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What can I do with oyster shells?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created May 10, 2011 at 12:26 AM

Having eaten several raw oysters, I find myself sitting on several large shells. Can I make stock from them? Dry and grind them down to a mineral powder?

Anyone ever do anything with oyster shells besides tossing them?

Medium avatar

(10512)

on August 26, 2013
at 01:39 AM

Maybe you could incorporate them in complex knots.

Medium avatar

(10512)

on August 26, 2013
at 01:37 AM

It's forbidden in WA because of multiple oyster species.

Medium avatar

(10512)

on August 26, 2013
at 01:36 AM

The only caveat about putting shells out for cultch is spreading off-species. In WA recreational pickers shell oysters on the beach and leave the shells. This provides cultch as well as keeping the shells on the right beach.

7eba3d743671649c1e06cacce0ba4e77

(1423)

on April 25, 2012
at 07:42 AM

I personally hold them to my ear and pretend to hear the ocean. You can also boil the shells in some water(you can also add some kelp/seaweed of choice,bonito flakes which is dried tuna) like I do and drink it

Fff58a1fd1e29d93fd6a25d3fdebbade

(400)

on May 11, 2011
at 07:19 PM

well then there is your answer ;-)

Eeb593d6b6d7a939fdd5469b69347d5f

(1037)

on May 11, 2011
at 05:54 PM

That was the first thing that came to mind when I saw this question haha. SHELL ART IS OVER!

39a1a0bc7855c084ac59df60fdf9c0dd

(1505)

on May 11, 2011
at 05:48 PM

Great idea! This really works on the Chesapeake Bay.

39a1a0bc7855c084ac59df60fdf9c0dd

(1505)

on May 11, 2011
at 05:48 PM

For broth, do you use oyster shells alone, or along with something else? How does the broth come out and what do you use it for? I eat a lot of fresh oysters and am intrigued.

04fa9f1b68df9955780494610a8e4e0e

(255)

on May 10, 2011
at 11:33 PM

Crab by-product and shells are processed into fertilizer! I got this little tidbit from a Dirty Jobs episode....

04fa9f1b68df9955780494610a8e4e0e

(255)

on May 10, 2011
at 11:31 PM

Alas, mussels don't attach themselves to shells. Instead, they attach themselves to rock (or rope if it's an aquaculture environment). As for using mussel shells for a surface, they are too sharp and fragile - they will do nothing more than cut your feet!

1471beca8e3adff4ae2f89d10e5f7acb

(6550)

on May 10, 2011
at 04:47 PM

What a great answer! This is so lovely.

002d074ab094fefc344bf0d1f36091ec

(370)

on May 10, 2011
at 01:50 PM

I was going to make a comment about shell-art. i've seen some nifty windchimes with shells. :)

5bccbf50a074175a5371b135311ebff2

(283)

on May 10, 2011
at 02:31 AM

holy crap, I did not know this. I am going to start helping the ocean. Mussels too?

D5cde8031564f905260ce9aa7a1f5e2c

(1160)

on May 10, 2011
at 02:24 AM

You would think, right? But it's pretty pleasant.

Fff58a1fd1e29d93fd6a25d3fdebbade

(400)

on May 10, 2011
at 01:28 AM

Sitting on them sounds rather uncomfortable.

637042e24e38a81dfc089ef55bed9d46

(826)

on May 10, 2011
at 01:28 AM

I was going to say burying them in the vegetable garden...crab shells are great too...they make beautiful black soil!

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7 Answers

best answer

6
04fa9f1b68df9955780494610a8e4e0e

(255)

on May 10, 2011
at 01:20 AM

If you happen to live near saltwater, let them dry and put them back out. Young oysters most readily attach themselves to spent oyster shells, helping to propagate the species. We dump them out near our dock to create a little oyster reef - it creates a habitat for crab, for which we have crab-pots (YUM!).

Also, if you dry them out and crush them, they make a great permeable surface for a driveway, pathway, perimeter around the garden, etc. You can use crushed oyster shells instead of gravel.

5bccbf50a074175a5371b135311ebff2

(283)

on May 10, 2011
at 02:31 AM

holy crap, I did not know this. I am going to start helping the ocean. Mussels too?

