Who doesn’t love potatoes? Aside from dairy products, potatoes are the most consumed food in America, with the average American consuming 110 pounds per year. America’s favorite veggie can be prepared in many different styles and seasoned to perfection: mashed, diced, shredded, sliced, and twice-baked. Not to mention, potatoes can be fried and made into hash browns, potato chips, French fries, and home fries and topped with countless condiments and toppings.
Potatoes are one of the rare foods that can be placed in two different food groups (they’re a vegetables AND starches). As a starch, potatoes are great for people with Celiac’s disease or gluten sensitivity, as they’re naturally gluten free and serve as a great baking alternative for flour. They can also give help you get in your daily serving of vegetables.
Besides just being an amazingly versatile food, potatoes can be (and often are) used in many other highly unexpected, bizarre ways:
1. Removing Rust
When you cut open a raw potato and rub it on a rusty surface, the acid inside the potato will dissolve the rust, and then the skin of the potato can be used to remove the dissolved rust.
2. Reducing Under-eye Circles/Puffiness
If you’ve been using cucumber slices as a way to reduce puffy eyes, you’ve been using the wrong veggie. Raw potatoes contain natural bleaching agents that will lighten up dark under-eye circles and reduce puffiness. Just take two cold potato slices and place them on your eyes for 10 minutes, and voilá! Dark circles and puffiness gone.
3. Making Vodka
In case you haven’t heard, potatoes are one of the main ingredients used to make vodka. If you have a bunch of spare potatoes (I’m talking 25 pounds extra) and LOTS of free time, you can make your own vodka.
4. Preventing Goggles from Fogging
By cutting a potato in half and rubbing the inside of the potato on goggles (for swimming, skiing, snorkling, etc.), the juice will prevent condensation from forming, and therefore your goggles will be fog-free. This same method can also be applied for preventing fog on car windshields, windows, and even on your glasses.
5. Shining Shoes
By now, I’m sure you’re catching on to a trend: potato juice is super useful. Rubbing the juice from a potato on your stylish loafers will give them a freshly polished look (just be sure to wipe the remaining juice off of the shoes).
6. Creating Electricity
Remember in elementary school science class, when you stuck some nails wrapped in foil into multiple potatoes, attached some wires to the nails, and all of a sudden a clock turned on or a lightbulb lit up? Long story short, this works because when zinc and copper strips are attached to potatoes, they act as electrodes and convert chemical energy into electrical energy, therefore powering a clock or lightbulb.
7. Making Stamps
If you’re ever trying to entertain/impress a kid, all you need is a potato, a utensil, and some ink. Carve a design into the potato using a proper utensil (a knife, cookie cutter, etc.), and the potato can be used as a stamp. It will leave kids in awe and entertain them for hours. Just like that, you’ve become the new coolest babysitter.
8. Skin Care
Potatoes contain all the essential vitamins and nutrients to cleanse your pores and prevent breakouts. Additionally potatoes are extremely effective in removing pimples, blackheads, and oily skin. There are two common methods for using potatoes to clear skin.
First, you can slice a potato, rub it over the affected area, and then leave it for a minute or two. Secondly, you can use a blender to make a paste out of the potato and apply this past as a face mask. The face mask should be left on for about 15 minutes and then washed off completely. The juice from potatoes is also commonly used for other skin problems such as dry skin, sun burn prevention, and wrinkle removal.
9. Developing Photographs
Back in the day before the invention of smartphones and even digital photography, people needed to develop film in order to see their pictures. One way that people did this was a method called autochrome, which involved using microscopic potato starch grains and chemical liquid to produce not only black-and-white photographs, but also the first colored photographs to achieve commercial success. This method is still popular in the photography world, as many of today’s National Geographic photographs are produced using autochrome.
10. A Hot or Cold Pack
The “hot potato” game that you played as a kid was called “hot potato” for a reason: potatoes are able to retain their current temperature, whether it be hot or cold, for a very long time.
If you’re transporting food that you want to keep warm, throw in a hot potato. Additionally, a frozen potato can be used as an ice pack to keep food cold, and it’ll even stay cold much longer than an ice pack would. The potato can also serve as a hot or cold compress for aches and pains.
11. A Flower Holder
A potato can be used instead of that green floral foam (which most people don’t usually have on hand) to hold an arrangement of flowers into place. All you have to do is cut the potato in half (lengthwise usually works best), and place the cut side down. Poke holes where you want the flowers to be placed and then stick the stems right in the holes.
12. Sending a Message
Yes, mailing a potato with a customized message on it is actually a thing. Websites such as Potato Parcel allow you to write a message on a potato and they mail it out for you. This idea became so popular that competing websites began to pop up, such as Mail a Spud. Mail a Spud one-ups Potato Parcel by including the stamps on the potatoes, so no packaging is needed. You will literally receive a potato with some stamps and a little note on it in your mailbox… Make of this what you will.
Regardless of whether you say “potato” or “potahto” (although I still have yet to hear of someone who actually refers to this starchy vegetable as a potahto), this veggie is ridiculously versatile. Who would’ve thought that the potatoes used to make your favorite side dish can also be used as a skin care product or a flower holder?