Duck, you sucker!
December 3, 2018 2:42 AM   Subscribe

Someone gave us fresh duck eggs. What do we need to know about washing and storing them, as far as food safety goes?

We visited a small farm and spent a while chatting with the farmer. Before we left, he gave us a dozen duck eggs (which was super nice of him!). They were laid about two or three days ago.

The farmer warned us that they're unwashed, and there's clearly some duck shit on them. How should we wash them off before cooking with them? He recommended rinsing them in warm water, but I just want to be sure I heard him right, or that there's not another step I don't know about.

They were also unrefrigerated when we got them, and I forgot to put them away when we got home. I stuck them in the fridge just now, but I know fresh eggs keep unrefrigerated for a few days at least, so they should be fine, right? Does the water test (for freshness) work with duck eggs? How long should I expect them to keep?

I'm dying to try a fried duck egg for my breakfast.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk to Food & Drink (8 answers total)
Best answer: The eggs will be fine. I would have no qualms about leaving them on the counter overnight, but the fridge is ok too. Rinse them off under warm or cold water, you just want them clean enough so you won’t get gross muck in the egg when you crack it open.

Enjoy! Duck eggs are delicious!
posted by third word on a random page at 3:19 AM on December 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Unwashed eggs keep unrefrigerated for some time. There's a membrane that dries and protects them. This membrane washes off. In other coutries where eggs are sold unwashed (EU), eggs are sold and kept at room temperature.

You don't need to wash them before cooking, but it won't hurt. I wouldn't bother unless they are exceptionally filthy.

Here's a hint about egg cracking: most people crack eggs against an edge, which can cause the eggshell to mix into the inside of the egg. Eggs crack better if you tap them against a flat surface, as the shell stays together and peels off. Try it and you will see that the duck poop won't mix into the egg.
posted by cotterpin at 3:33 AM on December 3, 2018 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Egg shells are semi-permeable, so if you do wash them, do it right before you eat them so that you don't end up forcing particles of stuff you don't want in the actual eggs you eat (like duck shit) through the shell to hang around inside until they're ready to be eaten.
posted by terretu at 4:10 AM on December 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Fresh unwashed eggs will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator and for at least two - three weeks unrefrigerated. Don't wash them before storing them, it allows bacteria to enter. Brush off the dirt just before you crack them, if you are worried. I would avoid washing them even just before cracking for the reasons already outlined above.
posted by richb at 4:14 AM on December 3, 2018

Best answer: If the eggs are unwashed they'll keep weeks on the counter, even longer in the fridge so no worries there. I'd leave them unwashed until you're ready to use them if they're in some sort of egg carton. I usually just wipe them with a damp cloth before using. Microfibre works great & no worries about stuff washing through the shell. Duck eggs have a very distinct flavor, I find people either love them or hate them. They are great in cakes as they are so rich if it turns out they're not to your liking,
posted by wwax at 7:33 AM on December 3, 2018

Best answer: My mother often has duck eggs, and one thing I did noticed cooking with them is the white is much firmer/less slimey than the chicken egg white.
I personally did not like the consistency much as a fried egg, but for baking it was fine for me. If you beat the egg white it also is much firmer.
My mother stores them unwashed (for same reasons as outlined above), and only washes them right before use. She stores them in a cool room.
posted by 15L06 at 7:43 AM on December 3, 2018

Best answer: What everyone else said, plus the local farm uses emery boards to scrape off the visible crap.
posted by holgate at 8:40 AM on December 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, this is all exactly what I needed to know! I'll be careful cleaning them off.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 12:25 AM on December 4, 2018

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