Should one refrigerate eggs?

Should one refrigerate eggs is a question many may be considering; a Salmonella infection is not fun. Like most controversial subjects it depends on a number of factors.

The first to consider is whether these are your own free-range birds or have they come from the supermarket? It makes a world of difference to both the quality of the egg and how safe it is to consume.

There is a general terror of viruses, bacteria and yeast cells. Yes there are pathogens but we are surrounded by a great host of friendly bugs that are extremely beneficial to our bodies; keep them happy and they multiply and usually overwhelm the baddies when they come knocking on the door.

Known as the microbiome they are the first line of defence against invading pathogens.

Eggs 19 hidden nesting place

Free-range birds will sometimes make their own hidden nests. Fed up with us for stealing their eggs, when they want to raise a family, they may take to the bushes. Although these may be older they are generally far cleaner.

Commercial eggs

Commercial eggs have usually been washed in a sanatising solution and even pasteurised to minimise the risk of a salmonella infection. However it removes the natural coating making them more porous and susceptible to the pathogens if not refrigerated.

Generally those who keep their own hens will eat the eggs almost immediately; those from the grocery story may lie around in the refrigerator or on the counter for weeks. This gives the bugs time to multiply.

Much of the research has been done on eggs that are a few weeks old; no question of it, those that are kept in the fridge are safer. But how many homesteaders store them for such a long period?

Salmonella

Salmonella is a pathogen that is shed in the faeces of both humans and your own hens; exposure to infected water, salads[1] and dirty eggs raises the risk of the illness.

Severe diarrhoea, a high temperature and painful abdominal cramps are the common symptoms; those with a diverse microbiome may have a few or none of them.

A fresh egg

austrolock hen

Without question chickens in the garden are hard work; not many will make the effort to have a fresh egg for one's baking or breakfast.

For those who do giving them a quick wipe and immediately use in one's cooking means that the question, should one refrigerate eggs hardly ever arises. Homesteading has many advantages, perhaps none greater than the access to good food. Whether it is a freshly picked lettuce or an egg straight from the henhouse we think it worth the effort.

Those who only have access to what is being called industrial food know only too well they spend even more time consulting doctors and pharmacists. At our green home we choose rather to put our energy into growing fresh produce; should one refrigerate eggs never comes into consideration.

Should one refrigerate eggs?

Should one refrigerate eggs? It depends on a host of factors. If you want nice round yolks and thick viscous whites then it really has to be fresh; no better place than straight from your own hens.

Microbiome

If you're anxious about a salmonella infection, and we all should consider it, there is no better protection than making sure you have the full complement of bugs in your alimentary canal; they will be very diverse, over a thousand different species, and weigh an incredible two kilogrammes.

It is indeed amazing what is going on below the radar in the happy tum. Alas not many of us have this protection. Whether it's the antibiotics we are constantly exposed to, both from the pharmacist and in our food, or all the chemicals, most of us have a depleted gutful of bugs.

The solution is not yet more pills which supply only a very mediocre range but fermenting your own probiotics; as many as possible for greater diversity. How to make kefir is something for all of us; it's incredibly simple.

Making an unpasteurised homebrew is rather more complex; that might be a honey beer or something more exotic like this spicy peppadew mead. Yeasts form an important part of the microbiome; supply the friendly ones and you will not suffer from a Candida overgrowth.

Those enjoying probiotics such as these become far less fearful of bugs; petty questions like should one refrigerate eggs will not get us worried and upset.

A glass of spicy peppadew mead.

I personally have once in the ten years of keeping hens had what I think could have been a salmonella infection; it was unpleasant for a few nights but nothing more. Now I just wash my hands rather more thoroughly, and the eggs too. We eat them within a day or two so there's no question of whether we should refrigerate them or not.

This mead incidentally has been racked twice and is still bubbling very slightly. After the third it will be perfectly clear; one really should wait a year or more in any case. It is a living probiotic. It is the ultimate natural wine, the taste to die for.

Omega 3

Free range eggs have three times the omega-3 by the way; it's a vitally important fatty acid that helps prevent inflammation amongst many other things. The hens get it from plants such as purslane that grow prolifically in most gardens.

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  • Mill your own flour
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  • Microplastics from our water
  • Alternative types of water storage
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