Posts tagged "eggs"

How can I “reuse” fresh eggs that we can’t eat?

(Hi! Sorry to regular readers for the stupidly long break in posting – I’ve been reading all the comments as usual as they come in, just not posting any new content myself due to a combination of busy-ness, illness and laziness. I’m hoping to get back to regular scheduled blogging again now though!)

This question is a bit like the one I posted six years ago (!!) about ways to use up no longer fresh eggs but this one is a little different. We’ve got our own chickens now so always have super-fresh eggs – but sometimes, like this last weekend, I have to give them medication or treat their coup with things that mean we shouldn’t eat their eggs for a few days.

The eggs look perfectly fine but there is a risk of contamination so we can’t eat them. I can’t bring myself to just throw them in the compost though – or even throw them at my boyfriend when he’s not paying attention… ;)

I know egg yolks can be used as a hair conditioner or for a face mask – does anyone have any favourite recipes/techniques?

I’ve also heard some people using them as a fertiliser boost for plants – do any plants particularly benefit from an eggy treat (especially at this time of year), or is there any that definitely shouldn’t have it?

Any other suggestions?

And finally, less on topic but critically important, did you all have a good summer? (Or good winter, if you’re on the southern side of things?)

5 fantastic reuses: what to do with egg shells

We’ve had loads of really good suggestions for what to do with egg shells over the years but here are some of my favourites:

1. Feed them back to your chickens (or lizards, or dogs…)
Eggs shells contain a considerable amount of calcium – they’re 95% calcium carbonate, with the remaining 5% being a binding protein to hold the shell together – so they can be used as a useful mineral supplement for birds, reptiles or animals.

To feed them back to chickens, bake them in a hot oven for about half an hour then crush them into small grit-sized pieces. Bake them while you’re cooking something else to be more energy efficient – it kills bacteria, makes them easier to crush and changes the taste so are less likely to encourage the hens to peck their fresh eggs. The hens will reward you by recycling the old broken egg shells into fresh new eggs!

The same baked crushed shells can be added to the food of egg-laying reptiles (same principle as chickens) but for dogs on raw food diets, most people simply blend/crush a whole fresh egg in with the dog’s other food every now and then as a calcium boost.

2. Use them for cleaning
Again, baked and crushed, they can be used as a mildly abrasive, natural way to clean stains off the insides of bottles, flasks, vases, or other hard to clean things. Place a couple of tablespoons of crushed egg shells in the container, add water, then shake, baby, shake! The egg shells should help remove stains from tea & coffee or wine, without scratching the much harder surface. After you’re done, you can tip the shelly water into your compost (see #5).

3. Make your own Sterno/heating fuel
Again, taking advantage of all that calcium, you can turn egg shells into homemade Sterno – a long-burning heat sauce made from jellied alcohol, used instead of tealights to keep food warm or as a camping stove fuel. Full instructions on how to make it can be found on the Zen Stoves website (along with advantages and disadvantages of using Sterno as a cooking/heating method).

4. Turn them into chalk – or other pieces of art
If that’s a bit too much like a chemistry experiment for you, how about just making them into floor chalk instead? It’s a pretty easy thing to do – perfect for kids as it doesn’t involve stabbing instruments or flames.

5. Use them in the garden
Roughly crushed egg shells have traditionally been used as a slug deterrent in the gardens – the theory is if you sprinkle a circle of shell around plant stems, slugs won’t cross the sharp rough surface to get to your precious plants. It’s very much more of a deterrent than an eradication measure though and while some people swear by it, other people just swear at the continued loss of their lovely hostas.

Egg shells can also be added to the compost heap – whole shells take ages to break down but crushed ones disappear into the general matter very quickly.

More reuses or recycling ideas for egg shells…

How can I reuse or recycle onion skins?

onion skinsWe’ve had an email from Jess:

Is there anything I can do with onion skins instead of just throwing them in the compost? I remember reading about using them to dye eggs at one point but I don’t want to dye eggs! Any other ideas?

Ours always go straight in the compost – usually because I’m getting into a panic about making the rest of the onion-based meal (burning! where’s the stock!? argh, we’re out of cheese! etc etc) – but I like the idea of doing something more with them too.

Apparently you can use them for dyeing other wool or cotton based things and not just eggs, but cotton stuff doesn’t tend to be very colour-fast so maybe use it for artwork or hardly-washed soft furnishings instead of your new favourite tshirt.

Is there anything else that can be done with them? Other practical or crafty suggestions? Or culinary ones (I have half a memory of them being good for reducing the taste of burnt stews…?)?

(Photo by grafbea)

How can I use up old eggs?

EggsSometimes our little box of eggs gets lost at the back of the fridge and we forget it’s there until we fancy omelettes for tea and then we find out that they’ve gone out of date. Sigh.

I know eggs are best used as fresh as possible – and it’s not ideal to keep them hanging around for the weeks and weeks until the “use by” date – but how strict is that “use by” date?

And if we can’t use them for culinary purposes, what else can we do with them when they’ve reached the end of their in-date period?

(Photo by alitaylor)

How can I reuse or recycle egg boxes?

Egg boxTurning over our compost bin is a ineffective nightmare. It involves precariously balancing on a metre-high brick wall and digging down, now below foot level, into the flimsy bin without using the sides of it for leverage in any way (because of the aforementioned flimsiness). Needless to say, it doesn’t get turned that often.

But every time we do turn it over, egg boxes return to the surface, almost completely unchanged by their weeks of being surrounded by rotting matter. I suspect we would do better if we tore them up or soaked them with water before throwing them in, but it did make me think: they’re clearly not as disposable as I thought, so what else could they be used for aside from the compost heap?
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