10 Tips That Are No Small Potatoes

A useful vegetable? Discover what makes the potato a true problem-solver.

from Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things

Make a decorative stamp
Forget those expensive rubber stamps that go for up to $10 or more apiece. A potato can provide the right medium for making your own stamp for decorating holiday cards and envelopes. Cut a potato in half widthwise. Carve a design on one half. Then start stamping as you would with a wooden version.

Remove stains on hands
Your family’s favorite carrot soup is simmering on the stove, and you’ve got the orange hands to show for it. Otherwise hard-to-remove stains on hands from peeling carrots or handling pumpkin come right off if you rub your hands with a potato.|

Extract salt for soup
Hm, did you go a bit overboard when salting the soup? No problem. Just cut a few potatoes into large chunks. Toss them into the soup pot still on the stove. When they start to soften, in about 10 minutes, remove them and the excess salt they have absorbed. Save them for another use, such as potato salad.

Remove tarnish on silverware
High tea is being served at your house later today, and you’re out of silver polish. Grab a bunch of potatoes and boil them up. Remove them from the water and save them for another use. Place your silverware in the remaining water and let it sit for an hour. Then remove the silverware and wash. The tarnish should be gone.

Keep ski goggles clear
You can’t keep a good lookout for trees and other skiers through snow goggles that fog up during your downhill descent. Rub raw potato over the goggles before you get on the ski lift, and the ride down should be crystal clear.

End puffy morning eyes
We all hate waking up in the morning and looking at our mug in the mirror. What are those puffy spots on your face? Oh yeah, those are your eyes. A little morning TLC is what you need. Apply slices of raw, cold potatoes to your peepers to make the puffiness go away.

Feed new geraniums
A raw potato can give a fledgling geranium all the nutrients it could desire. Carve a small hole in a potato. Slip a geranium stem into the hole. Plant the whole thing, potato and all.

Hold a floral arrangement in place
If you have a small arrangement of flowers that you’d like to stabilize but have none of that green floral foam on hand to stick the flower stems in, try a large baking potato. Cut it in half lengthwise and place it cut side down. Poke holes where you want the flowers and then insert the stems.

Restore old, beat-up shoes
Try as you might, your old shoes are just too scuffed to take a shine anymore. They don’t have holes, and they are so nice and comfy that you hate to throw them away. Before you give them the brush-off, cut a potato in half and rub those old shoes with the raw potato. After that, polish them; they should come out nice and shiny.

Make a hot or cold compress
Potatoes retain heat and cold well. The next time you need a hot compress, boil a potato, wrap it in a towel, and apply to the area. Refrigerate the boiled potato if you need a cold compress.