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Last updated: August 27, 2023
Eating egg shells may not sound appealing, but they are rich in calcium. This guide explains whether eggshells are edible, and how we can best prepare and eat them.
Most of us eat eggs regularly and then throw out the eggshells, not realizing that there’s actually quite some nutrition hidden in those shells.
This article delves into the surprisingly unexplored world of eggshells as a food source. I’ll be cracking the mystery wide open: Can they really be consumed? And if they are edible, how on earth do we go about it?
Keep reading to find out more!
Yes, Eggshells Are Edible
Let’s get straight to the point and address the million-dollar question: Can we eat eggshells?
Many people don’t realize this (including myself up until a few years ago), but egg shells are indeed suitable for human consumption.
But eggshells should only be eaten if they are correctly processed and prepared, and that means cleaning them, crushing them into a powdered form, and then storing that powder.
I certainly wouldn’t recommend eating them straight after peeling an egg. In the rest of this article, I will explain how to do all that processing.
Benefits of Eating Eggshells
So, why would you consider eating eggshells? Can’t we just toss them in the bin like most people do?
Sure you can, but then you may be missing out on some nutritional goodness!
Egg Shells for Calcium
Eggshells are primarily made of calcium carbonate, a substance that’s not only edible but can be beneficial to us as a nutrient.
In fact, about 95% of an eggshell’s dry weight is calcium carbonate, which is a lot. The makeup of eggs shells is actually very similar to our bones and teeth, so it’s no surprise that calcium promotes bone health.
According to this study, egg shells are a great source of natural calcium. The shells of a half egg can provide you with the recommended daily calcium intake. The study also reveals that the best way to consume and digest egg shells is in a powdered form.
And according to this NCBI study, the natural calcium in egg shells can have positive effects on bone density and can even help prevent and treat osteoporosis.
This makes eggshells an excellent alternative for calcium supplements, but only if your average daily calcium intake is too low. So, let’s have a look at how we can prepare and eat eggshells.
How to Prepare Eggshells?
When eating eggshells, it’s essential that they are properly cleaned and free from any bacteria. Luckily it’s not all that complicated or time-consuming to prepare eggshells for consumption.
This is the process I usually follow:
Boil (organic) egg shells for around 5 minutes to properly clean the shells and remove bacteria.
Important: Don’t remove the membrane, as this part of the shell is nutrient-rich.
- Let the shells dry for a bit.
Bake the dry eggshells in the oven for around 10 minutes at 180 degrees to further wipe out any remaining bacteria.
Note: You can skip this step if you’re confident the shells have been cleaned enough after boiling. The oven will make the shells crunchier, making the grinding easier.
- Grind the shells in a coffee grinder until you have a nice powder substance.
- You can then store the powder in a container and use it whenever you want to!
You can also choose to skip the coffee grinder and throw the shells straight into a blender if you want to mix them with fruits and veggies for a nice smoothie.
This holds especially true if you have a high-quality blender in your kitchen. They can do a great job at crushing things.
How to Consume Powdered Eggshells?
So once you’ve cleaned and crushed egg shells into a powder, what do you do with them? Well, there are many ways to eat eggshells!
One of my favorite ways to consume crushed eggshell powder is by adding some to my smoothies, as it’s a quick and easy way to get some extra calcium in.
On average, it’s just one tablespoon per week which is enough for me. Don’t forget that eggshells are 95% calcium, as you don’t want to overdo it.
Another thing you can try is spreading a little bit of eggshell powder over a pizza. You won’t even notice it! Similarly, you can add some to your pasta as it won’t affect the flavor of your dish at all.
You can also simply add a small tablespoon to a glass of water or orange juice and drink it for a quick and easy calcium supplement.
Other Uses for Eggshells
Besides eating them, there are many other useful things you can do with eggshells. Here are some more tips to put eggshells to good use.
1. Use for Compost
If you produce compost at home, the calcium and minerals in egg shells can make compost a lot richer. Better than throwing them away!
2. Dry Skin Treatment
The membrane in egg shells is believed to treat dry skin very well. Simply place the membrane on the skin where it feels dry and leave it there until the membrane dries out. It’s also supposed to help with healing minor skin cuts.
3. Feed Them to Chickens
Chickens need calcium too, so you can certainly feed them egg shells to increase their calcium intake. So if you keep chickens at home, consider feeding them some eggshells. Make sure they’re adequately crushed before feeding.
4. Natural Pest Control in Your Garden
Not sure if this is an old wives’ tale, but apparently, eggshells are not very popular with garden pests. Sprinkle egg shells around plants and keep these unwelcome visitors away from your plants.
5. Grow Healthier Tomatoes
Add a handful of crushed egg shells to the soil before planting tomato plants and let it slowly dissolve. This will add much-needed calcium to the soil, benefiting your plants.
6. Feed Them to Birds
Crushed and baked egg shells can be eaten by birds too, as a calcium supplement. Simply place a small amount in a bird feeder, and they will appreciate it. Just make sure the shells are crushed into tiny little pieces.
7. Make Your Coffee Taste Sweeter
Believe it or not, eggshells can actually make your coffee taste a lot sweeter! If you add crushed egg shells to your ground coffee before brewing, then this will reduce the bitterness of the coffee. This may not be for everyone, but it’s worth a try.
The key to eating eggshells and other calcium-rich foods is moderation. Egg shells are extremely rich in calcium, so it’s important not to overdo it, as too much calcium can be harmful.
I love adding small doses of crushed egg shells to my smoothie recipes instead of taking calcium supplements. Egg shells provide natural calcium, so re-using egg shells that I would otherwise throw in the bin is a logical choice.
However, if your average daily calcium intake is already sufficient, there really is not much need to add crushed or powdered eggshells to your diet.