To refrigerate or not refrigerate, that is the question.

Did you ever wonder why Europeans and other cultures don’t refrigerate their eggs?

Long story short, if you wash your eggs after you collect them, they must be refrigerated. If you don’t wash the eggs, they can be kept at room temperature.

An egg shell is naturally porous to allow an exchange of gases during incubation. When a hen lays an egg, her body secretes a protective coating that prevents bacteria from entering through the pores of the shell and water and oxygen from leaving the egg. This coating is called the cuticle, or bloom. When you wash an egg, you remove the protective coating, you are opening the egg up to bacterial contamination, which can be prevented by refrigeration. Once you wash and refrigerate the egg, however, it must stay refrigerated to prevent contamination. In addition to protecting eggs from bacteria, refrigeration also prolongs shelf life.

If you want to keep your eggs at room temperature, collect them and simply brush off dried fecal matter or gently sand any that is stuck to the shell. If you choose to display them at room temperature in an pretty basket or spiral egg holder, such as this one. When you are ready to use an egg, wash it an proceed with cooking.

If you’re interested in reading more about this topic, check out this article or this one.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Taylor O'Brien on February 27, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    Hello and thanks for this article. Can you please more clearly define what you mean by “gently sand any (fecal material) that is stuck to the shell”? To mean, sanding means to take sand paper and rub to smooth the surface. By sanding, do you mean using sand paper to remove stuck on feces? Wouldn’t sanding also remove the bloom? Thanks for any clarification you can provide.


    • You would just lightly sand the area where the fecal matter is stuck, only in such a way as to remove the adhered material. Yes, that will remove the bloom in that particular area. If you have an egg that has a lot of fecal matter stuck to it, you may want to discard it.


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