1471beca8e3adff4ae2f89d10e5f7acb

(6550)

on May 10, 2011
at 04:47 PM

What a great answer! This is so lovely.

04fa9f1b68df9955780494610a8e4e0e

(255)

on May 10, 2011
at 11:31 PM

Alas, mussels don't attach themselves to shells. Instead, they attach themselves to rock (or rope if it's an aquaculture environment). As for using mussel shells for a surface, they are too sharp and fragile - they will do nothing more than cut your feet!

Medium avatar

(10512)

on August 26, 2013
at 01:36 AM

The only caveat about putting shells out for cultch is spreading off-species. In WA recreational pickers shell oysters on the beach and leave the shells. This provides cultch as well as keeping the shells on the right beach.

3
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on May 10, 2011
at 02:55 PM

I don't think there is any food value (for humans) in them.

There are pretty aggressive oyster re-population projects going on in Maryland and other areas, and they are perpetually in need of oysters shells to use for new beds. You might find a local fishmonger or restaurant that is participating in the shell recycling program, and donate your shells.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/marylands-plan-to-boost-chesapeake-bay-oysters-will-require-a-lot-of-hanky-panky/2011/04/26/AFJcqXUF_story.html

"The partnership of environmental groups that includes the Nature Conservancy and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation are hard-pressed to find enough shells to seed the spat at the lab, let alone rebuild enormous shell habitats in the rivers."

39a1a0bc7855c084ac59df60fdf9c0dd

(1505)

on May 11, 2011
at 05:48 PM

Great idea! This really works on the Chesapeake Bay.

Medium avatar

(10512)

on August 26, 2013
at 01:37 AM

It's forbidden in WA because of multiple oyster species.

2
D0501f0cc09c961a06c3d188361e7b07

on May 10, 2011
at 01:47 AM

My friend crushes them and uses them as a supplement in her chicken feed. It's supposed to help harden their shells? IDK, but her eggs are the really really good.

Or, you could make some shell art like on Portlandia.

Eeb593d6b6d7a939fdd5469b69347d5f

(1037)

on May 11, 2011
at 05:54 PM

That was the first thing that came to mind when I saw this question haha. SHELL ART IS OVER!

002d074ab094fefc344bf0d1f36091ec

(370)

on May 10, 2011
at 01:50 PM

I was going to make a comment about shell-art. i've seen some nifty windchimes with shells. :)

Medium avatar

(10512)

on August 26, 2013
at 01:39 AM

Maybe you could incorporate them in complex knots.

2
Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25467)

on May 10, 2011
at 01:03 AM

i cook in them.....and I make broths with them. When I am done I plant with them to replenish my veggie gardens minerals

637042e24e38a81dfc089ef55bed9d46

(826)

on May 10, 2011
at 01:28 AM

I was going to say burying them in the vegetable garden...crab shells are great too...they make beautiful black soil!

39a1a0bc7855c084ac59df60fdf9c0dd

(1505)

on May 11, 2011
at 05:48 PM

For broth, do you use oyster shells alone, or along with something else? How does the broth come out and what do you use it for? I eat a lot of fresh oysters and am intrigued.

04fa9f1b68df9955780494610a8e4e0e

(255)

on May 10, 2011
at 11:33 PM

Crab by-product and shells are processed into fertilizer! I got this little tidbit from a Dirty Jobs episode....

1
Fea5aca1527826fc5afe1643aed80069

on August 26, 2013
at 01:27 AM

Use them as planters for small succulents or air plants....they are lovely down the center of a dining table...

0
39a1a0bc7855c084ac59df60fdf9c0dd

(1505)

on May 11, 2011
at 05:50 PM

Not that you'd have much use for this, but I have a home from the 1920's near the water and far from a good source of gravel. When knocking out a wall in the crawl space we found oyster shells used as aggregate in the concrete. Weird to look at a thick concrete wall and see nothing but oyster shells mixed in!

0
Abc0bc75cc91a0e753accc4b21015cf9

(140)

on May 10, 2011
at 01:22 AM

Pasties. Every man needs pasties. Do the shells provide an adequate surrogate for your own oysters? You do know they're not going to hatch, yes?

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