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Surprising Uses for Potatoes

Potatoes are a hardy staple of numerous dishes across a whole range of cultures. You can eat them mashed, roasted, fried, baked, sauteed, or as part of a salad or soup and they are the fourth most consumed crop in the world, after rice, wheat and corn. But as it turns out, potatoes have many other uses outside of your cooking pot. Some of them are remarkably useful, others are great fun to try, but all of them are bound to surprise you! Here are some ways you can employ your potatoes outside of the dinner table.

1. Remove Stains

Foods like turmeric, berries and beetroot are fabulous additions to any meal, but they have a habit of leaving their traces all over your hands. It can take a lot of scrubbing with normal soap to remove these stains, and it's really hard to reach underneath your nails. Don't fear though, just keep half a potato back when preparing the dish and rub it over the affected area to magically remove the blemish! Make sure you get right under your nails too. This will work well on grass and ink stains as well.


2. Make a Hot or Cold Compress

This is one you might have read about in books, and it's been used for centuries. Potatoes retain their temperature for a surprisingly long time so if you are out and about on a cold night, keep a couple of hot potato slices in your gloves or pockets. Similarly, if you need to keep cool, use a frozen or chilled potato. If you want to ease aches and pains, then make a hot or cold compress using potato slices inside a sock.


3. Clean Your Windows

WindowsPotatoes make for a terrific non-toxic glass cleaner. Take a raw, uncooked potato and rub if over your windows, car windscreen or even eye glasses, before wiping away the juice with a clean cloth. You will be left with gleaming glass, without damaging your hands or leaving the smell of chemicals up your nostrils. This works well on clear plastic like swimming or ski goggles as well.


4. Use Potato Juice for Your Ailments

Ok, so potato juice might not sound like the yummiest mixture in the world, but it has been used for centuries to fight various ailments. It is considered effective against ulcers, sprains, gout, sciatica, heart burn and bruising. The juice is rich in vitamins and it's dead easy to make. Just put a couple of potatoes in a blender, zap them for thirty seconds and you're done. Add carrot or cinnamon juice to improve the taste and you have your own home made medicine. 


5. Remove Warts

Warts are a rather unsightly annoyance, and if you get one, you will want to rid of it. There's no need to go and have it lasered off though, just treat it with a raw potato. Carefully rub the cut end of the potato across the wart, and leave juice on. Repeat the process every day until the wart is banished for good!


6. Shine Your Silverware

CutleryIf your cutlery is cloudy and your trinkets are tarnished, why not use a potato to restore their sparkle? You can rub a raw potato over the items if you like, but I find it best to soak them in potato water. This also means you don't have to use extra potatoes to peform the task, simply use the water from the batch you have boiled for your dinner. Add any peeled skins into the water for great results.


7. Remove a Broken Light Bulb from a Socket

This use of potatoes is trumpeted by numerous sources! At some point in your life, you've probably faced the annoyance of a light bulb breaking as you attempt to unscrew it. You might be wondering why companies can't design bulbs that don't do this, but in the mean time, you have a trusty potato to help you deal with the problem. Cut the potato in half, and gently press the flat side on to the remainder of the bulb. When the bulb is firmly inserted, you can simply screw it out.


8. Feed Your Geraniums

The nutrients in potatoes will help your pot plants grown. You can either carve a small hole in the potato and plant the stem of the flower inside it, before putting the whole thing into the soil; or you can sprinkle some potato shavings into the soil around your already growing flowers to give them a fantastic, natural boost.


9. Sort Out Your Skin

SkinPotatoes are great for your skin, so making yourself a potato face mask once a week can reap rewards. You only need to use mashed potato mixed with water, and leave the resulting paste on your face for 30 minutes. A couple of slices of potato can also be used to reduce the appearance of puffy eyes and black circles, and are a great alternative to the more widely used cucumber. The ability of potatoes to clear up minor rashes and acne have been known for centuries!


10. Soothe a Headache

Potatoes have been used to help ease headaches for centuries, and you will only need a few slices. You can rub them into your temples, or for more sustained relief, fix them against your forehead using a head band or bandage.


11. Relieve a Burn

If you burnt your fingers on a hot pan, or clipped your arm against the stove while it was still on, reach for a potato. Just 1 slice of raw potato should do the trick - apply it to the burn and fix in place using whatever you have handy.


12. Make Some Great Personalized Art

Cushions potato stampsWe all remember making potato stamps and dipping them in paint in art class at school. But don't for a second think that this practice is just the preserve of children. These great cushion patterns were made using a potato stamp. Just draw the shape you want on to the cut potato, carve out the shape and dip it in fabric paint before dabbing it over your canvas. Personalise bags, cushions, walls - whatever you like! It's a really fun and easy way to personalize your home, and is great for kids too.


13. Absorbs Excess Salt from a Soup or Cooking Pot

If you have over-salted your pot of soup or pasta by mistake, then throw in some potato slices or cubes to restore the balance. Leave the potatoes in while the mixture simmers for ten minutes or so, and then scoop them back out.


14. Banish Rust from Metal

Are your old tools or kitchen utensils starting to look like antiques? Restore them to former glories by chopping a potato in half, adding a liberal amout of soap or salt to the cut end and rubbing it over the affected surface. Rinse and dry the object thorougly afterwards. This works great on along the edge of large carving knives!


15. Power a Light Bulb

Light bulbOk, so we expect this one is more for fun that anything else, but it's still fascinating and great for entertaining the kids/grandkids. Did you know that potatoes contain lots of energy, and the chemical reactions that take place between the potato juices and a couple of dissimilar metals create enough voltage to power a small electrical device? 

To try this for yourself, you will need: 1 large potato, two small coins, two zinc-plated standard nails, three small pieces of copper wire and a small, low wattage light bulb:

1. Cut the potato in half, cut a slit in each half. Wrap the coins in the copper wire a few times, using different wire for each coin. Then slide the coins into the slits.

2. Take the remaining piece of copper wire and wrap it around one of the zinc plated nails. Stick the nail into one of the potato halves.

 3. Take the wire that's connected to the coin in the half of the potato that also contains the nail, and wrap it around the second nail. Stick the second nail into the other potato half.

4. Connect the two loose ends of the copper wire to the light bulb and it will light up.

Be careful when allowing children to handle the copper wires as they contain a small electrical charge, and don't perform the experiment near to an open flame.




H/T care2.com; offthegridnews & howstuffworks

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