European fridges are much smaller.

  35. Lori A. says:

    Interesting information! Thanks. 🙂

  36. What a great discussion! I’ve seen some farm fresh eggs at the farmer’s market and keep saying i”m going to get some. My mom had chickens for quite a while, but always refrigerated them…..I think just out of habit. I’m going to get some farm fresh eggs this week! Keep the comments coming! I’m lovin’ them!

  37. In the late 70’s when the salmonella enteritidis bacteria migrated to chickens and thus their eggs, refrigeration was mandated. Bacteria proliferate between 40 and 140 degrees Farenheit; it doubles every 20 minutes. Refrigeration does not kill bacteria, but rather stops its growth.

    Salmonella bacteria lives in the intestinal tracts of many organisms. In hens, it can migrate to their ovaries. The bacteria is in the egg before the shell is formed.

    It is important to note that the bacteria does not make the hen sick. It does not matter how the eggs are produced — organically, pasture raised, battery raised — the bacteria is naturally present. Bacteria is present in feces. When hens walk, peck and dust bathe in it, they become infected with it. Rodents and flies will transmit the bacteria as well.

    Eggs are classified as meat. You should handle them as you would handle raw chicken. An egg cooked over easy should really be referred to as medium rare.

  38. Also, because neutral bacteria inside of an egg degrades it over time, refrigeration helps to extend the shelf life of eggs.

    Even eggs that have been pasteurized in the shell, which kills pathogens and neutral bacteria, should be refrigerated to maintain quality; however refrigeration of an in shell pasteurized egg is not necessary for safety.

  39. We have raised egg layers for nearly ten years. The protective coating on the eggs is clear and feels slightly polished. Once it has been washed off you will notice the roughness of the shell. We only wash the eggs if they’ve been pooped on (it happens). I’ve read that the rate of salmonella in farm fresh eggs is much lower than store bought. You never really know how old your store bought eggs are. Farm eggs can last much longer in the fridge than store bought. I’ve left unwashed eggs on the counter for up to a week and have had no problems. The only time you’ll have a problem with an unrefrigerated egg is a hen has been sitting on it on and off. If your house isn’t overly warm, no problem.

  40. Saw this on Twitter and had to stop by – I just wrote a post today about refrigerating butter and my longstanding marital argument with my Hubby. I don’t refrigerate it. He does.

  41. Amanda Y. says:

    Yes, in America we force the egg producers to wash the eggs, which strips them of their protective coating–thus forcing us to refrigerate them to prevent ecoli. So, if you have your own eggs, unwashed, you do not need to refrigerate. Refrigerating does help them last longer, if you need to, but you can bring them to room temperature before cooking them for more flavor. We are one of the only countries in the world that makes eggs be refrigerated. If we just made sure the chickens were cared for properly and left the eggs the way they naturally are, we wouldn’t need these silly rules!

  42. dgsandbjsmom says:

    In the days of my grandparents on the first day you would have sweet milk ( what we consider milk ), that evening you would drop any leftover milk into the well to stay cool and the next morning you would have crumbled up cornbread covered in buttermilk (the milk would start to sour).

  43. Ok, I know a lot of people have said similar things so this is just my two cents. I’m from Ireland, and like you saw in England, eggs are never refrigerated in the supermarket, free range or not. We’ve been keeping ours in the fridge over the summer to make them last longer as we had some actual good summer weather for once! I was really surprised a few years ago when we visited relations in New York – they had a massive refrigerator for two adults and a newborn baby, and they kept *everything* in there.

    My theories on why there’s such a big difference include
    – hotter climate – The weather here is usually not warm enough to cause too many concerns about food going off, maybe for a couple of weeks a year. We keep the butter out in winter too.
    – less frequent shopping / bulk buying – leading to keeping food for longer.
    – longer transit time from chicken to your shop – due to scale of country and larger scale mass production – Ireland’s just not big enough for food to take days being transported around.

    My grandmother keeps chickens and they are the most amazing eggs I have ever tasted, far better than free range from the supermarket. She keeps them in the old stone house beside her ‘new’ house (built in the 70s 🙂 ), where she raised her kids, and it’s probably cooler than a modern house but certainly not fridge temperature. They could be in there a good while before the extended family get them from her too!

  44. Ok, now I’m just rabbiting on cos I’ve had a look through some other comments and links –

    – Milk is definitely refrigerated here. However, on holidays in continental Europe I’ve noticed it’s mostly UHT milk, which doesn’t need to be refrigerated, but unfortunately tastes horrendous (to me, anyway). It can be really hard to get what’s referred to as ‘fresh’ milk in some countries.

