…and How to Pasteurize Them Before You Use Them
I usually have 3 to 5 dozen eggs in my house at all times. We eat a lot of eggs. I used to throw the shells away or put them in the compost pile but now I save them for repurposing. This is how I process them before using eggshells around the home.
First I do a little pasteurizing, because I figure it’s better to be safe than sorry when working with raw eggs.
The process is simple and a little smelly, but worth it.
I don’t bother about breaking the shells up ahead of time, I just put all my saved eggshell bits on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. No salmonella at our house, thank you very much!
Some websites suggest you can just rinse the eggshells and allow them to thoroughly dry before using them. You decide if that is enough protection for you.
See our previous post Five Ways to Preserve Eggs to find out how to use the “insides” before you can crush and grind your shells.
Crush and Grind the Shells
Once the pasteurized eggs have cooled, I use my hands to lightly crush them and then transfer them in my stick blender grinder attachment for further processing.
You could also use a coffee grinder, a blender, a mortar and pestle, or put them in a plastic zipper bag, seal it, and crush the shells with a rolling pin until they are a fine powder.
Be aware that whatever method you are using, any plastic container will become etched by the eggshells as they pulverize.
As you can see, all the shells did not get to the powder stage with the attachment I have, but I think they’ll work for what I want to do.
Use Crushed Eggshells in Household and Garden
Chicken eggshells, are made up of 93 to 97 percent calcium carbonate, in addition to calcium, nitrogen and phosphoric acid. These nutrients make eggshells an ideal choice for garden use.
The top garden eggshell uses are:
- As an addition to your compost. They provide a rich source of calcium and other essential nutrients that plants need. Drying your shells allows them to crush more completely before you add them to your compost bin.
- For pest control of slugs and snails. Crushed eggshells works much like diatomaceous earth on slugs, snails, cutworms and other soft bodied pests.
- As cute, but functional, seed starters (you know you’ve seen those Pinterest pictures!)
- To add calcium to your tomatoes. Caused from a calcium deficiency, blossom end rot can be prevented if extra calcium is available in the soil for the tomato plants to absorb. Just add a handful of crushed eggshells to the bottom of the garden bed or pot when planting.
- As chicken feed supplement to add calcium to their diet.
30 Things to do with eggshells from The Prairie Homestead
You can also use eggshells around the house as –
- A natural household abrasive. Grind 1 cup of eggshells into an extra fine powder. Add this to 3 cups of baking soda and mix well. Use it on baked on foods and stubborn stains. The addition of vinegar gives it an extra boost.
- A drain cleaner. Add a small amount of crushed shells to the disposal to help break up stubborn clogs.
- To reduce the bitterness of your morning coffee. Eggshells clarify it by helping the grounds to settle.
- Sidewalk Chalk – see How to Make Sidewalk Chalk using eggshells, flour and water.
- Votive eggshell candles – here’s a tutorial from KidSpot
15 Surprising uses for eggshells from One Good Thing by Jillee
Eggshells even have a use in home health
- Make a nourishing face mask by combining 2 tsp. crushed eggshells, 1 tsp honey, and 1 egg yolk. Mix and gently massage on your face for at least a minute, keeping away from the eyes. Rinse after 15 minutes.
- Add a tablespoon of crushed eggshells to a cup of apple cider vinegar and let it set for a few days. Use it to treat minor skin irritations.
- Make your own calcium supplement. Here’s the scoop on how much to take from Nourished Magazine.
7 ways to use eggshells from Rural Spin, including a few ways NOT to use eggshells.
Crushing and using eggshells around the home and garden is a great way to use an otherwise disposable item to your benefit. Did you know there were so many ways to use it? Tell us in the comment section below – How do you use eggshells?