10 Uses for Empty Egg Shells

We have been eating a ton of eggs lately.

Since I was required to quit working on go on bed rest in November, we have been living on Joe’s income. Living on one income isn’t easy, but one way we’ve managed is to cut our grocery costs.

We buy our eggs for $2 a dozen from a local family. They are a little more expensive than a dozen eggs at our favorite grocery store, but the chickens are all free range and organically kept (though the family doesn’t do the organic certifications, they welcome patrons to walk around and see their animals). We don’t have to worry about hormones or antibiotics, and it is easy to see that the animals are well cared for.

Eggs are awesome because they are cheap and very nutritious. I have shared lots of egg recipes, including perfect hard cooked eggs, bacon and cheddar deviled eggs, and omelet roll ups, but what happens after the recipe is prepared?

What do you do with your egg shells?

I hope you don’t throw them into the trash can! Here are 10 ways you can use them.

10 Uses for Empty Egg Shells10 ways to use egg shells

  1. Compost. You can compost egg shells, whether in a compost pile, compost bin, or vermiculture. We have a red worm colony in our basement, and we routinely feed them empty egg shells. We also feed egg shells to our hermit crabs.
    What’s vermiculture? It’s using red worms to turn waste material into rich manure. (But trust me, it doesn’t smell like manure. We keep ours in the basement, and you would never know what it is unless we told you.) We bought our worms from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm two years ago, and the colony has thrived with minimal care. (We chose Uncle Jim’s because it’s a central Pennsylvania family business.)
  2. Sprout seeds for your garden. A wee bit of potting soil will fill the inside of the egg shell, giving you just enough room to sprout grow a seedling. You can stand them up in an egg carton for stability, and otherwise, treat them as any growing plants.
    If you plant your seeds now, your plants should be ready to go outside after the last frost. Where I live, that’s the second week of May.
    When it’s time to transplant the seedlings, crush the egg shell with your fingers and put the whole thing into the ground. There’s no need to remove the egg shell. It will add calcium to the soil.
  3. Keep the slugs and snails away. If you crush up egg shells and sprinkle a solid border of them around your plants, snails and slugs will not cross over it. If they can’t get to your plants, they can’t eat them.
  4. Feed the birds. If you have a bird feeder, you can also offer your birds crushed egg shells. It’s best to sterilize the shells by boiling them for 10 minutes, then crush them and place the pieces in a shallow dish for the birds. They need extra calcium during egg laying, so now would be a good time to offer the shells.
  5. Clean your teapot. Mix crushed egg shells with dish soap and hot water to remove lingering stains from hard-to-clean items like teapots. Shake it to take full advantage of the abrasive properties of the egg shells, then let it sit overnight.
  6. Clean your sink/garbage disposal/drain. In much the same way as your teapot above, you can clean your sink, garbage disposal, and drain. Use the solution you dump out of the teapot or mix up a new one. In either case, run it through the disposal with the blades on to clean out any lingering gunk.
  7. Fertilize houseplants. Soak egg shells in water for three or four days, and use the water to fertilize your houseplants. You can reuse the egg shells for another purpose afterward. (You can do the same thing with the water you hard boil eggs in.)
  8. Improve coffee. Joe says that egg shells make his coffee taste better. Use only the shells from hard boiled eggs (because their shells have been cooked at temperatures high enough to kill bacteria), and add them to the coffee grounds inside the filter. After making your coffee, toss the grounds, egg shells, and filter into the compost bin.
  9. Make sidewalk chalk. I had no idea that this was possible until I was researching this post, but it sounds like fun! (The eggshell chalk recipe is the second one on the list if you click through the link.)
  10. Make a mosaic. This is a fun project using colored Easter eggs. I imagine you could color the egg shells after you’ve used them, too.

Do you use eggshells after you’ve eaten the eggs?

 

Have you seen the rest of the series?

Happily submitted to Top Ten Tuesday, Kitchen Tip Tuesday, and Works for Me Wednesday

Photo source

© 2011 – 2012, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. says

    I love this post! But I have some questions :)

    Is this only for shells from hard boiled eggs? I rarely make them but we go through a LOT of eggs. We can almost clear out a dozen eggs in one breakfast!

    Would you put them to soak in the water in the fridge?

    • says

      They only need to be boiled if they are being eaten or put into something that will be eaten (by a person or an animal/bird). If the egg wasn’t boiled, you’d want to boil the shells for 10 minutes to sterilize them.
      I’ve never sterilized egg shells for our worms or for our compost pile.
      If the eggs are being used for cleaning or another purpose that does not bring it into your food, you can use any old egg shells. I soak them right on the counter.

  2. Jennifer Hower says

    I clean them, dry them in the oven, then feed them back to the chickens to make more egg shells!

  3. Jtobiasl says

    there is a recipe calling for crushed egg shells & grape must.. you boil it all down to make some sort of italian grape must syrup. i suppose that would be rather healthy. sounds like an adventure. =)

  4. says

    WOW! What a great post! My senior mom loves to feed the birds when gardening so she’s going to love 2,3,4, and 7 – plus she might try them in her coffee as well! My grandkids are going to LOVE trying them out to make sidewalk chalk! And one of these days, I’m going to start a compost pile like my beloved grandpa used to have and I’ll definitely throw some in there. Thank you for such an interesting article – perfect for our whole Sandwich Generation Family!

  5. Heather says

    What an awesome list! I have been wanting to begin an herb garden for awhile & am definitely going to try #2 this week! :)

    Blessings,
    Heather

  6. says

    i JUST WANT TO KNOW WHERE i CAN BUY EMPTY EGGS SHELLS THAT ARE NOT BROKEN IN THE MIDDLE TO USE AT EASTER… CAN SOMEONE HELP ME WHERE TO BUY THEM…

  7. says

    No I don’t want those expensive ones I want the regular egg shell like when we eat breakfast and make eggs..I use them in Easter and try to save everyone I eat but I need lots of them, I paint them .I need lots of dozens, maybe some one can save them and sell them to me , but I don’t know where to find them or who could save them . Hope spmeone can help me.. Thank you

  8. Lin says

    Hilda! You need to Blow out your own eggs! Anyone who does this knows it is VERY hard on your cheek muscles.
    Make a small hole with a long pin at each end of the egg and then widen eqch hole wiith a toothpick. Be sure to stick it in far enough to break the yolk. shake the egg hard and then start blowing into one hole over a bowl to get the egg out. This can be used in cooking. After you blow out two or three for painting you will understand why NO ONE sells them by the dozen. You would not want to pay the price!
    good luck!

    • HILDA DE HOYOS says

      Thanks for your answer , but I guess I didn’t explain myself correctly, for which I am sorry.I just need a source to buy regular chicken empty eggshells.The crack can be the size of quarter. I do them for Easter,for the children and sell some also. Guess you have seen them at the stores they have confetti in them.I just wonder since people eat eggs for breakfast and use them in many ways and throw shell away ,I could buy them, but I will keep on trying thank you so much, all of you for your help.

  9. Robyn Conway says

    Loved 10 eggshell tips. My Nana would put a tray of crushed shells into he wood stove oven and later mix into chook food for her laying hens. Calcium is so important she told me as a little girl. She had a few chooks and a rooster in the backyard. And such lovely fresh eggs. She would write on the egg the date they were collected in pencil. I do miss her. Love you Nana. Robynxxx

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