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5 Strangely Beneficial Ways To Use Your Eggshells
Everyone knows that eggs are healthy for them. After years of misguided public health propaganda about dangerously high cholesterol content, the world has woken up to the simple fact that eggs are one of the cheapest, healthiest, and most bioavailable protein sources you can eat. But while yolks and egg whites are having a good run at the moment, many people remain unaware of the many uses for the trickiest part of the egg to deal with: the shell. In this article we will shed some light on the beneficial uses for this overlooked part of one of the world’s most popular foods.
What’s in a shell?
While most people probably crack open thousands of eggs in the course of their lifetime, how many are really aware of what it is they are touching? Eggshells actually consist of three thin but distinct layers.
The outermost layer is composed of calcium carbonite molecules. This is the flaky, chalk-like layer that sometimes ends up in the bowl after you crack the egg, and you have to carefully fish it out with a spoon. The molecular structure of this layer is curved and it is what gives the eggs their oblong round shape. While it may seem like a solid layer with no holes, the outermost layer of the shell is actually considered semipermeable, due to the presence of over 17,000 microscopic pores in the shell that allow moisture and air to pass through. There is also a thin, shiny layer on the outer surface of the eggshell called the cuticle or “bloom”. The cuticle of the eggshell filters out harmful bacteria and dust and prevents them from contaminating the egg.
The next two layers of the eggshell are the inner and outer membranes, which consist of flexible proteins such as keratin, which act as an additional line of defense to protect the yolk from bacteria.
What are the uses for eggshells?
The idea that eggshells could be useful at all is probably confusing a lot of you, so without further ado, we present to you the 5 most beneficial uses for eggshells:
1. Compost heap
Eggshells make an excellent addition to any compost pile. This is because of the high levels of calcium concentrated within an eggshell. This calcium can help plants grow stronger and healthier. It is for this reason that some people will place crushed eggshells in the soil before planting a vegetable over that spot, such as a tomato vine.
2. Boil them in coffee
This one may sound a little strange, but just hear us out. While it may not be very well known, people have actually been doing this for centuries to mellow out the bitter taste of coffee. The bitterness comes from the high acidity of coffee, and the high alkaline levels of eggshells help balance out the bitterness by negating some of the acidity. The result is a coffee with a smoother, more balanced taste. To try this yourself, rinse eggshells with hot water, crush them up and add them to the coffee grounds before brewing. One shell should be enough for a small pot of 4 cups or so. Add two or more shells for larger pots of up to 12 cups.
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3. Use them to make a natural facial mask
Blend crushed eggshells with egg whites to make a natural facial mask rejuvenate the appearance of your skin. The levels of collagen found in eggshells are responsible for this.
4. Protect your garden
In addition to nourishing the soil, sprinkling eggshells on your garden can protect it by acting as a natural barrier against soft-bodied pests like snails and slugs. These creatures will be unable to pass over the shell fragments without hurting themselves, thus protecting your precious fruits and veggies.
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5. Eat them!
Yes, believe it or not, you can actually eat eggshells, which are packed with calcium and other essential minerals. In order to do this, it is best to grind them up and prepare them into eggshell powder. Just boil the eggshells for 10 minutes to sterilize them from any potentially harmful bacteria, then let them dry overnight. The next day, bake them in the oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Then grind the shells up into a fine powder, and you’re ready to go! You can add eggshell powder to many recipes, dishes and even nutritional shakes for extra calcium content.