Potatoes are often a staple of a home grown diet. Most people love them and everyone has a favorite way of preparing or cooking them – whether that be mashed, fried or baked.
But what you may not know about potatoes is that they can also come in handy in a range of other ways.
Potatoes are not just good to eat. There are other more unusual uses for potatoes on your homestead.
They are of course an incredibly useful vegetable. They’re healthy, and can be used in a wide range of different recipes.
But they also have a range of other beneficial properties that make them useful. Read on to find out more.
Unusual Uses for Potatoes in Your Garden
First of all, let’s take a look at some unusual uses for potatoes in your garden.
You may already know that potato plants can be useful for breaking up the soil, and can be good companion plants for a number of other species.
But you may be less aware of these other ways that potatoes can come in handy:
1. Use Potato Pieces to Grow More Potatoes
Did you know that you could use scraps from your potatoes to grow more?
Our article on growing vegetables from scraps will teach you how to reduce waste and grow more food from a wide range of organic waste that might otherwise just have been popped on the compost heap.
2. Use Potatoes To Fertilize Plants Like Geraniums & Roses
Some gardeners also swear to the power of potatoes to fertilise certain plants – like geraniums for example. This unusual technique does not just involve adding potato scraps as mulch or to your compost heap.
You can also make a potato a more direct food source for plants like geraniums.
Make a hole in a large potato and pop a geranium stem inside and the potato will help the plant get off to a great start, whether planted in a pot, a larger container, or in the ground.
This is also a popular way of propagating rose cuttings.
3. Rub Potato On Greenhouse Glass To Stop it Fogging Up
It is not only annoying when the glass in a greenhouse fogs up. It can also be a problem for the plants you are trying to grow, since they won’t get as much light.
Cut a potato in half and rub the cut edges on the glass of your greenhouse, and it will stop that fog from forming.
4. Use a Potato To Stop Ice Forming on Windshields and Glass Cold Frames
This trick with rubbing a potato on glass can also help to stop ice forming on vehicle windshields, or on the glass of cold frames in your garden.
So you should not just use this technique inside your glass growing areas. It could be helpful on the outside too.
5. Use Potatoes To Remove Rust From Old Garden Tools
There is one final way to make use of potatoes in your garden. Use them to remove rust from old garden tools.
No matter how carefully you take care of your tools, a little rust is still almost inevitable. Rejuvenate them with a potato.
Unusual Uses for Potatoes in Your Kitchen
Using potatoes in your kitchen is, of course, the most obvious thing to do.
You can, of course, cook and eat them in a huge range of different ways. But potatoes are not just useful for their taste and nutritional content. They can also be used to:
6. Thicken Gravies, Soups, Sauces and Stews
Potatoes are not only good to add to soups, stews and other recipes for flavour and nutrition.
You can also use them to thicken soups and stews. There are two ways to do this.
The first is simply to add pieces of potato or mashed potato. The second, however, is more unusual. You can use potatoes to make potato starch. This provides the thickening effect without the potato flavour.
Check out this guide to learn how to make your own potato starch at home:
How to Make Potato Starch @ wikihow.com.
7. Make Potato Flour and Make Milled Grain Flours Go Further
You can also use potatoes to make a potato flour. This is not the same as the potato starch mentioned above. This is a flour made from whole potatoes.
While you cannot entirely replace grain flours with potato flour, you could use some in a range of recipes.
Using potato flour in bread and other baked goods will help your milled grain flours go further. It can also add moisture, taste and interest in your baked recipes.
How to Make Potato Flour at Home @ kitchenistic.com
8. Reduce Excess Salt From Meals
If you accidentally add too much salt to a soup or stew, potatoes can help you there too. Simply add some chunks of potato to your pot, leave them there for fifteen minutes or so, then remove them.
They will have soaked up and absorbed much of the salt. So your finished dish will not be so heavily salted.
9. Remove Stains or Sticky Substances From Your Hands
When prepping veggies or dealing with sticky substances like honey, rubbing potato on your hands can help to get rid of the mess.
The potato can quickly and easily remove the staining of beets or berries from your hands, or de-glue stickiness. So you’ll be free to get on and prepare the rest of your meal.
10. Make Your Own Biodegradable Plastic
Perhaps one of the best uses for potatoes is to make eco-friendly biodegradable plastic. Many manufacturers are now using potato starch to manufacture bio-plastics that will not pose a waste problem after use.
Unlike plastics derived from fossil fuels, potato starch plastics will decompose in your compost heap.
Of course, we should all seek to replace other plastics with these newer and more eco-friendly materials.
More unusually, however – you could even consider experimenting and making your own.
Making Plastic from Potato Starch @ edu.rsc.org.
Unusual Uses for Potatoes in Cleaning
Potatoes can also have wider application around your homestead.
You can use them in a range of ways as you are cleaning and maintaining your home and belongings. Here are some examples:
11. Use Potatoes To Remove Stains from Carpets or Clothing
Potatoes will not only help you remove stains from your hands during food prep and when cooking. They can also be used to remove stains from carpets, clothing or other fabric items.
Rub a potato on berry stains or scrub the stain with a raw, grated potato and them rinse with warm water.
12. Use Potatoes To Clean Windows
Rubbing a potato over glass won’t only work in your garden. It will work inside your home too.
To leave your windows gleaming, rub a cut raw potato over them and then wipe them with a clean rag.
