The city girl in me never once considered the idea of egg washing - to be or not to be - taking on such a task. When William gifted me a flock of chickens for our first Valentine's Day together, I quickly learned that eggs SHOULD NOT be washed. Of course, having lived in Latin America in places without electricity, I understood that eggs needn't be refrigerated, but I didn't understand that is the case UNLESS they have been washed. Eggs in the grocery stores are not only washed, but sprayed with anti-bacterial chemicals before they are packaged. And, by the time you buy them, they're already pretty old. Ewww.
You see, eggs have what Farmer Bill calls, "Bloom." The bloom is a protective coating that works to keep bacteria out, and the eggs fresh without refrigeration for a couple of weeks. (Maybe you've been to Europe and noticed eggs are not refrigerated there...) It turns out, if you wash eggs, you wash off the bloom causing the need for refrigeration. You also run the risk of pushing bacteria into the egg by the act of rubbing when washing. The shell is actually porous.
I don't like to see our eggs full of chicken dookie. We try to keep the nesting boxes in a layer of fresh bedding, but the girls tend to scratch it out, so we occasionally have messy eggs. I try to catch that when it happens and wash them, but sometimes you may find one of our eggs looking a little shmeary. If that's the case, just wash it right before you plan to cook the egg. A little bit of farm that tags along on your eggs is actually a good thing! They have their bloom intact, and we didn't risk a bacterial invasion by washing them.
We live in such a sterilized world, but here on the farm we like to remind our customers of what the messy world is really like. It's good to take stock that the food we eat usually starts out quite dirty, and along the way, people work hard to separate or filter out the bits, wash off the gunk and wrap it all up in pretty packages. In their most flavorsome and natural form, the best foods might just be "Ugly Delicious!"
VALENTINE'S POP-UP FEBRUARY 12-13 OPEN 9-5
Hopefully you're planning to visit! Traveling the Great River Road will make for a wonderful Valentine weekend for fun. Check out my travel suggestions in last week's farm news (Living Like a Local February 12-13) for ideas.
We'll have the bonfire set up, the store chock full of goodies and the view available for your enjoyment!
Stay warm. Stay well.