Most folks crack open an egg and toss the shell into the trash. Those who embrace green living will probably add them to their compost bins. However, it turns out that there are many more uses for egg shells.
These uses fall roughly into four categories: food, health, gardening and crafts.
Let’s look at some of the food uses first.:
- Boil the shells in your coffee. This is an old camping trick that has made its way into the kitchen. The egg shells help clarify the grounds and are said to reduce the bitterness of the coffee.
- Use to add mineral content to your water kefir. The grains require a certain amount of minerals to work their magic and most filtered water does not contain enough of these minerals. Add 1/4 of a clean egg shell (membrane removed) to the container of grains and sugar water.
- Add to broth and stocks. The shells provide an extra boost of calcium and minerals.
- Feed them to your chickens. Many hens prefer the calcium from crushed egg shells over standard oyster shell supplements. It is very important to only use pastured, organic shells.
Now let’s move on to egg shells for health:
- Use the clear membrane of the shell as a natural bandage. It is believed that this will assist in healing cuts and scratches. The membrane has also been reported to ‘draw’ minor infections, splinters, pimples and boils.
- Make your own calcium capsules. First, steam the shells to sanitize and let them dry. Grind them using anything that will create a fine powder. Spoon the powder into size 00 gelatin capsules and you are done.
- The previous directions can be followed, up to the capsule filling, and, instead, sprinkle a couple teaspoons of the powder on dog food to help stem diarrhea.
- Make your own mineral supplement by soaking clean shells in lemon water in the fridge for a few weeks. Then add to smoothies, shakes and juices for a mineral boost.
Egg shells also have many gardening uses:
- Start seedlings using clean egg shell halves and, because they are not only biodegradable but also provide needed minerals, can be planted directly into your garden.
- Sprinkle them around your garden after they have been broken up into pieces. Snails, slugs and similar critters that you would like to deter don’t like crawling over sharp edges.
- Place egg shells in the holes where you are planting your tomatoes to help reduce blossom-end rot.
- Used coffee grounds and crushed egg shells can be added to potting soil in a 1:4 ratio for an added boost.
- Toss them in your compost bin or pile. The calcium is a wonderful addition to the soil that eventually develops.
- Soak clean shells in water and use the liquid for watering your plants.
Finally, egg shells can be used for crafting in the following ways:
- To make sidewalk chalk…finely grind half a dozen egg shells, add 1 tsp. hot water, 1 tsp. flour and optional food coloring. Mix together and pack into toilet paper rolls. Let dry, remove wrapping and voila!
- Use to make mosaics and other art projects.
Two important things to remember when using egg shells. Organic, pastured eggs are STRONGLY recommended when using the shells for human and animal consumption. They do not contain potentially harmful pathogens and other chemical residues. Also, unless specifically using the membrane, remove that inner layer before use as it can spoil and result in rancid smells and tastes.
Who knew egg shells had so many different uses? Most egg-cellent!