I HAD a childhood friend who had a lovely black labrador called Paddy. She was something of a canine dustbin, capable of eating anything the family left lying around.
One snack she particularly loved and would sit drooling in the kitchen waiting for, was, believe it or not, eggshells, which she would happily crunch on all day.
I hadn’t given eggshells much thought until I saw a recent scientific study which immediately took me back in time a few decades to my friend’s kitchen, Paddy the black labrador and her favourite crunchy snack.
Yes, they might be good for compost, but egg shells also have another important use.
Each year in the US alone, Business Insider reports, the food industry is responsible for 150,000 tons of shell waste.
We automatically bin our shells when making anything involving eggs.
But instead of throwing them away, we should give some serious thought to eating them.
Not just because of the environmental benefits, but also because of their nutritional value.
No, It’s not April Fools Day, there is a serious side to this story.
Egg shells are a great and rich source of calcium because they are 95 per cent calcium carbonate which, incidentally is used as an antacid to relieve heartburn, acid indigestion, and upset stomach.
One single egg shell contains around two grams of calcium which works out as being between two to four times our recommended daily allowance.
This, however, is not a call to start mainlining raw eggshells, which would be rather silly and could play havoc with sensitive teeth and gums.
Instead, boil the shells to blitz any harmful bacteria. After the shells are nicely boiled, you then bake them in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes with the temperature turned up to 200F.
They should then grind nicely into a fine powder, which you can do in a blender.
The powder remains a good source of calcium and has been shown to reduce pain and bone loss in women with senile osteoporosis.
You don’t need to eat the powder on its own.
It can be added to foods such as bread, pizza dough and spaghetti.
But be cautious.
Too much or too little calcium can be dangerous, with the average adult needing just one gram per day.