08 December 2010

Walking on Eggshells

Eggs tend to be a breakfast staple in my kitchen. I tend to eat as few as two to as many as a whole dozen each meal. I would like to note that have only eaten a dozen eggs the morning after one of my ultra-marathons or some equally as physically demanding event. I average probably four and ideally they come from different farms, and all from pastured, happy hens. More recently at least one of the eggs is from a duck. All this being said, I end up with a lot of eggshells and rather than just throw them away I have been trying to find something, anything to do with them.

At first, where there is still some egg white inside each shell, I would throw them outside and Cyprus would crush them a bit and eat a bit of them. After that I noticed my local blue jays were picking up the tiny pieces Cyprus left. Still, the quantity was a bit overwhelming and my backyard was starting to build up. Not enough blue jays I guess. And the lawnmower was not helping chop them up, so I decided to try something else.

Next I started adding them to my compost pile. Very soon the compost became 90% eggshells and coffee grounds. I know shells will break down, but unless they are crushed it will take a long time. And I was looking for a quick, yet sustainable, disposal method and crushing each and every shell into tiny pieces just didn't do it for me. So I went to the internet for ideas. From drain cleaners to skin-tightening face cream, I realized most options do not involve some quick and easy solution.

Therefore I have started a pilot program of keeping the shells in the kitchen. Once I collect a decent amount I will dry them out in my oven. I then take a morter and pestle, feeling like an alchemist, and break them down into a powder. I intend to work this egg powder in my yard in areas I plan on growing vegtables this spring.

Dried shells

Crushed shells

Stored shells

Ready to be worked into the soil

I am starting to realize that although something like this is neither quick or easy, it should pay off later with healthier vegetables.