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 Shells
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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?
© 2011 – 2012, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.