Friday, December 27, 2013

How to reuse eggshells

Did you know that eggshells had this many uses?

Prepare your eggshells like this

For most eggshell uses, it is better to make sure they are clean and free from bacteria. If you don’t wash the eggs thoroughly before using, bake the shells at 150 degrees Fahrenheit on a cookie sheet for about 10 minutes.

You can grind your eggshells either wet or dry. I personally find grinding  them dry to be easier, but decide which method works best for you in your kitchen:

To grind eggshells wet, simply take all of your eggshells, place them in a blender and fill the blender with water to about 1/2 way up the eggshells. Then whizzzzzzzzz, and drain. What to do next is where I find the difficulty. Small bits of wet shell are not necessarily cooperative, and most uses for eggshell are easier to implement when the shells are dry.

To grind eggshells dry, you can either leave them sit in a bowl until they are thoroughly dry (I keep them in an old coffee container next to my sink and simply stack eggshells as they accumulate), or you can bake them. Baking to dry and sterilize them can serve double duty here! If 10 minutes baking at 150F doesn’t dry all of the wet egg remnants inside the shell perfectly, just leave them bake in the oven until the insides of the egg are perfectly dry.

1. Compost for Naturally Fertilized Soil
Eggshells quickly decompose in the compost pile and add valuable calcium and other minerals to the soil in the process.

2. Nontoxic Pest Control in the Garden
Scatter crushed eggshell around your plants and flowers to help deter plant-eating slugs, snails and cutworms without using eco-unfriendly pesticides. Also, deer hate the smell of eggs, so scattering eggshells around the flowerbed will help keep Bambi away from your begonias.

3. Less Bitter Coffee
Add an eggshell to the coffee in the filter, and your morning coffee will be less bitter. The spent coffee grounds, eggshell and bio-degradable filter are then conveniently ready for the compost pile.

4. Splendid Seedling Starters
Fill biodegradable eggshell halves with potting soil instead of using peat pots to start seedlings for the garden. And an egg carton on the windowsill is the perfect way to start a dozen tomato seedlings in shells before transplanting to the garden in the spring.

5. Eco-friendly Household Abrasive
Shake crushed eggshells and a little soapy water to scour hard-to-clean items like thermoses and vases. Crushed eggshells can also be used as a nontoxic abrasive on pots and pans.

6. Eggy, Crafty Projects
"Blow out" the inside of a raw egg and paint/decorate the hollow shell to make your Faberge eggs or other craft projects. Pieces of egg shell (plain or dyed) are also used in mosaic art projects.

7. Clever Jello and Chocolate Molds
Carefully fill "blown out" eggshells (above) with jello or chocolate to make unique egg-shaped treats; peel away the eggshell mold before serving, or serve as is and let your guests discover the surprise inside.

8. Natural Drain Cleaner
Keep a couple of crushed eggshells in your kitchen sink strainer at all times. They trap additional solids and they gradually break up and help to naturally clean your pipes on their way down the drain.

9. Membrane Home Remedies
The super-thin membrane inside the eggshell has long been used as a home remedy for a wide range of ailments, from healing cuts to treating ingrown toenails.

10. Treat Skin Irritations
Dissolve an eggshell in a small jar of apple cider vinegar (takes about two days) and use the mixture to treat minor skin irritations and itchy skin.

11. Egg on Your Face
Pulverize dried egg shells with a mortar and pestle, then whisk the powder in with an egg white and use for a healthful, skin-tightening facial. Allow the face mask to dry before rinsing it off.

12. The Fuel of Tomorrow?
Just when your brain was totally fried by all my ingenious reuses for eggshells, researchers at Ohio State University recently discovered that eggshells might be the key to producing affordable hydrogen fuel. I've heard of walking on eggshells, but maybe some day we'll be driving on them too.

13. Give your hens a calcium boost. Eggshells contain 95% calcium, and hens need calcium to lay eggs that have those strong shells. There is nothing unhealthy about feeding your hens eggshells, as long as those shells have been sterilized to kill bacteria (see below on how to do this) and offered in ground form. Pay special attention to shell sterilization if you get some of your eggs from another source where you can’t be sure of the laying hen’s health.

14. Give your pets a calcium boost: In the case of eggshells, what is good for chickens is good for your pet. Adding pulverized eggshells to their food provides extra calcium for bone health. And just like using shells for chickens, be sure to sterilize the shells first.

15. Give yourself a calcium boost: Consuming calcium from eggshells can help you, too. In a 2003 study published in the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology Research, eggshell consumption helped stop bone loss in postmenopausal women. While you can consume pulverized eggshells for added calcium, remember that calcium amounts very greatly in shells, so there is no way to tell exactly how much calcium you are getting (but we know you are getting more than if you didn’t consume the shells at all). Be sure you bake the shells before consuming to prevent ingesting any bacteria if you haven’t washed the shell before eating the egg (see below).

16. Whiten Clothes. Hate the way your whites turn gray? Toss some eggshells in a cheesecloth bag in the washer along with your whites.

17. Get Your Tomato Plants in Tip-top Shape. Tomatoes can get blossom-end rot as a result of a calcium deficiency. You know what’s full of calcium? Eggshells! Put some at the bottom of the hole when you’re transplanting them to prevent it.

18. Feed Your Indoor Plants. Place some eggshells and tepid water in a lidded container in a cool, dark place. Let it sit for a few days before watering.