Do eggs need to be refrigerated? It’s a question we get all the time. On the heels of last week’s post regarding Eggzy’s new ‘Last updated‘ feature, it seems like a relevant topic to revisit.
Yes, eggs are best when kept refrigerated – at or below 45°F is the standard and safe recommendation.
That said, we’ve all seen images of eggs sitting out on a counter, be it at a farmers market, the local diner or in a catalog or a magazine of a beautifully rustic kitchen setting. Additionally, I have made recipes that call for eggs to be at room temperature, which is typically much warmer than 45°F. It would seem only reasonable to assume that those eggs need to be out of the refrigerator to achieve the recommended room temperature right – so what is the threshold for safekeeping?
According to www.eggsafety.org, after eggs are refrigerated, it is important that they stay that way. “A cold egg left out at room temperature can sweat, facilitating the growth of bacteria. Refrigerated eggs should not be left out more than two hours.” But the Egg Safety Council is an industry organization sponsored by large-scale egg producers in large-scale facilities.
Perhaps that’s the key; perhaps fresh eggs, which have never been refrigerated, are less vulnerable than their already refrigerated, store bought counter parts. Let’s face it, long before there were refrigerators, people have been gathering eggs, storing, cooking and eating them. I’ve scoured the web with this question and have read similar commentary time and time again; farm fresh eggs (that have not been washed) seem to keep at room temperature for longer periods of time, without issue.
Maybe we need to rely on some best practices and good judgment here:
- Do not keep eggs out for a prolonged period of time. If you know you aren’t going to use all dozen eggs, why not store them in the refrigerator, just for safekeeping?
- Do not wash eggs under water due to the porous nature of the shells; eggshells actually have a protective coating that works to keep bacteria from seeping into the egg.
- Cook eggs thoroughly to an internal temperature of 160°F (killing any Salmonella bacteria)
- Don’t eat eggs from strangers! Know your flock owner and how they raise their birds; healthy birds eating healthy feed will typically lay healthy eggs.