Should I include egg shells in my stock?

Michael Hoffman
  • Should I include egg shells in my stock? Michael Hoffman

    I've been making stock from vegetable scraps I've been keeping in the freezer (mainly carrots, celery, onion, tomato, and parsley). I read elsewhere that one could include egg shells in stock. Is this a good idea? How many should I include?

  • I've not heard of egg shells being used that way. I'm not sure what they would add.

    The classic way of clarifying a meat stock to make it crystal clear (ie: for a consommé) is to whisk egg white (and I know at least one chef who adds crushed up egg shell to this mix) and finely ground meat into the cold stock and then gradually heat it. As the added ingredients cook they rise through the stock trapping all the bits that make it cloudy and the gunky 'raft' can be skimmed off the top.

  • All the ends and bits of vegetables, including onion skins, etc., are the most nutritious parts of the vegetable and lend flavor to the stock. It's great if you can save them and add them in.

    As for eggshells, it's some of the most bio-available form of calcium (add a little vinegar when boiling), very similar to our own composition. I haven't tried it yet, but will be saving my shells from now on. It always felt a little weird to throw them out, and am excited now that I can stick it in the freezer collection bag.

  • A classic way to clarify stock is to stir in some beaten eggs and then bring the stock to a simmer. The egg proteins coagulate, rise to the top, and form a sort of strainer that filters out the bits and pieces that would otherwise make the stock cloudy. I've seen some recipes that instruct to you to break up the egg shells and mix them into the eggs before adding to the stock. I always assumed that the shells just add bulk and structure to the egg raft, helping it to hold together and form a better filter.

  • Adding egg shells to a brown stock is a great way of clarifying the base. It creates a 'raft' which helps absorbs the impurity's which would otherwise spoil your stock.

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