Did you know that the modern potato comes from southern Peru? Around the world the potato has become a staple diet, exerting an extraordinary influence on many cultures, not surprising when you consider how easy Potatoes are to grow and their high yield. Factor in that they keep for a long time without the need for processing and they are served at every meal time, hash browns for breakfast, scalloped, mashed or simply baked for lunch or dinner. Have you considered them as a dessert?
It has not all been rosy for the Potato, they have been giving a bad reputation and are being held responsible for several countries obesity epidemic. Not sure a vegetable can be held responsible for human behaviour.
On a positive note they offer a good source of potassium, vitamin C, some B vitamins, and antioxidants, although they don’t contain much of it, potatoes boast very high-quality (complete) protein.
Not only are they good for nutrition and taste, they can be of use around the home too:
Remove a broken light bulb from its socket safely. Just cut a thick slice from one end of a large, raw potato and press the cut surface of the remaining potato into the jagged glass. Twist to unscrew and toss into the trash, potato and all. (Probably a good idea to make sure the socket is switched off).
Remove excess salt from a soup or stew. Just cut up a raw potato or two and add to the broth.
Reduce puffy under-eyes. Lay a slice of raw potato over each eye and lie back for a few minutes.
Remove stains on clothing, carpets, upholstery. Grate a couple of raw potatoes into a cup or two of water and allow to soak. Squeeze out the potato shreds and daub the water on the stain. Alternatively, try rubbing the stain with the cut edge of a raw potato.
Remove stains on hands that come from working with berries, beets and other plant materials. Just rub hands with the cut surfaces of a raw potato.
Hold decorative arrangements (flowers, branches) in place. Poke holes in a large potato set at the bottom of a bowl and arrange your flowers, herbs or branches in the holes to keep them in place. Add water if needed.
Remove tarnish from silverware and other items by soaking them in potato water (left after boiling potatoes). Of course, if you don’t have any tarnish to remove, add the potato water to a soup stock. (Or soak your feet in it. Many swear by this folk remedy for tired, aching feet.)
Make potato prints. Potato printing is an old art, fun for children and adults alike. Kids and grownups alike can use simple stamps cut from raw potatoes for homemade note cards, wrapping paper, T-shirts and other fabrics, even door frames, mantels, and floors, depending on which paint you choose.
We would love to hear from any additional uses you may know of for the humble potato, please feel free to share your knowledge.
November 12th, 2018