If you want to source your food more locally and sustainably, farm-fresh eggs are a great way to start. This staple ingredient opens the door from your kitchen to the farm, but what makes local eggs so special? Let’s find out how to find, buy, and use eggs sourced locally with this eggselent guide!
What makes farm fresh eggs so special?
When it comes to good food, freshness is key, and this is precisely why local eggs are a great choice. By cutting out the middle man, as in distributors and retailers, not to mention the hours they spent on the road being transported, eggs sourced directly from the farm are typically fresher.
Most egg sellers will offer eggs laid in the last 48 hours while supermarket eggs can be as old as 3-5 weeks from when they’re laid.
What are farm fresh eggs?
Farm fresh eggs come from small local farms and homesteads that raise hens. Typically the hens are allowed to roam free in fresh pasture and lay eggs at their leisure. This more holistic approach makes for a happier and healthier bird, which translates to great eggs!
Farm fresh eggs vs. store-bought
The biggest difference between farm-fresh and store-bought eggs is not the egg at all but rather the chicken. Store-bought eggs tend to be laid by hens living in cramped conditions without much freedom to roam. The hens may also be fed an enriched diet to promote increased egg production.
Some store-bought eggs may claim to be from free-range chickens and these are better than your standard factory-farmed eggs, but realistically those chickens often do not get as much freedom as chicken on small local farms.
Additionally, it’s about ethics and community. When you purchase eggs fresh from local farms you’re supporting your hometown and making a choice about how you believe poultry should be raised.
How to buy farm fresh eggs?
One happy egg-laying hen can lay up to 250 eggs a year, so depending on where you live local eggs might be all around you. In towns and rural areas where chicken ownership is allowed many households may sell or even give away their extra eggs, so finding fresh eggs can be as easy as chatting with your neighbors.
Seek out fresh local eggs at your community’s farmers market, look for roadside egg stands, or reach out to any local farms you know of.
How to use eggs safely?
Float test: Check the freshness of the eggs by performing the float test by placing an egg in a bowl of water. If it sinks and lies flat, it’s fresh. If it tilts or floats, it’s best to use it soon.
Remove dirt: If the eggs are clean, use them straight away. However, if they have dirt or debris, gently wipe them with a dry cloth just before you use them.
Clean hands: Additionally, ensure your hands are clean before and after handling eggs to prevent any potential cross-contamination.
Yes! Pasture-raised eggs are safe to eat just like store-bought eggs. However, as with any type of egg, it’s important to handle and cook them properly to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses.
It’s generally recommended not to wash eggs unless you’re about to use them. Eggs have a natural protective coating called the “bloom” or “cuticle” on their shells. This coating helps seal the pores of the eggshell, preventing bacteria from entering and reducing moisture loss, which helps keep the eggs fresher for longer.
Fresh eggs can last for several weeks when stored properly. When stored in the refrigerator, unwashed eggs can remain fresh for around 3 to 5 weeks.