THE HUMBLE EGGSHELL: Don’t throw it away!

Did you know, there is more to the life of an eggshell than being discarded in the rubbish?

After a couple months of being on the farm, eating eggs daily and with the hens popping out fresh ones constantly, it got me thinking. Surely there is more to the lifecycle in the ‘What came first, the chicken or the egg?’ scenario (psst, I’ll let you in on a secret – it was the egg. All hail the egg!). Regardless of whether it was the chicken or the egg, those eggshells can be put to work after they’re finished housing your breakfast!

This has been an interesting topic to research and I have come across some ways of re-using eggshells that seem like “Duhhhh, of course! Why didn’t I think of that before?”, and others that have figuratively blown my mind. So let me share with you some of the cool and ingenious ways you can get more out of your eggs.

  1. Feed them back to your flock

Did you know that one eggshell has around 750 mgs of calcium? Calcium is an integral part of a laying hens diet and their egg production. If they aren’t getting enough calcium they can lay soft (often referred to as a “Jelly Egg”) or no shell eggs. The shells purpose is to protect against outside bacteria getting into the egg so wouldn’t risk eating it.

Just like offering them Grit, you can also offer them crushed eggshells as a free choice mineral and they will munch on them when they are lacking calcium…somehow, they just know!

First, lay your eggshells on a baking sheet and bake in oven at 110 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes. This is important for two reasons – killing any bacteria that may be loitering in the shells and also to change the flavour so your hens don’t go pecking at their own eggs before you can get your hands on them.

Eggshells-Baked

Once cooled, transfer shells to a food processor (you could also use a zip-lock bag and rolling pin) and process until crushed.

They’re now ready to be served.

  1. Garden Fertilizer, Insect Control & Compost

If your garden is your pride and joy, give it some eggshell love. Given they’re high in calcium and other minerals your plants will love them. Prepare crushed shells as shown above and sprinkle into the hole before planting. You can also use on established and already planted gardens by sprinkling shells around the base of stems and watering in every couple of weeks. A natural, high mineral fertilizer, yes please!

Onto the edible garden – if you have any soft-bodied critters like snails or slugs, spreading crushed eggshells around your plants will deter them due to their aversion to crawling over sharp things.

Add calcium to your compost by adding eggshells to your compost pile or tumbler.

  1. Use them to start seedlings

Arrange your halved shells in an egg carton, fill with soil and plant your seeds. Place on your window sill in the sun for a glasshouse effect and watch them grow.

Not only do the look super cute, but once your seedlings are ready to be transplanted to the garden, just bury the whole lot!

Eggshell-Seedling

Photo credit: Gardener_24 via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

  1. Pot Plant & Indoor Plant Booster

Keep eggshells in a jar covered with water and use to water your indoor plants. They’ll love the mineral boost.

  1. DIY Powdered Calcium Supplement

Do you supplement your diet with Calcium tablets? Essential for bone health as well as playing an integral role in healthy muscle and nerve function, save money and make your own Calcium supplement at home.

Bake shells in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 8 minutes. Once cool, process them to a fine powder. Add ½-1 teaspoon to a glass of warm lemon water in the morning, your favourite smoothie or juice.

  1. Do your kids love chalk? Get them hands on and making their own

The best bit…you can mix your own colours.

Mix together the fine grounds of 7-8 eggshells, 1 tsp hot water, 1 tsp all-purpose flour, food colouring and pack tightly into toilet paper rolls. Let dry completely (a day or so) and then your little artists are ready to create their next masterpiece!

eggshell-chalk

  1. Add to your beauty regime

This is one I certainly hadn’t thought about before but after a lot of reading it appears there are many topical uses for eggs and your skin.

  • Mix 3 tablespoons of egg shell powder to one tablespoon of honey. Apply on blemishes and marks daily to clear.
  • For a gentle exfoliant, massage your face with eggshell powder and aloe vera gel. By massaging the solution in a circular motion, you will be improving the blood circulation and removing dead skin cells at the same time. Win, Win.
  • Make a nourishing face mask with crushed eggs shells and whisk in with an egg white. Apply to skin and allow the face mask to dry before rinsing it off. The benefits – egg whites have astringent properties that help shrink pores by tightening the skin.
  • Egg shells have great healing properties! Mix with apple cider vinegar and allow to soak for a few hours. Apply the mixture over cuts, irritations or on itchy skin to relieve.

So there you have it. Who would have thought the humble eggshell has so many uses? Do you know any other ways to recycle your eggshells? Comment below, I’d love to hear them.

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