The lockdowns have made many urban and suburban dwellers into hobby farmers raising backyard chooks to growing veggie and herb patches. But some might not be aware of taking extra safety precautions when their new backyard chicken has laid some eggs.
Coronavirus lockdowns saw a large portion of the population restricted to their homes. It led to a new wave in productivity for many and that started with garden improvements and the adoption of chickens.
Sadly, the rise in backyard chicken ownership also meant a rise in salmonella cases, according to the Food Safety Information Council back in July.
It’s a good reminder that while the idea of being a little more self-sustaining is great, a bit of research goes a long way.
Which brings us to today’s article — how to know if those backyard eggs are also safe to eat.
There are a few ways to quickly tell if an egg is safe to eat and this includes checking the shell is in tact and testing to see whether the egg floats in water.
Eggs with cracked shells can invite bad bacteria growth or let any lurking salmonella in. If the egg’s cracked, chuck it.
Just because it comes with no cracks, however, doesn’t mean it’s safe to use. A simple test is to get a bowl of cold water and pop the egg in. If it sinks to the bottom, it’s fine. If it half sinks but the bottom half is raised, it’s got a few more days before it’s done. Finally, if it floats, chuck it.
Ideally, you should be checking for your backyard eggs once or twice a day and then popping them in a container separated from other food and then into the fridge. This will limit the chance of cross-contamination and keep your egg from rotting. Think of it as being like milk or cheese — you wouldn’t let that sit on the bench all day.
And remember, while washing with water seems like the sensible thing to do, this can actually make the situation worse. As Victoria’s Better Health explains, washing an egg makes its shell more porous and that means bacteria can get in. That’s a big no-no.