Eggs are part of a healthy well-balanced diet and are incredibly nutritious. They provide protein and a host of important vitamins and minerals, including iron, vitamin B-12, choline, lutein, phosphorus, riboflavin, and selenium.  Eggs are also incredibly cheap and easy to prepare.

However, they are perishable, just like raw meat, poultry, and fish (seafood). To be safe they must be properly stored, handled, and cooked. To ensure egg quality you must learn to properly handle and clean the eggs.

Whether collecting or cooking eggs, make sure you wash your hands, utensils, and equipment. It helps to clean and disinfect every six months and clean the outside run area to prevent infestation. Keep nesting boxes and bedding dry. Regularly clean and replace bedding in nesting boxes to decrease contaminants on eggs.

Collect the eggs right after they are laid, which is usually in the morning by 10 A.M. By collecting them right away you decrease their chance of getting dirty, pecked, or broken.  So collect eggs early and often.

An adequate amount of clean bedding in all the nesting boxes helps decrease worry about washing and sanitizing time.

If the eggs get soiled, you should wash them in warm water 90 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This prevents the insides of the eggs from getting cold and shrinking, thus creating a vacuum that could suck bacteria into the micropores on the eggshell.

Never leave eggs sitting in hot water for an extended time. Wash, cool and dry them quickly, using a non-foaming, non-scented detergent in order to not leave flavors or aromas on the eggs.

Sanitizing can be done easily with a tablespoon of bleach in a gallon of hot water. Dip them quickly, rinse, and then air dry.

A chicken naturally lays down a coating of protein-like mucus on the exterior of the eggshell, known as the bloom or the cuticle. This is the egg’s natural protective cover. If you can keep your eggs clean without having to scrub them, they should stay safe and edible naturally.

Do eggs need to be refrigerated? Yes, if they are store bought and previously refrigerated. Then you should always keep them refrigerated until ready for consumption. Store them with the fat end up in a refrigerator set at 35- 40 degrees Fahrenheit for maximum shelf life.  Avoid storing eggs with other foods having odors, such as onions, garlic, and fish.

Serve the eggs immediately. Don’t keep them out of the refrigerator for more than two hours, and never eat them raw.

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