Chickens are absolutely incredible, and their ability to create and lay eggs is almost mind-blowing. Seriously, until we started raising backyard chickens, I didn’t put much thought into where our eggs came from. I would simply grab a couple dozen at the store and that was that.
My egg rainbow didn’t extend outside of the classic white and brown egg until I started raising our flock. Now, I choose my new flock members because of their egg colors! There’s something so fulfilling about a full and colorful egg basket. And the breeds of chickens we’ve been introduced to because of this have been such a fun adventure!
All of these beautiful, washed eggs will go in cartons and into the fridge because the bloom was compromised by washing.
The Science Behind Egg Colors
Did you know that all eggshells start out white? The breed and genetics of each chicken will determine their egg color. And they’ll lay the same egg color their entire life. Their bodies undergo a process where they “dye” their egg before it comes out. And before the egg comes out, the hen’s body places a thin protective layer called a “bloom.” Some hens lay a heavier bloom, and some are a bit lighter.
What is the Bloom on an Egg
The bloom on an egg is the protective layer that seals the eggshell to prevent unwanted bacteria (Salmonella) from entering the egg. This is important for humans and a developing chick! Unwanted bacteria can be a serious problem for a baby chick. And we know what happens if we get Salmonella poisoning. Yikes! The bloom also acts as a lubricant to help the egg rotate in the chicken’s uterus to come out rounded end first. Isn’t that incredible?
According to Dr. Bridget McCrea from The Chicken Whisperer Magazine, “An egg bloom is only between ten and thirty micrometers thick. It consists of glycoproteins, lipids, polysaccharides and inorganic phosphorus. There are two layers of an egg bloom. The first layer is closest to the shell’s palisade layer and it is foamy. The second layer is the outermost layer and it’s more compact.”
How a Compromised Bloom Affects Your Egg
The bloom also helps keep your eggs from going bad. I remember one time I went to crack an egg to fry, and it basically exploded. The smell was absolutely horrid! Somewhere along the line, the bloom was compromised, and the egg went bad.
How does a bloom get compromised? If an egg bloom gets wet or even rubbed too hard, the seal is broken. But, in this case, no worries! Any washed eggs simply need to go into the refrigerator. If your eggs are unwashed, they can sit on your counter and be just fine!
How Long Do Unwashed Eggs Last?
If you’re lucky enough to have a steady supply of fresh chicken eggs from your backyard flock, you may wonder how long they’ll last. As long as the bloom is still intact, unwashed eggs can be stored at room temperature for up to a month! That’s right – no need for refrigeration. However, as soon as you wash or clean the eggs, the bloom is compromised and they need to go into the fridge.
These dozen eggs below are unwashed and just fine to sit on the counter!
How to Properly Store Eggs
Proper handling and storing of eggs is very important. If you wash or rub a dirt spot off, you must refrigerate your eggs. However, as you can see, I prefer to leave our eggs on the counter if possible. I store eggs pointy end down so the air bubble in the sac will remain at the top and not move down towards the yolk. This will keep your yolk more centered (yay for boiled eggs!) because it won’t have the pressure of a moving air sac.
Now that you're an expert on egg blooms and proper storage, you can spread the love by sharing your fresh eggs with neighbors and friends! Just keep in mind that each state has its own rules on selling eggs, so be sure to do your research on washing and storing procedures before you start selling. Let's keep those delicious eggs safe and legal.
Until next time,
–The Wing Lady