You probably follow the same breakfast preparation-routine every day: crack an egg open to whisk it for an omelet or peel a hard-boiled egg, then toss the eggshells away.
Eggs are a highly nutritious food packed with protein, calcium and minerals that millions of people around the world consume every day. But who has ever thought about the value of eggshells?
Why should they, considering it’s just a flimsy outer covering of a food item that doesn’t look like it could be very useful after it breaks into smithereens?
No one can blame you, because the benefits of eggshells are extremely understated and hardly talked about.
Here are some great ways to make use of those eggshells instead of throwing them away.
1. Make a Homemade Calcium Supplement
Ninety-seven percent of the content of the eggshells we so callously discard is calcium carbonate, according to a 2005 study published in the Brazilian Journal of Poultry Science.
Many health practitioners recommend using eggshells to prepare a calcium supplement for strengthening bones and preventing bone-associated disorders.
In addition, it is an inexpensive alternative to purchasing supplements from the drug store.
The powder extracted from eggshells contains a rich supply of natural calcium and other elements like fluorine and strontium that strengthen human cartilage and bones, and prevent and treat osteoporosis, according to a 2003 study published in The International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology Research.
Eggshell calcium also successfully reduced bone deterioration and pain, and promoted bone density and movement in patients with age-associated osteoporosis marked by calcium deficiency and bone loss, the study further notes.
Eggshell calcium may even reduce and provide relief from the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
Follow these steps to make a homemade calcium supplement using eggshells:
- Boil the shells from 12 eggs on high heat. Make sure you separate the broken eggshell pieces from each other as you put them in the pot in order to prevent them from clumping together. Boiling the shells will thoroughly cleanse them of bacteria and other unwanted substances.
- Push the shells down into the water with a spoon as they boil to ensure they are completely submerged in the water.
- After 5 to 6 minutes, you should notice that foam builds up at the top of your pot. After the foam settles, keep boiling the shells for another 3 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat, strain the water out and set your eggshells aside.
- Lay them out on a baking tray and pop them into the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 15 minutes to dry them out completely. Alternatively, you can dry them in a microwave for a few minutes.
- Crush the eggshells with your hands and then grind them in a coffee grinder or food processor for a couple of minutes.
Viola! Your calcium supplement is now ready.
Consume 1 teaspoon of eggshell calcium supplement daily. You can chug it down with water or mix it in with half a glass of water or fresh fruit juice and drink it.
Taking more than a teaspoon per day may irritate some people’s stomachs.
Note: Make sure you use the shells from organic, pastured chicken eggs (preferably farm fresh eggs).
2. Make Remineralizing Toothpaste
The shiny, tough substance covering the outside of your teeth is called the enamel. It is composed of minerals and protects your teeth from weakness and decay.
When you gorge on sugary and caffeinated beverages or junk foods too often, the bacteria in your mouth react with the carbohydrates and sugar to generate acid, which gradually wears off the enamel and all the essential minerals with it.
A solution made of chicken eggshell powder was successful in remineralizing the enamel of people who had suffered teeth lesions, according to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research.
Since your teeth are essentially made up of calcium, toothpaste made from eggshells helps strengthen your teeth and refurbish it with minerals. Overtime, it sufficiently remineralizes your teeth.
Follow these steps to make your own remineralizing toothpaste with eggshells:
- Boil, dry and grind the shells from 12 eggs as described in the steps for making a calcium supplement.
- In a small bowl, mix the eggshell powder, 1 tablespoon of baking soda, 1 to 3 tablespoons of coconut oil (as much as you need to get a smooth consistency) and 10 drops of peppermint essential oil (optional).
- Store it in a small jar and use it every morning as you would regular toothpaste to brush your teeth.
3. Fertilize Your Plants
If you are gardener, you’ve probably used agricultural lime to condition and nourish your soil. A highly beneficial additive that decreases soil acidity, agricultural lime boasts calcium carbonate as its main component.
Eggshells are 97 percent calcium carbonate and contain traces of other minerals, such as phosphorous, magnesium, sodium and potassium.
Considering the fact that you probably use eggs every day and that they are dirt-cheap compared to fertilizers, using eggshells in the garden should be a no-brainer.
Not only will eggshells nourish your plants with calcium and other minerals, they will prevent them from rotting, too.
- Boil and dry the shells from 12 eggs as described previously to thoroughly clean them. Twelve eggshells should be enough to fertilize the soil around 2 to 4 plants.
- Grind them in a coffee grinder or food processor to powder them. Alternatively, for gardening purposes, you can just put them in a plastic bag and crush them vigorously with your hands to powder them.
- Sprinkle the eggshell powder all over the soil around your plants.
- Use a rake to mix it into the soil. You can also wear gloves and mix it in with your hands.
- Water the area to help the eggshells seep into the soil and begin delivering nutrients to your plants.
Tomatoes, eggplants and peppers often rot due to calcium deficiency. This eggshell fertilizer will definitely help with that problem.
Adding this fertilizer to the holes usually found in potted plants and yet-to-grow seedlings also gives them the nutritional boost they need to grow healthy.
You can also sprinkle crushed eggshells (not powdered) around your plants as a thick, close barrier to deter slugs and other insects. The jagged edges of the crushed shells will irritate the skin of the insects and keep them at bay.
4. Sweeten Coffee and Make it Less Acidic
Using eggshells in preparing your coffee may sound extremely unusual, and even a tad gross. However, this is the old-school way of reducing the bitterness of coffee grounds.
The alkaline calcium carbonate content of the eggshells combats the acidity of the coffee, thereby altering its taste and making it less bitter. Moreover, reducing the acidity of the coffee is an added health boost you don’t want to miss.
How do you go about it?
Just add 1 teaspoon of crushed or powdered eggshells to your coffee grounds and brew your coffee the way you always do.
Plus, you can toss the used coffee grounds with the eggshell particles in your garden to nourish the soil.
5. Remove Tea and Coffee Stains from Mugs
All of us have old cups and mugs that have become stained inside from holding caffeinated drinks over a prolonged period.
While many people simply choose to toss such mugs out, some of you hold onto them, maybe because you don’t see the point of discarding a mug simply because it is stained, or perhaps it has sentimental value.
Either way, you would definitely prefer your favorite mug without those hideous stains. Follow these steps to remove those stains using eggshells:
- Boil, dry and grind 12 eggshells as described previously.
- Fill the stained mug with warm water and throw in the eggshell powder.
- Let the mixture sit in the mug overnight.
The stains will be lightened or vanished completely.
6. Do a Fun & Informative Kids’ Activity
Eggshells can come in pretty handy if you have kids, if you occasionally babysit other people’s kids or if you are a teacher. Children love to get busy and be creative, and eggshells are a great way to keep them occupied.
One way you can use eggshells to make sure the kids have fun and learn something along the way is by teaching them how to grow a plant in an eggshell.
- Boil and dry the eggshells thoroughly.
- Begin by painting or drawing on the eggshells with some paint and paintbrushes or colored markers. You can color them a single color, make them multicolored or decorate them with patterns. Get creative!
- Set the eggshells aside to dry.
- After they have dried, add some potting soil to fill the eggshells a little more than halfway.
- Add 2 bean seeds or a couple of grass seeds.
- Sprinkle some soil over the seeds to cover them completely and spray them with a little water.
- Bean seeds should sprout in 1 to 2 days, while the grass seeds may take longer. After they sprout, keep them on a windowsill so they get enough sunlight.
Your kids will have fun, be proud of their achievement and learn something too!