Most households have an accumulation of empty eggshells from cooking or baking. In 2012 alone, the USDA’s Economic Research Service reported that Americans consumed 19 pounds of eggs or an equivalent of 144 eggs per person. That’s a lot of eggs, and consequently, a lot of eggshells.
Eggshells are more than refuse in your compost heap or garbage bins. Most of an eggshell is calcium, or to be precise, calcium carbonate, the same compound which corals, seashells and limestone’s are made of. Here’s a list of what you can do to reuse eggshells and make better use of its calcium and brittle shells.
Add crushed or ground eggshells to your garden soil to boost its calcium and mineral content. Calcium helps plants to build its cell walls. Without it, plants won’t grow as fast. Eggshells take a while to break down enough for the calcium to become available to your plants. You can help this process along by grinding your eggshells. The finer you grind your eggshells, the more readily available the calcium will be to your plants.
2. Garden pest deterrent
Slugs, snails and cutworms are common garden pests that can wreak havoc in your garden. Protect your plants by scattering crushed eggshells around the stem and in other areas where you’re having problems with these crawling critters. Crushed eggshells make several cuts on these slippery critters soft body when they cross them, which then cause dehydration and death.
3. Abrasive cleaner
Ground eggshells make for an effective, non-toxic abrasive cleaner for your plates, pots and pans. Simply mix together 3 parts baking soda with 1 part coarsely powdered eggshells and use this for cleaning and scrubbing those stains away.
4. Calcium supplement
Add ground eggshells to your favorite smoothie and skip your calcium pill supplement altogether. Eggshells are made up of 95% calcium carbonate, 40% of which is easily absorbed by the body. The remaining 5% is made up of other microelements, such as magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, boron, sulfur, molybdenum, silicon and zinc. Just make sure you wash the shells thoroughly before you use them to rid of bacteria. Bake the shells at 150°F on a baking sheet for 10 minutes. Allow them to cool and then grind them to a fine powder.
5. Calcium supplement for pets
What’s good for you can be good for your pets, too. Using ground eggshells is an easy and effective way to supplement your pets’ calcium needs. Dogs and cats will equally benefit from the natural nutrients in eggshells without the additives found in many commercial supplements.
6. Sweeten your coffee
Make a better brew of coffee by adding ground eggshells to your coffee ground. People have been boiling eggshells in their coffee to clarify the brew and reduce the bitterness. This is because eggshells are alkaline and coffee is acidic. When these two are added together, the eggshells remove much of the bitterness and make it mellower.
7. Vanilla custard cups
The next time you’re making custard, save those eggshells and use them to serve this delicate dessert. To prepare the cups, place the eggshells in a pan of boiling water and boil for 3 minutes. Remove the shells with a slotted spoon and drain of water. Scrape out the membrane and set aside to dry. Once you have your custard ready, pour 2 tablespoons custard into each eggshell. Place shells in an egg carton and refrigerate until custard is set. Serve the custard-filled shells in a ceramic eggcup.
8. Miniature flower vases
Create an unusual yet lovely centerpiece with this flower-filled vases made from eggshells. To create this, crack the narrow end of an egg and break away a small portion. Empty out the contents then rinse the shell and wait for it to dry. Once dry, break away more of the shell to create a larger opening. Place a wet floral foam inside the shell and fill it with water. Then insert small spring flowers into the foam. Set the flower-filled eggshell in an eggcup.
Don’t wait until Easter to make this one. To start making your own eggshell candles, crack the narrow end of each egg and make a small hole. Empty out the eggs and enlarge the hole by removing the shell 1/3 of the way down. Rinse the shells and then dye them using food coloring following package directions. Nestle the shells in an egg carton while you wait for the color to dry.
Meanwhile, in a double boiler, melt and color the wax with dye pellets. Cut your wicks to 4-inches long and fasten one end inside the shell by flattening one end and fastening with a bit of warm wax. Using a funnel, fill the shell with the melted wax. Let the wax dry for 1 to 2 hours before trimming the wicks to 1/4- inches. Place Eggshell candles in a ceramic eggcup.
10. Homemade sidewalk chalk
Drawing on the sidewalk is a great spring and summer activity for kids. Plus you’ll be teaching your kids about recycling and the importance of taking care of the environment. Start by grinding your eggshells into a fine powder. Then mix 2 parts plaster of paris or flour with 1 part powdered eggshells. Add just enough water to make a thick paste. You can add a drop or two of food coloring to make colored chalk. Shape the paste into sticks by rolling it tightly in a paper towel or plastic wrap. Allow the chalk to dry thoroughly, for about 2 to 3 days, before using it.