    – Although I know it’s possible I have never actually heard of anyone contracting salmonella or any other kind of food poisoning from eggs. And I work in a hospital. The only case of salmonella I ever saw was quite recently an elderly lady tested positive for it a couple of weeks after a Campylobacter infection (another of those gastroenteritis causing bugs). Turned out she had dementia which combined with poor vision meant she was eating the chicken she was cooking herself half raw. In other words, a pretty extreme case.

    My grandmother (not the above mentioned one, the other one!) makes cheesecake which contains raw egg and not only eats it herself but feeds it to my younger cousins, despite there being some kind of warning about the elderly and children eating raw egg. Again, no stomach problems. I guess there’s such a thing as being too cautious.

  45. When we lived in South Africa, the eggs in the store weren’t refrigerated either. I remember something about the protective coating being washed off here.

  46. I don’t refrigerate my eggs – but I do have farm fresh ones! Over here in Australia they are refrigerated in the shops – I have however left shop ones out for a few days & they were fine. Can’t think why your eggs would be any different. I will add that in summer I would never leave shop ones out on the bench, but our farm ones are fine – even at a week old they are “younger” than the shop bought ones anyway (not that they last that long with my family)..
    Great post – very interesting reading
    Renata:)

  47. Candace O says:

    I stopped refrigerating my eggs after moving to England- butter too! My eggs, milk, fruits, and vegetables are delivered from a farm once a week, and those eggs are always great! After a week or two, if they haven’t been used up yet, I do put them in the fridge just so they keep til we’re ready to use them. You should try leaving your butter out! There’s nothing like yummy soft butter ready to spread!

  48. I saw this post today and couldn’t help commenting!

    We are allergic to corn, and can not buy any egg from a grocery store. The eggs in sold in the store (in the US) are washed, then coated with corn oil, with permeates the membrane and gets into the egg. We only get ‘farm’ raised eggs (generally from someone who has some chickens and ends up with too many eggs!). That is possibly what some people are noticing in the taste difference between store US eggs and non-US eggs. Most other countries do not use nearly as much corn in their food as we do. As a result their food is much healthier!

  49. My mom is british and most of her siblings don’t refrigerate eggs. I’ve always kept mine in the fridge but I don’t always refrigerate my butter because that’s what I grew up with.

  50. We raise chickens for eggs, and the rule of thumb is that if they have been refrigerated already, they need refrigeration, but if they haven’t, they don’t. There is a protective coating on the egg that gets removed by the condensation that forms in the fridge. We only refrigerated the eggs in the hottest days of summer and when we have too many on the counter.

    However, eggs from the store (unless you are buying them farm fresh, from a flock with a rooster) are not fertilized. Technically, they don’t rot in the shell. They just dry out and get stale. If there is a break in the shell, or if the egg is out of the shell, it can rot, but not otherwise. Fertilized eggs, however, will definitely rot, if kept in a hot place. We’ve never had it happen with any of our eggs that were in the fridge.

  51. I live in Germany and I just bought some eggs last week off the shelf as opposed to the refrigerated section and when I got home and opened them I laughed at loud at the feathers that were inside my container. I loved it!!!

    When I inquired as to why there weren’t refrigerated- I was told they don’t come out of the chicken cold- therefore they can stay at room temperature for quite sometime with no issues. And the yolks are the brightest orange color that I have ever seen. They are beautiful!!!

  52. On baking days, I remove the eggs from the fridge in the morning and set on counter so that they come to room temperature. A dear woman told me that was the secret to her baking…she said, “Eggs, like Christians, work better when they are warm.” 🙂 She also told me to always, no exceptions, break each egg into a separate bowl and not directly into the mix…saves yourself heartache if you get a bad egg, store-bought or farm fresh; it can happen either way.

  53. I live in the UK and always buy unrefrigerated eggs and keep them in a sweet little wicker basket in my kitchen, I often times eat them well after their best before dates and have never gotten sick from them. My whole family does the same and friends who are keen bakers say unrefrigerated eggs are better for baking too.

    Don’t know if it would make any difference, I doubt it would, but the eggs that tend to be sold here in Northern Ireland are brown eggs (because some consumer poll from the 70s stated people preferred them cos they thought they were healthier – there’s no difference though).

    Hope that’s helpful, Kyerin above could be right though that it’s to do with environmental temperature, we have a really mild climate.

    Grainne

  54. I am Dutch and I never put eggs in the fridge, but I don’t use them after their past on date. My friend in France however uses eggs, even if they are a bit after the date, to bake cakes. So I think it is just where you come from and what you are used to do.

