Is it necessary to keep eggs refrigerated?

Eggs are present in nearly every typical household, but how do you keep them, and do eggs need to be refrigerated? It’s normal for people to keep everything from their butter to their fruits and veggies in the fridge, but do eggs really need to be kept there before you consume them?

Just because we all have our own preferences for how we keep things doesn’t mean we’re all right, or that our way is the best way. This article will clarify whether or not eggs really do need to be refrigerated before use, and why, as well as why looking for pasteurised eggs is something that is well worth doing.

Is it necessary to keep eggs in the refrigerator?

The short answer to the main question is that eggs do not ‘require’ to be refrigerated, but they can be if you like; the choice is yours. What we hope to explore here is why some people choose to refrigerate them while others do not.

When eggs are laid, they have a protective layer that prevents bacteria from entering and, if not wiped off, they do not need to be refrigerated. In fact, they can be kept on the counter for several days at home.

Commercially supplied eggs, on the other hand, are washed before being packed and delivered to supermarkets, which eliminates the protective coating and implies they will spoil if not consumed within a shorter time limit. They should be refrigerated after this point to keep them fresher for longer.

Obviously, providers like a clean and sanitary product; after all, you wouldn’t want to open your carton of eggs to discover them covered in gunk or feathers, would you?

In fact, the wash that retail eggs normally go through not only removes the initial protective covering, but it also thins the shell and makes the egg more susceptible to being invaded by hazardous bacteria. With the clock already ticking on how long the egg will keep, the fact that it takes a few of days to travel from the bird to the store doesn’t help.

This is unless the eggs have been pasteurised, which is becoming more common, even if it comes at a cost to the consumer. Please review the following section of the article to learn more about pasteurised eggs.

Where should eggs be stored?

For the most part, eggs will end up in your kitchen a few hours after you bought them at the store or not long after they were delivered to your house (oh the wonders of online supermarket shopping). Others may have their own chickens in the yard, which offer a daily tally of eggs, which are collected and brought to the kitchen to be preserved. But where do you keep your eggs? In the cabinet, in the refrigerator, or can you just leave them in the box on the side?

It goes without saying that how you store your eggs will have an impact on how long they will last before turning bad. Eggs are not like a package of potato chips with a use by date six months away. The shelf life of eggs is only a few weeks, therefore making the most of this limited time frame is critical.

It is usually better to be safe than sorry, and if you leave eggs from the shop outside of the fridge for several days at home, they will expire faster.

Why should eggs be kept in the refrigerator?

Eggs can sometimes be better for a purpose if they are chilled, which is why many people keep them in the refrigerator. For example, if you want to prepare poached eggs or fried eggs, you should use cold eggs. The reason for this is that the eggs remain compact and the yolks are less likely to separate than if they were kept in a box at ambient temperature.

However, as previously stated, most people reading this will be wondering what to do with the eggs they purchased from the supermarket, and the most logical thing to do is keep them in the fridge until you use them.

Many refrigerators have an egg compartment on the top inside of the door, which is hardly a coincidence, is it? Because it is the coolest portion of the refrigerator, this is a suitable place for the eggs. The lower parts at the back are the coldest, and eggs can sometimes freeze if kept there.

Although it is recommended to keep eggs in the refrigerator, you are not required to do so, as you are with milk or butter.

How long should eggs be kept refrigerated?

When you buy eggs, there is a use by date on the box that indicates when the eggs are likely to spoil, taking into account the date they were laid and processed by the provider. This is normally between 3 and 5 weeks from the date they were laid; but, on the box, it will only show as an expiry date or a best before date.

One thing to remember when using something like eggs is that the sooner you utilise them, the safer they will be to eat. If there is any possibility of hazardous bacteria piercing the shell, the risk increases the longer the eggs are kept, especially if they are not refrigerated.

Leaving an egg in the fridge past its expiry date, on the other hand, is unlikely to make you sick. The eggs will undoubtedly have ruined, but this will be due to them drying up and becoming vulnerable to spoilage bacteria, which are considerably less toxic than the germs that cause salmonella.

What does it mean when eggs are pasteurised?

So, what exactly are pasteurised eggs, and why do they render the majority of the information in this page obsolete?

When something is pasteurised, it has been heated to kill any potentially hazardous bacteria. Pasteurization of eggs reduces the danger of microorganisms piercing the shell and contaminating the egg. These types of eggs are growing increasingly popular in recent years, and are considered as a better option for individuals who buy eggs in stores. However, individuals must pay a higher price for pasteurised eggs than for non-pasteurized eggs.

This means that you don’t have to keep these eggs in the fridge to keep them safe, but they may be left in the carton in the kitchen because they’ve been treated.

Pasteurized eggs are labelled as such on the carton, so double-check before purchasing.

Of course, many individuals prefer to be more safer by purchasing these eggs and storing them in the refrigerator!

Some people believe that pasteurising eggs reduces their nutritional value since the heat reduces the content of certain vitamins, although this is not always the case.

Summary

So, the initial question was ‘do eggs need to be refrigerated?’ and I hope that the information presented here has been able to offer you with a detailed answer.

Eggs, like any other fresh food, can expire; they merely have a protective shell that allows them to last a little longer than bread and milk. Keeping them cold in the fridge is an excellent approach to help protect them from potentially hazardous bacteria, but you can lower the risk even more by purchasing pasteurised eggs or generating your own from chickens at home and not removing the protective layer that coats the egg once produced.

When using eggs, always check the expiry date, and when buying them from the shop or supermarket, one idea is to check the expiry date on a few cartons before committing to buying one. This is because the chances of receiving a few extra days are high, especially if you look at the cartons in the back of where they are stored! Of course, the supermarket wants the ones with the closest dates at the front to sell first, but it doesn’t mean you have to buy them.

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