With another Easter holiday coming to a close and Earth Day greeting us the day after, it seems like a perfect time to chat about the benefits of eggshells and some cool and unique uses for eggshells from all those hard-boiled eggs from Easter Sunday.
In years past, I’ve always done roundups of ways to use up hardboiled eggs and hardboiled egg recipes. But I recently learned about some of the benefits of the eggshells themselves. And as someone who aims not to waste much food in the kitchen, I was intrigued to learn and share some of the common and unique uses for eggshells.
Who Knew There Were So Many Uses for Eggshells?
It’s true. Like most people, I was taught that eggshells were just something annoying you had to deal with in order to get to the good parts of the egg. I loved coloring Easter eggs as a kids, but I hated the work of having to actually peel my eggs. There was something satisfactory of seeing a big pile of eggshells that eventually got thrown away.
But now, with a bigger push for sustainability, I’ve learned some pretty cool uses for eggshells. Some are ways to pay it forward, and others are methods to enhance our own nutrition.
The Calcium Supplement You’re Not Getting
Eggshells are loaded with calcium. It’s actually what makes them so hard. In fact, just half of an eggshell provides 1,000 mg of calcium – that’s our daily recommended amount! Most calcium supplements are calcium carbonate, which is exactly what makes up eggshells. There is some evidence that suggest that eggshell powder can be a more absorbable form of calcium carbonate compared to what you find in most store-bought supplements. Calcium plays a big role in our bone health and preventing osteoporosis, along with maintaining a healthy spine to prevent Shrinking Grandma Syndrome (clinically known as kyphosis).
Don’t chuck out those eggshells! Check out these 10 nutritious & surprising ways to re-use eggshells from hardboiled eggs
How Many of these Uses for Eggshells Did You Know About?
Be aware! If you are going to use eggshells for any of the uses listed below, make sure they are from hardboiled eggs and not raw eggs. This is important for preventing the spread of salmonella. You can also bake cracked raw eggshells in a 250ºF oven for 30 minutes to kill off any bacteria.
Also, most of these uses are for un-dyed eggs. Unless you’re putting shells in your garden or using as compost or potting soil, assume these uses are for virgin eggshells.
Feed Back to the Chickens
My brother and sister-in-law raise their own chickens simply so they can have fresh eggs. While I love fresh eggs, I’m not as much of a fan of the work involved. Unfortunately, they live over an hour and a half away from us, so we don’t get to enjoy this benefit as much as I’d like. When my sis-in-law told me she saves the shells to feed back to her chickens, I thought that was super weird. But it turns out allowing chickens to peck and eat the egg shells actually helps to promote healthier eggs that get laid due to the calcium content. I liken it to when new moms eat placenta for the purported replacement of nutrients.
Use for Compost
If you’re into composting, then make sure eggshells are getting thrown into the mix. Using for fertilizer adds calcium to the soil, says dietitian Rhyan Geiger.
Use for Seedlings
“We use the shells to start seeds for the garden by adding a little soil in clean shells, planting the seeds, then when they’re ready we plant the shell and all in the ground. We also put eggshells in the compost pile, which we then use to nourish our vegetable garden. The calcium is great for the soil!” – Kellie Blake RDN, IFNCP, LD of NutriSense Nutrition Consulting
Scare Away Slugs (and Deer!)
If you’re into organic pesticides, then spreading crushed eggshells around your prized plants is something to start doing. Eggshells help deter slugs, grubs, and snails from snacking on your garden, dietitian Chelsea Cross shares. It’s also said that the smell will keep deer from making a salad bar out of your veggie garden or flowers.
Naturally Sweeten Your Coffee
Barbara Baron, The Family Meals Dietitian, suggests to use broken pieces in coffee ground basket when making coffee. Barbara’s taste-tested approach (and approval!) is said to reduce bitterness in coffee to make it sweeter and adds calcium. Another bonus? You can use both the eggshells AND coffee grounds as compost for fertilizer.
Clean with Them
Ground eggshells can be used as an abrasive to clean stubborn pots & pans. Just add a little soap and water and get scrubbing. You can also place a few broken eggshells in your kitchen drain to help catch additional food particles. over time, the shells break down and help clean your pipes (so you can just say NO to Drain-O).
Give Yourself a Facial
Mixing ground eggshells with some egg whites creates a facial mask that will help give your skin a glowing vibe.
Use in Broths & Stocks
You know how bone broth is all the rage? Well maybe eggshell stock will be the next big thing. Use eggshells in stocks & broths to add calcium to the mix. Just make sure to strain well!
DIY Your Own Calcium Supplement with Eggshell Powder
Using a mortar & pestle, grind undyed eggshells into a fine powder. Treat it like protein powder and mix into smoothies, oatmeal, soups, coffee, tea – anywhere you think it’s a good fit. You’ll give yourself a major dose of calcium. You can also sprinkle the eggshell powder on your dog’s food to help strengthen their teeth and bones.
I know, this one has nothing to do with nutrition. But how fun is it to know that you can recycle eggshells to make colored sidewalk chalk? I actually use chalk a lot when I run outdoor fitness sessions, so it’s not just for kids & hopscotch! Check out this recipe for your own homemade sidewalk chalk!