In this season of Saint Patrick, now is a great time to consider the status of the humble potato, a beloved and necessary food of the Irish.
Personally, I love fixing yummy mashed potatoes, a favorite with my family, or popping those spuds in the oven to make baked potatoes.
And of course potatoes are a great source of nutrients like protein, potassium, vitamin C, carbohydrates… the list goes on.
But did you know that you have many other choices for what to do with your potato? Check these out these unusual options:
1. Create A Decorative Stamp
This is a fun activity to do with children. Instead of paying $5 or more for a rubber stamp, try cutting a potato in half widthwise. Carve a design on one half. Then start stamping as you would with a wooden version, using a stamp pad.
2. Clean Up The Silverware
My mother taught me this one a long time ago: what to do if you’re out of silver polish. Boil a few potatoes in water, just as if you were going to eat them. Remove them from the water and save them for another use. Put your silverware in the remaining water and leave it there for about an hour. Then remove the silverware and wash. No more tarnished silver!
3. Remove Rust
Cut open a raw potato and rub it on a rusted area: the acid in the potato’s juice will dissolve the rust, while the skin of the potato should remove it. For extra effectiveness on tough jobs, add a little soap or salt. Use it on pans in the kitchen or on surfaces like your bathroom sink or tools.
4. Shine Your Shoes
In addition to cleaning tarnished silver and rusty pans, potatoes can also be used to clean up your shoes. If you have shoes that just don’t seem to take a shine anymore, try cutting a potato in half and rubbing those old shoes with the raw potato. After that, polish them; they should come out nice and shiny.
5. Lose Those Puffy Eyes
Don’t you hate it when you wake up in the morning and see puffy eyes staring back at you? Bring on the potatoes and see the difference. Lie down again and apply slices of raw, cold potatoes to your eyes for up to ten minutes to make that puffiness go away.
6. Keep Your Goggles Clear
And while we’re on eyes, here’s a trick for keeping your ski goggles clear so that you can see where you’re going. Rub raw potato over your goggles before you hit the ski lift, and you should have no problem avoiding the people, rocks and trees on your way down.
7. Make Vodka
You’ve probably been thinking about this one, since potatoes are well known as one of the main ingredients of vodka. This video will show you how to make vodka in your own home, in case you have an excess of potatoes lying around your house.
8. Heal Yourself
This one I am passing along, but have not actually tried it out. According to potato experts, potato juice may be a very effective treatment for certain ailments: it can aid in the healing process for sprains, sciatica, heartburn and bruises, as well as alleviate pain caused by ulcers and flush out toxins in the body. Just put cleaned potatoes with their skins on into the juicer. To make it more palatable, you might want to add other veggies.
9. Make A Hot Or Cold Compress
Potatoes retain heat and cold well, so next time you need a hot compress, why not boil a potato, wrap it up in a clean cloth, and apply it to those aching muscles. For a cold compress, refrigerate the boiled potato.
10. Desalinate Your Soup
When you taste that soup you’re preparing and discover it’s really salty, here’s a way to fix it. Cut a few uncooked potatoes into large chunks and add them to the soup while it’s still on the stove. After about 10 minutes, remove them and the excess salt they have absorbed. Voilà! Perfect soup!
Do you have other uses for potatoes? We’d love to hear about them!
Photo Credit: thinkstock