We eat them for breakfast, we hard-boil them for salads and we add them to our cake and cookie batter. Eggs are inexpensive and versatile. Yet, did you know you may be throwing away a useful part of the egg every time you eat one? The egg’s shell has almost as many uses as the egg’s contents.
As you continue to explore ways to re-purpose items in your home, here are some ideas you may not have considered for getting even more out of your eggs.
1. Household cleaner. Household cleaner. You can make an easy and non-toxic abrasive cleanser by grinding some eggshells and mixing them with soapy water in a clean bottle or jar. Use the concoction to scrub your dirty pots and pans or your kitchen sink
2. Facial mask. Grind clean, dried eggshells into a powder with a mortar and pestle. Now combine the shell powder with some whisked egg whites to create a skin-tightening facial mask. Let it dry on your face and then rinse with water. You can also use eggshells to help ease minor skin irritations. Add clean and dry eggshell pieces to apple cider vinegar and let the shells soak in the vinegar for two or three days. Then dab the mixture on irritated or itchy skin with a cotton ball.
3. Drain cleaner. Keep a container of clean, dry ground egg shells near your sink to sprinkle periodically into your sink strainer. The fragments will help trap bits of food and, as they slowly break down, they will help clean your pipes of debris as well.
4. Seedling starter. Place clean rinsed and dried egg shell halves into an empty egg carton. Poke a small drainage hole in the bottom of each shell. Next fill shells three-fourths of the way with potting soil. Add seeds. As your seedlings grow, you can transfer the shell pot to the ground or to a larger pot without transplanting. The shell is biodegradable.
5. Garden fertilizer. An eggshell contains 750 to 800 mgs of calcium and other nutrients that will enrich your garden soil. Calcium is especially effective in combatting blossom-end rot in tomatoes. Before transplanting your tomato plants, place crushed egg shells in the bottom of the hole you have dug.
6. Garden pest repellent. Slugs, snails and cutworms do not like to crawl over eggshells, so by placing eggshells in your garden, you can deter these soft-shelled pests without using toxic sprays or pellets. Deer also dislike the smell of eggs and can be kept away with the use of egg shells around your plants.
7. Coffee taste enhancer. Before brewing, add crushed eggshells to your ground coffee. It helps take away any bitter taste.
8. Mineral supplement. Egg shells contain calcium carbonate, which is the main ingredient of many antacids and calcium supplements. Try grinding clean egg shells into a fine powder and adding to shakes or smoothies to get an extra boost of calcium. You can also get the benefit of added minerals in your soups and stews, by adding crushed egg shells to your stock or broth.
9. Dog Remedy. If Fido is prone to diarrhea, save clean dried egg shells to crush and sprinkle on your pet’s food. The stomach problems are usually cleared up within a day.
10. House plant helper. Give your indoor plants the benefit of minerals found in egg shells by keeping crushed egg shells in a lidded jar to use in your watering can.
11. Cat deterrent. If neighborhood cats tend to use your garden as a litter box, you can use crushed eggshells as a safe means of keeping them away. They don’t like to walk on it.
12. Laundry detergent booster. Keep your whites from turning gray by placing a handful of clean, dry shells along with a couple of slices of lemon into a cheesecloth bag into your washing machine before laundering your clothing.
And we will make it a true baker’s dozen by mentioning that scientists at Ohio State University have explored the use of egg shells as fuel for hydrogen cars. Since egg shells are rich in absorbent calcium carbonate, the patented process uses ground egg shells to filter out carbon dioxide, which is a by-product of hydrogen production.
Since we’re on the subject of eggs, here are some other interesting facts about chicken eggs:
- The average hen lays anywhere between 250 and 275 eggs per year.
- Egg yolk color is determined by a hen’s diet. Yolk color will be more vibrant if the hen is fed grain with more yellow and orange plant pigments.
- An egg shell, which contains pores that allow oxygen in and carbon dioxide and moisture out, comprises about 10 percent of an egg’s weight.
- The egg white contains about 57 percent of an egg’s protein.
- According to the Egg Safety Center, egg whites indicate freshness of the egg. A fresh egg has a cloudy white, while clear whites indicate an egg is aging. The Center warns against consuming egg whites that are pink or iridescent.
- Spots of blood sometimes seen in an egg come from small ruptured blood vessels in the yolk. It does not indicate a problem with the egg, the Egg Safety Center says.
- The color of the hen indicates the color of her eggs. According to the American Egg Board, there are no significant differences between different colored eggs.
Egg shells are an often-overlooked but amazingly useful way to move further off the grid.