Grabbing a bag of potatoes is a great way to make sure you’ll have plenty of filling, starchy goodness to last your family for awhile, but you might still find yourself struggling to whip up a recipe with every last one of the tubers.
Before letting any of your taters go to waste, try one of these amazing uses for potatoes around the house, in your beauty routine, for your health, and more!
Extend the life of a bouquet.
Ensure your beautiful flowers stay healthy and vibrant with the help of a potato. To do: Cut a potato in half and place it flat side down in an opaque vase. Then use a skewer to poke holes in the spud and tuck a stem into each hole. Fill the vase with water. The spud provides nutrients to keep the blooms thriving, plus holds the stems in place to guarantee a perfect display.
Relieve tense, tight muscles.
You’ve been keeping up with your resolution to exercise more, but now your back is sore. To ease the ache, boil a large potato, then wrap in a clean hand towel and apply to sore areas. Potatoes contain starchy compounds that absorb and retain heat, providing 45 minutes of soothing relief.
Revive tired, puffy eyes.
Nothing beats a fun night out with the girls! But sometimes the later hours can cause you to wake up the next morning with tired eyes. The fast fix: Cut two slices from a raw potato and lay over closed eyelids for 10 minutes. As you relax, the alpha-lipoic acid in the spud will reduce the inflammation that’s causing the puffiness. You’ll be bright-eyed in no time!
Entertain little ones for pennies.
When it’s too cold to play outside, the cuties in your life tend to get a bit restless. To outsmart boredom, let them get creative with stamps made from potatoes! To do: Cut a raw potato or two in half. Then use a paring knife to carefully carve shapes into the flesh. Let the kids dip the makeshift “stamps” into finger paint and apply to sheets of paper. They’ll have a blast with the designs, and you can just toss the spuds after.
Soothe a dog’s upset stomach.
Poor Buster got his paws on your leftovers and now is suffering from a bout of diarrhea. To help cure his tummy troubles, feed him one large boiled potato, peeled, sliced and lightly cooled, three to four times a day. (Just check with your vet first.) The starch content can calm an upset stomach.
Lift mud spots from clothing.
Walking through slushy sidewalks has resulted in mud splatters on your pants. The save: Rub the cut side of a halved raw potato on the caked-on mud. Once dry, launder as usual. Acids in the potato will dissolve the stains so they come off in the wash.
Nix rust from cast iron cookware.
Your favorite cast-iron pan has started to rust while tucked away in your cupboard. The simple way to remove it: Sprinkle salt onto a halved raw potato and rub the cut side over the rusted spots. The potato’s oxalic acid will dissolve the rust while the abrasive salt scrubs away residue.
Rescue tarnished silverware.
If your go-to cutlery set is in need of some polishing, try this natural solution: Peel a potato, then cut it into a few large pieces and boil for 10 minutes. Remove the pot from heat and carefully remove the potato. Once the water has cooled, set silverware inside the pot and let soak for 30 minutes before rinsing with warm water. As the potato boils, it will release natural acids that work to dissolve the tarnish on the silverware.
Safely pick up broken glass.
Oops! You accidentally dropped a glass while emptying the dishwasher, and it shattered on the kitchen floor. After sweeping up the area, make sure every piece of glass is picked up by using a potato. Simply wipe or dab the cut side of a halved spud on the ground. The small shards will get lodged into the veggie’s flesh, leaving your floor safe and debris-free.
Save an over-salted stew.
A pot of your homemade stew is the perfect cozy meal on a chilly winter day, but you’ve accidentally over-salted the dish. What can help: Cut a potato into chunks and toss the pieces into the pot. Let sit for 10 minutes before removing. The veggie’s glucose molecules will neutralize the extra sodium, so your dish will taste perfect.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.