Yet another salmonella scare, this one in eggs, has people across the country peering suspiciously into their refrigerator. Not wanting to risk a food-borne illness, some people are throwing their eggs away. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that eggs, even those that might contain salmonella, are safe to eat as long as they are fully cooked, there are a variety of non-edible uses for eggs for those who don’t want to risk eating them but don’t want to toss them in the garbage can either. For any of these uses, take precautions to avoid cross contamination. Be sure to wash the eggs before using them and after working with them, wash and sanitize your hands.
Made of about 95 percent calcium carbonate, egg shells lend themselves to a variety of tasks. Their rich mineral composition make them a friend to gardeners who often crush them and spread them around the garden to control pests or add nutrients to the soil. Shells also add nutrients to any compost pile. But if you’re looking for a more creative outlet for egg shells, consider trying one of the following projects.
Make ornaments. Use a pin to poke a small hole in the bottom of the egg and allow it to drain completely. Gently wash and clean the shell and allow to dry. Paint and decorate. The shells are perfect for making Easter decorations but they can also be used to make Christmas tree ornaments or everyday decorations.
Start a seedling. Crack egg shell in half and discard egg. Wash shell thoroughly inside and out. Fill each half with soil and place a seed inside. Place in the sun and wait for it to grow. When it is time to transplant the seedling outside, simply crack the bottom of the shell and place seeding, egg shell and all, straight into the ground.
Soothe a sore. Pulverize the shells and mix with a few tablespoons of rice wine vinegar. Allow to sit for about one week to make an ointment for bug bites, cuts, scrapes and other irritations.
If you can’t use the egg white in a merrenge or a sherbet and you don’t feel comfortable whisking the yolk into a hollandaise sauce, try one of these non-edible uses for eggs.
Condition your hair. Mix one egg yolk with about three tablespoons of olive oil and use as a deep conditioner for your hair. Be sure to rinse well and wash your hands thoroughly to avoid any cross contamination that might occur if your egg is tainted with salmonella.
Paint. Crack and egg and separate the egg from the yolk. Set the white aside and separate the yolk into several small bowls. Stir a few drops of food coloring into each bowl to create different colors. While this paint can be used on cookies, if you are concerned that your eggs might be tainted with salmonella, stick to using these paints on paper or even wood products. Take steps to avoid cross contamination by washing your hands thoroughly after handling eggs.
Glue. Egg whites make a wonderful glue.
Make a rubber egg. If you can’t eat your egg, you can at least play with it. There are two ways to make a rubber egg. The first, and most common method is to start with a hard-boiled egg.. Place the egg in a jar and cover completely with white distilled vinegar. and add a few drops of your favorite color of food coloring. Cover and place in a safe place for about three or four days, observing the changes that the egg undergoes over time. By the end of the third or fourth day, the calcium based shell will have dissolved and you’ll be left with a rubbery egg that actually bounces. This project can also be done with an uncooked egg but the results will be slightly different.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, visited Aug. 18, 2010, www.cdc.gov