13. Shine Silver With Potatoes
You can use potatoes to get your silver gleaming too. Soak silver items that are dirty or tarnished in the water from boiling potatoes.
Leave them for half an hour to an hour, then wash and rinse them. They will shine brightly and look as good as new.
14. Use a Potato To Shine Your Shoes
Rubbing a cut potato on your leather shoes can also leave them gleaming.
To shine your shoes, rub half a potato, cut side down over the shoes. Wipe them over with a damp rag and then polish if required.
15. Place Potato Starch Sachets in Storage Spaces To Absorb Moisture
Like other starch powders, potato starch is great at absorbing moisture. That is why it can work so well as a thickener in soups and stews.
Placing breathable sachets or open containers of potato starch and bicarbonate of soda in storage spaces can help to leave them fragrant and free from damp.
Unusual Uses for Potatoes in Your Cleansing and Beauty Regime
You may be surprised to learn that potatoes can come in handy when cleaning yourself too. And they are also used in a range of DIY natural beauty products.
16. Make Soap With Spuds
One example involves using spuds to make soap. The potato added to soaps is said to make your skin silky and smooth.
If you want to give it a go, check out the recipe demonstration at the link below.
17. Make a Deodorant Using Potato Starch
You can also add potato stark to a natural deodorant. The potato starch soaks up excess moisture.
A DIY deodorant is better for you and better for the environment. So why not give this recipe a go?
Homemade Natural Deodorant Recipe @ cnz.to
18. Get Rid of Dark Circles or Bags Under Your Eyes
Place fresh potato slices over your eyes and these will help to reduce the appearance of dark circles. It will also help to reduce puffiness, and get rid of bags under your eyes.
19. Make an Acne Busting Cleanser and Toner
Acidic, drying and naturally astringent, potatoes can also be used to make an acne busting cleanser and toner that is great for greasy skin.
Simply apply potato juice to blemishes, or wipe the juice over your whole face.
20. Make Yourself a Facial Mask
Blend a potato with some yogurt, or the white of an egg, and you can create a facial mask.
Leave it on for 15 minutes or so and then rinse your face thoroughly to leave your complexion fresh and glowing.
Unusual Uses for Potatoes to Heal Minor Ailments & Promote Good Health
The reasons that potatoes can be good for cleansing and beauty regime also make them beneficial in the treatment of minor ailments.
While there is an element of the ‘old wives’ tale’ to some of these ‘cures’, and you should check with a doctor where in doubt, potatoes are also used:
21. To Help Bruises, Burns or Sprains to Heal
Applying potato juice to bruises or to sunburn is said to help the area to heal more quickly and skin coloration to more quickly disappear.
For sprains, folk wisdom would have us rub the area with potato juice before wrapping.
22. To Soothe Sore or Itchy Skin
Applying potato juice is also said to soothe sunburns, insect bites etc…
Though the coolness of the juice and the act of rubbing gently make have more effect than the potato itself.
23. To Relieve a Headache
Some people swear that rubbing your temples with a raw potato will help to relieve a headache. I’m dubious personally. But there seems no harm in giving it a go.
24. To Promote Good Sleep
Having trouble sleeping? Another folk remedy involves eating mashed potatoes mixed with milk before bed. Sounds like a recipe for heartburn to me – but some people consider this to be a cure for insomnia.
25. For a Cold or Hot Compress
One thing that definitely makes sense is to use a potato as a hot or cold compress. Either boil or freeze a cooked potato and wrap it in a cloth.
These then make convenient compresses that can be applied where they are needed – as a natural, DIY cold pack or hot water bottle.
Other Unusual Uses For Potatoes Around Your Homestead
Finally, let’s take a look at some other miscellaneous uses for potatoes around your homestead:
26. Generate Power
This is a trick you may have tried when you were at school. A potato can be used to make a kind of battery.
Potatoes contain a lot of water, and the liquid can act as an electrolyte and generate electricity between zinc and copper electrodes. Power a light bulb, or another small electrical device.
A potato boiled for 8 minutes can produce ten times the power of a raw one. A potato battery can light up a room for over a month.
Could this be the new eco-friendly off grid solution you’ve been looking for?
27. Remove Broken Light Bulbs From Their Fittings
If one of those lightbulbs you’ve been powering breaks, a potato can also be used to safely remove broken bulbs from their fittings.
28. Rub Potatoes on Glasses, Goggles or Diving Marks to Reduce Fogging
We’ve already mentioned how potatoes could help you clear fogging on a greenhouse, keep glass free of ice and keep windows shining.
They could also help you with your glasses, goggles or diving masks too.
29. Make a Stamp For Decorating and Crafts
Potatoes also make excellent stamps. You can carve a raw potato to create your own stamp designs and use these in a range of different crafts.
You could use them to decorate your own wrapping paper, for example, or even use them to stamp out a paint design on furniture, or your walls.
30. Make Your Own Potato Print Fabrics
Once you have made your potato stamps, you do not have to use them only on paper. You could even potato print onto fabrics, and design your own new clothes or soft furnishings.
There are some amazing designs out there. Just be sure to use eco-friendly natural fabrics and dyes.
These unusual uses for potatoes are not meant for potatoes that you would be able to eat. But they can be good ways to use up blemished potatoes and those that are not fit for consumption.
For example, they could allow you to find a use for potatoes that have been exposed to sunlight and gone green. These should not be eaten.
What uses will you find for potatoes in your home and garden?