When it comes to the shelf life of fresh eggs, the question of how to store eggs comes up.
There is something of a requirement to wash eggs so if you leave eggs out overnight, in your car overnight, and decidedly out of your fridge then you may ask are the eggs safe?
That is largely down to the wash the eggs have received and whether the chickens have been vaccinated to prevent salmonella.
In this guide, we will look at how you should store fresh eggs, how to store cooked eggs, and whether you should refrigerate eggs.
How You Should Store Fresh Eggs?
To store fresh eggs in the US typically means extending their shelf life by keeping them refrigerated.
Certainly, the USDA has advised that bought eggs left out overnight should be put in the trash.
That means any eggs left out overnight, or even on the counter overnight at room temperature, are no longer considered fresh.
When storing eggs, remember that they should not be left out of your fridge for longer than a couple of hours.
Eggs that are kept in a car overnight are even worse. While kitchen appliances like the refrigerator are regulated, the temperature can fluctuate excessively in your car from dawn to dusk.
Due to this risk, eggs that are left out overnight in your car are not deemed safe for you to eat.
Even if the drive home has lasted over a couple of hours, the eggs are no longer fresh and there is a greater risk of bacteria so should be thrown out.
When you do leave your eggs in the fridge, they should be in an egg carton with a lid.
Ensure that each egg is individually separate as no egg should be touching another as the air should circulate around them.
How To Store Cooked Eggs?
Cooked eggs may be a little different but the advice still remains largely the same.
While you may think that your scrambled eggs, fried egg, egg casseroles, or hard boiled eggs should be considered delicious, they have still been out of your fridge for some time.
Even cooked eggs are prone to bacteria which is why they are kept refrigerated overnight.
If you have left your cooked eggs out of your fridge for a few hours then they should be safe for you to eat.
How you eat eggs should also be considered. Scrambled eggs, fried eggs, egg casseroles, and even hard boiled eggs all have a shelf life.
If you do leave your eggs out, even cooked eggs, there is a danger that bacteria can form.
However, the harmful bacteria should be reduced if these items are cooked properly as raw food is more susceptible to bacteria.
The guidance should remain the same, if you cook eggs or leave your eggs out overnight then there is a danger but that is increased with raw eggs left out.
Should You Refrigerate Eggs?
Should you leave a carton of eggs out overnight, you may wonder whether they should be left in their egg carton.
That largely depends on the country you live in. For instance, in the US eggs are refrigerated so if they are left out overnight at room temp they are at greater risk of bacterial growth.
You would be advised to toss them rather than place the eggs in the fridge.
There is a subtle difference if the eggs are sold and then stored at room temp then they should be safe for you to eat.
That variation is due to whether the eggs were washed and considered safe enough to be left out of your fridge.
The washing process is part of a set of regulations that are there to prevent salmonella and any future contamination.
Different countries have their own approach to how eggs should be washed.
The US way is to remove an outer layer which means that the eggs should remain safe for you to eat if they are kept refrigerated.
If they are left on the kitchen counter and left unrefrigerated then those eggs are open to bacteria growth without that protective layer.
However, European family members know that their eggs are not cleaned so with that protective layer, those eggs are safe for you to eat even at room temp and are perfectly fine.
Countries like the UK have introduced a salmonella vaccine, thus cutting down that risk of bacteria from salmonella contaminated droppings nearby.
Food poisoning can occur in the US with even the freshest eggs.
The washing process should remove that protective later yet the pores of the egg may absorb some dirty water which includes animal products and bacteria.
Without that salmonella vaccine, there is the chance that eggs carry salmonella and refrigerated eggs could bring in bacteria were they left out overnight for condensation to form.
How eggs are refrigerated is also important as they should be kept in an airtight container for around three to four days.
You cannot leave your eggs out overnight and even cooked eggs left out overnight can be considered dangerous to eat.
Unrefrigerated eggs are a danger due to the wash the eggs are given as they stay fresh for a much shorter time.
Eggs For Commercial Consumption
Eggs that are for commercial consumption should be refrigerated if they are produced in North America, Australia, Japan, the Netherlands, or Japan.
These eggs will have been washed and that wash means that the outer layer has gone.
You could also check if the eggs are from vaccinated hens to prevent the spread of salmonella or consider purchasing pasteurized eggs.
Eggs are a delicious food item yet can be dangerous due to the chickens. If the chickens are vaccinated as they are in Europe then this problem is reduced.
The eggs are not given a wash and can be prone to bacteria if they are, in fact, refrigerated.
In the US too, eggs from vaccinated chickens should be kept out as the refrigerator can leave them unsafe for you to eat for food.
Due to that lack of a wash, eggs from American chickens are typically chilled in the fridge and should remain so in your home as most chickens are not vaccinated as they are in Europe.
Cook them for food as soon as you can yet leave them in the fridge to keep them safe as left eggs, certainly left out overnight, can cause salmonella.
Knowing how to store eggs is important if you want to cook them for food.
Do not leave them in a car overnight as even the freshest eggs suffer at room temp, let alone at a temperature that can fluctuate excessively.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Eggs Vegan Or Vegetarian?
An egg is not considered vegan as they are animal products. As these eggs could be fertilized to become an animal, they cannot be considered part of a vegan diet.
There is also the question, are eggs vegetarian and they are. Eggs that are specifically sold for commercial consumption are not fertilized so are not destined to become animals.
Why Is Salmonella Considered So Dangerous?
Salmonella can cause abdominal cramps, fever, and diarrhea. The bacteria comes from a chicken’s reproductive tract inside eggs or comes from the shell due to salmonella contaminated droppings.
Knowing how to store eggs is important as a solitary egg can be used to cook a food item and even though the meal can be considered delicious, you are at an increased risk of becoming ill as eggs have a very limited shelf life.
No matter if it is a fried egg, egg casserole, a hard boiled egg, or scrambled eggs, knowing how to store eggs is crucial as any egg can cause abdominal cramps from salmonella if it is left out overnight.