Wash Eggs Like A Boss, Baby.
Winter time is not a clean time on the farm. Just yesterday, as I was out throwing kitchen scraps to the pigs, I nearly face planted into the muck after my rubber boots got stuck in the deep sludge. There were slurping noises. And waving arms. And perhaps a word or two that I'm not too proud of. Luckily, with my crazy ninja balancing skills, I was able to keep myself from totally falling into the poo/mud/straw soup. Though, sadly, my coveralls did not make it out unscathed.
The poo soup made it's permanent mark on my farm gear, just to remind me of how messy it is this time of year. And this year especially! More rain than documented in the last 25 years. While I'm thankful that our desert environment is getting the deep drink of water that it needs for a healthy spring and summer, it's caused some serious havoc on the farm.
Fresh bedding is put down almost every day. Only to be mushed around and swallowed by the great slurpy poo kings. The pigs and chickens are fairing the worst.
Even though our chickens have a gigantic run in which to roam, they've insisted on staying in the teeny little enclosed coop while the snow and rain permeate the soil. The ducks are the only ones brave enough to venture out into the run. Well, them and the head rooster – Sir Henry, who makes the round and inspects the run each day. 30 chickens and 3 ducks crammed into a coop all day. You can imagine the deliciousness.
Let's couple the poopy run with the fact that we're in the far North and are currently averaging daylight from about 8:00 am to 4:15 pm. Count 'em. That's only about 8 hours of daylight A DAY. Egg production? What's that? Fu-get-about-it.
We're only averaging about 3-4 eggs per day at this point – a disappointing reality for this farm family that can easily eat a dozen a day. Regardless, it's the name of the game this time of year. Poopy eggs. And very few of them.
As hard as I try to keep the nesting boxes full of fresh straw, because they're spending so much time in there, it's nearly impossible! Chickens. Poo. Wherever they want. The gangsters.
Poopy eggs are an every day occurrence now, so I've had to take to washing them. Wash eggs. Repeat. Wash eggs. Repeat. Normally I don't – they simply sit on my counter, at room temperature, until we use them. But when, literally, they're smeared with poop, I've got to make an exception to my routine. However, did you know that how you wash eggs matters? Some methods drive bacteria INTO the egg! We don't want that. I'd love poo free eggs, please. Poo bacteria included.
How To Wash Eggs
– Acquire poopy eggs. This shouldn't be that hard this time of year… especially if you're anywhere near the Pacific Northwest. Here's a photograph of my poopy eggs:
– Get you a sponge, super fine grain sand paper, or other scrubber. Scrub the poo from the eggs. This method leaves the bloom (the exterior coating that prevents oxygen and bacteria from entering the egg) intact, which means that the egg can still be kept at room temperature. Did you forget what a sponge looks like? Here you go:
However, some eggs are too poopy for the dry method, which works best for smaller, drier, chunks of poo. Enter the warm water method.
WARM WATER METHOD
– Acquire poopy eggs. Did you forget what they look like? Here you go:
– Fill a bowl with warm water. Cold water will cause the bacteria on the surface to be driven into the egg. Don't use cold water. Just don't. DON'T I SAID. Place the dirty eggs into the warm water, if only for a few seconds, the utilize your sponge or a wash rag to gently scrub the poo from the shell. This is pretty easy, unless a hen has broken an egg over the other eggs. Dried egg is like cement. But poo is pretty easy.
See what sort of valuable information I bring to your life?
– After washing the egg, place it on a towel, give it a little rub dry, and place it in a bowl or a carton. Washed eggs have lost the bloom and must be stored in the refrigerator. I always use them before using unwashed eggs because the shelf-life decreases significantly once, ya know, they're washed and stuff.
Pretty easy, huh? But certainly a nice method to know so you don't end up with poo or feathers in your omelette. Cough. Not that that's every happened to me. Cough.
From my farm to yours – I hope your days are full of fresh straw bedding, clear water troughs, and unstained coveralls!
And clean eggs.