  55. If the egg is a NON-CHEMICAL egg there is absolutely no need to refrigerate an egg. For hundreds, if not thousands of years, we in the UK and just about every other country on the planet simply do not refrigerate eggs. There is MORE than enough evidence around to show that refrigeration of NON-CHEMICAL eggs is actukally bad for the consumer…this is due to oxidization that takes place within the egg placed in a closed, confined area. The BEST place for NON-CHEMICAL eggs is, quite simply, in a wicker basket on the kitchen table…where your GrandMother used to keep them…just fine! Why does the USA have this odd, rather new-fangled, idea to place eggs in the refigerator? Because the food chain in the US is almost completely run by large, chemical based companies…chemicals of one sort or another permeate over 99% of all commercially sold foodstuffs. Beef, pork, vegetables, fruits and yes, even eggs contain chemicals. From birth young chicks are fed medicated feed in huge quantities and the list goes on and on and on….Eggs, containing even trace amounts of chemicals, NEED to be refrigerated. Get it? Still not a believer?? In the past 40 years children have developed – at least physically – at an alarming rate. Why? GROWTH HORMONES permeatting the entire food chain. Diabetes was almost unheard of 40 years ago…now it is a PANDEMIC….you ARE what you EAT!

  56. I very much appreciate Chris’s comment. I have chickens, and we do NOT refrigerate the eggs. When we first started with the chickens, we were trying to keep up with 40 chickens laying 40+ eggs a day and trying to put them in a 25cf fridge (that idea didn’t last long). Now we just keep them in cartons on the counter (we don’t wash them until we have to use them). I sell the eggs to locals and am very clear about our process, they go from chicken right to carton. The buyers have to decide if they are alright with this. We, in the U.S., are so used to putting everything in the refrigerator but we have to remember, how long has everyday consumers been able to own a refrigerator? It wasn’t that long ago when the idea of ice boxes were the only option (and those were pretty small). We have been programmed to think that eggs are only good if they are cold, but this is not true. Our eggs stay on the counter for a few weeks before they are eaten.
    The issue is temperature. You cannot chill an egg and then think to storing it at room temp. The fluctuation in temp is the problem here. Farm fresh eggs are usually not chilled (from my experience), store bought eggs are washed and chilled. So you cannot take a grocery store egg and store it on the counter. Buy farm fresh eggs, they are not pumped with chemicals and hormones, they taste better, can sit out on the counter in a pretty wire basket and keep smaller farms in business.
    On a side note, for baking- room temperature eggs are the only way to go. If you plan on frying or poaching an egg, pop it in the fridge for a bit to tighten up the whites. For easier peeling of hard boiled eggs, use eggs that are at least 5-7 days old. If you plan on keeping farm fresh eggs on the counter, keep away from temp fluctuations (away from sunlight or the stove or the side of the fridge). Buy local, you’ll get the best, richest, with bright orange yolks, and best tasting eggs you’ll ever have in your life.

  57. I worked with a chef who once told me that we (Americans) chill our eggs to protect against salmonella. However the recent salmonella scare featuring refriderated eggs should tell you that chilling your eggs is not necessarily protection. Anyways, the chef told me he put his eggs out the night before he was going to use them, warm eggs produce fluffier results. For home use and if you are afraid of leaving eggs out on the counter, take your eggs out of the fridge and put them in a bowl of hot water for 15 mins, then use. Makes for amazing scrambled eggs and omelettes.

  58. Interesting post! My mum’s family is English, but my mother (I don’t know about the rest of the fam) always kept eggs in the refrigerator. Not sure of all her reasons, but one would certainly have been that she had far more room to spare in her refrigerator than on her counter. I, too, would never waste my valuable counterspace on something that keeps well in the fridge. I do have a breadbox taking up counterspace because, as one commenter noted, bread does not do well in the fridge. But when using eggs for omelets, scrambled eggs or baking, I always take them out a few hours ahead to come to room temperature; much better results than with cold eggs.

  59. I worked in a Sunflower store when I was in high school, about 1970, Greenville, MS. They only refrigerated eggs when they put them out on the aisle. When they were in the back of the store waiting to be stocked out front the cartons sat out like so many bags of flour or bags of cookies.
    They might not have done that at all groceries, but they sure did it there.

  60. Rachelle says:

    Funny i experienced the same thing in Jamaica! The store just had eggs in an aisle on a shelf!!

  61. I’m from Australia – we don’t refrigerate our eggs – although one of our giantsupermarket chains recently started to the othe sells them from the shelf – either way when they get home they stay on the bench – they last for weeks – although the refrigerated ones seem to have a bit less longevity than those sold unrefrigerated – the way to check if they’re still good if you’re worried is to pop them into water – if they lie sideways they’re very fresh and good for cracking into water for poaching etc – if they stand on their end they’re a bit older with a runnier white and good for meringes and hard boiling cos they peel better – if they leave the bottom of the bowl and float they are too old and give them to the dog – if they shoot to the top with abandon they are probably so off they are smelly so don’t crack them as its a smell you never forget!

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