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Eggshells, a Great Source of Calcium

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Eggs are popular the world over. They’re delicious and versatile. At breakfast, lunch, and dinner they can fulfill all of our needs.

But how many of us have stopped to consider the eggshells?Normally we dispose of them without a thought. This was not always the case. There was a time when people used the eggshells too. It was part of the wisdom of my grandmother, and I’m sure of many people’s grandmothers. They knew then what more recent enquiry has revealed: that eggshells are an excellent source of calcium, rivaling many expensive health food sources and supplements.

I was made aware of this several years ago by my daughter Natalia’s oncologist. He told me that eggshells were a great source of calcium but one had to take care in the preparation. This homemade calcium supplement would serve to battle in some measure the osteoporosis of Natalia’s tibia following the surgical removal of part of her femur and its subsequent replacement with an endoprothesis.

There are steps that you have to take to ensure the safety and quality of the finished product.

The eggs you choose should be of good quality. I try to get eggs from a local farm because I believe the natural diet of chickens on farms produces better eggs.

It is always important to be on guard against lingering bacteria that hang on to the shells. That’s why you should wash them thoroughly and then boil them. The ideal time I believe is around five minutes. Too much longer and the eggs can turn on you. At around 10 minutes in boiling water the eggs tend to form a line around the inside of the shell as the yolk gets overcooked and gives off hydrogen sulfide, the pungent chemical of stink bombs. Not good.

After boiling them you should cut the inside egg away and use as you wish. Then remove the film that lines the inside of the shell. Wait for the shells to dry and then grind them to a fine powder in a coffee grinder if you have one, or the old-fashioned way with a pestle and mortar. The resulting power can be added to meals, or like I sometimes choose to do, in small quantities of half a teaspoon to tea.

I should add as an afterthought that is important to check the freshness of the eggs. I have heard that if you put an egg in salted water and it floats horizontally it is fresh but if it floats vertically it has gone bad. I’m sure there are other tricks out there. I would love to hear how you check if your eggs are fresh or not.

There is not always a guarantee of freshness—at least there wasn’t in the Poland of my youth. In the Communist era quality assurance was not what it should have been. I can recall occasions when the eggs had chicks in them. The smell was terrible and really could have put me off eggs for good. Thankfully I got over it.

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About Kasia Lanucha