Lucky 7 uses for empty eggshells (apart from decoration)
Over Easter I randomly started thinking about eggs, as in the sort which come from birds, rather than the chocolate sort (or the Fabergé sort) and then I started thinking about the fact that I have long been in the habit of just putting eggshells out for compost without actually giving any further thought to the matter, so I decided to do some investigating and see if I could find some other uses for them and, much to my surprise, I found a lot so I thought I'd gather all the ones I liked together here to share with people.
Before I get started, I thought it would be fun to include a couple of random facts about eggs themselves I found out along the way.
If you're unsure how fresh and egg is, put it in a bowl of water, fresh eggs sink but older ones float.
If you want to check whether or not an egg has been boiled, spin it. If it spins regularly it's been boiled. If it's fresh it will wobble a bit, because the liquid is sloshing about inside it.
So on with the tips for eggshells
For cooking and baking
This goes down as the tip I wish I'd known years ago. The next time you break an egg and a little piece of eggshell escapes and falls into the egg you want to use, grab a big bit eggshell and use it to scoop out the little piece(s). I don't know the science, but basically the little pieces will slip into the bigger piece quite happily and getting them out that way is far easier than trying to use a spoon.
This one goes under the heading of "why didn't I think of this before?", ground eggshells are great for gentle scouring, especially if you mix them with a little (dish) soap. Now, here's the bit which really interests me, if you pour well-ground eggshells down drains they will give the pipes a gentle but thorough clean on their way out.
Wash the eggshells thoroughly to remove any remaining membrane is removed, grind them and cook them in the oven at about 70C/150F or a really low gas mark for about 15 minutes, just to clean off any germs. Then add them to a face mask or cleanser, either commercial or home made. Alternatively add them to facial and/or body scrubs, you can mix them in with commercial scrubs or just add them to salt or sugar (and your other choice of ingrediants) to make your own. In principle, you could make a body scrub entirely out of eggshells, but you'd need a lot off them!
If you're going to try this, you need to put your eggshells in a pot with enough water to cover, bring to a boil and keep boiling for at least 10 minutes (up to 15). Drain them and then put on a baking sheet and cook at 100C/200F/GM 1/4 for at least 30 minutes until they are completely dry. Then grind them to a powder and use for yourself or your pets. Please note that the process for preparing the eggshells for use as a food supplement is longer than the process for using them for beauty as food goes inside the body! Once you've prepared your eggshells, you need to store them in an airtight container.
To scare off slugs
Slugs and snails hate slithering over anything sharp so broken eggshells can keep them away and fertilize your soil without the use of chemicals.
To start up seedlings
Use egg shells to start plants instead of plastic tubs. When your plants are ready to spread their leaves properly, just crack the shell a little and plant them out, kind of a packed lunch for plants, plus protection against becomine a slug's lunch.
To improve compost
I might have been missing out on other uses, but I was helping my compost!
Bonus tip - Decoration with a difference
Now everyone knows about painting eggs for Easter and if you want to keep them over the longer term, you need to empty them first and I'd advise using natural dyes (as opposed to the likes of nail varnish) so you keep your options open as to what to do with the shells when you're ready to change out your decoration. If, however, you're me and frankly you are never, ever, going to have the skill (or, if I'm really honest) the patience to do this, then there is an alternative I've only just discovered, whch is eggshell mosaics. There are loads of tutorials on this if you do a search on the term. Frankly this looks like my kind of DIY, i.e. easy and fun and probably great to do with kids at any time of year.