Practical Uses for Eggshells on the Homestead

Practical Uses for Eggshells on the Homestead

As part of keeping a zero-waste kitchen, I’m always looking for ways to reduce my waste and re-purpose what I have.  “Practical Uses for Eggshells on the Homestead” will help you to put those mineral-rich shells to good use!

bowl of eggshells

How Much Calcium is in an Eggshell?

Calcium carbonate makes up about 94% of the eggshell, along with other trace minerals.

There is approximately 800-1000 mg. of calcium in one teaspoon of eggshell powder.  This meets the daily requirement for most adults and it’s a LOT cheaper than calcium supplements at the store!

In addition, eggshells from farm-fresh eggs are the most natural form of calcium you can ingest, why not take advantage of it?

eggshell powder

How to Make Eggshell Powder

Creating eggshell powder is simple and makes it easier to measure and add to food.  

Wash your eggs thoroughly, especially if you’re using farm fresh eggs, which is what I recommend you use.

cracking eggs and eggshells

Crack your eggs into one bowl, put the shells in another bowl.

Bring a large stockpot full of water to a boil. 

Once the water is boiling, drop the eggs into the boiling water and let cook for 10 minutes to completely kill any pathogens.

Drain shells and let them dry on a baking sheet, this could take 6-8 hours or overnight.  I chose to crush mine but you can keep yours whole if you choose.

Do not remove the membrane, it has nutrients as well!

eggshells on cookie sheet

Spread your eggshells on a cookie sheet evenly.

crushed eggshells on baking sheet

Bake clean eggshells on a cookie sheet at 350° for about 15 minutes to make eggshell powder.  I turned mine after 8 minutes to ensure even baking.

After cooling completely, grind shells into a fine powder using a coffee grinder and store them in a jar.

dogs eating dog food

Add Eggshell Powder to Dog Food

Depending on the size of your dog, adding 1/4 – 3/4 teaspoon of eggshell powder to their dog food is a great way to supplement their calcium intake.  Ask your vet how much he/she recommends.

37+ Best Homemade Dog Food Recipes

 

strawberry smoothie

Add Eggshells to Smoothie

One of my favorite things about smoothies is how simple it is to disguise supplements like eggshell powder.  Find a fun new smoothie recipe or use one of your favorites to add your newest calcium supplement!

hens in laying boxes

Feed them to the Chickens

Chickens need a lot of calcium in their diet.

The average chicken will lay over 250+ eggs a year (some breeds even more) which requires far more calcium than is available in her body at any given time.  This is why they need that extra supplementation!

Chickens are not able to extract all of the calcium that is available in their feed, so supplement at least an additional 4 grams of calcium every day.  This is the equivalent of one entire eggshell.

I don’t use eggshell powder for the chickens, I just throw the shells in the compost pile and they eat them that way!

 

Give Your Houseplants a Boost

Adding a 1/2 teaspoon of eggshell powder to your houseplants every few weeks will promote growth and keep the soil loose.

eggshells in garden soil

Enrich Your Garden Soil

Incorporating eggshells into your garden will provide a slow release of calcium to your soil.

tomatoes with rotted blossom syndrome

Prevent Rotted-Blossom Syndrome

When I was a new gardener, I grew tomatoes on a slope in my backyard.  

It was the only place that got full sun, even though it was an awkward location.  Every year my tomatoes would develop Rotted-Blossom Syndrome.  

This was pre-internet, so it wasn’t easy to figure out what was happening.  

Today, I understand that the pitch of the slope was so high that when it rained, all of the calcium in the soil was swept away.

Rotted-Blossom is easily prevented by adding calcium back into your soil and eggshells are the perfect way to do this!

 

Tomato Planting Tip 

Put eggshells in the bottom of your hole before you plant your tomato starters!  The shells will feed your tomato plant all summer!

 

Ward off Garden Pests

By sprinkling crushed eggshells around the garden, slugs and snails will turn the other way.  The sharp edges of eggshells will also keep cats away, their tender paws can’t stand the pain.

I’ve read that deer are repelled by the smell of eggshells, although I haven’t tried that myself.

scrubbing pan

Scrub Pots and Pans

Why buy toxic abrasives at the store when you can use eggshell powder to scrub your pots and pans?  I tried this myself and was surprised at what a great job it did!

washing hands with eggshells

Hand and Body Exfoliator

Mixed with soap, it only takes 1/4 teaspoon of eggshell powder to scrub all of that dead skin off your hands!

In the shower, sprinkle some powder on your washcloth, along with soap and exfoliate your entire body.

 

What other uses for eggshells or eggshell powder do you recommend?  Tell us about them in the comments!

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