Potato, otherwise known as spuds, is an easy-to-grow root crop you can cultivate at home. It is also one of the kitchen staples that always has its spot in the pantry. Across the world, potato is an in-demand product that lands in the top four of the world’s most important crops. From breakfast, sides, snacks and beverages, they can take up different forms of filling foods.
Potatoes are so well-loved that an estimated more than one billion people eat at least one potato in a day! You’ve probably had some for dinner and have the peels in the bin right now. Before sending those humble potato peels in the dump, check out this list of things you can turn them into. It is not worth sending them to landfills.
In fact, you should never put potato peels in the garbage disposal. The starch in the peels will create a thick paste and the gunk will cause the blade to stick. Here are a few inspiring ways to salvage potato peels for better food waste mitigation.
Uses In the Kitchen
There are tons of ways you can upcycle potato peels for other culinary uses. If you are growing your own potatoes, you may wonder what to do about its aerial parts.
Unfortunately, as a member of the nightshade family, potato tops contain toxic compounds. They are not edible for eating but they can still be repurposed as compost to add nutrients to the soil.
Potato Peel Gratin
Gratin Dauphinois is a fancy but easy-to-make creamy side dish made of potatoes, eggs and cream. Instead of throwing potato skins into the trash bin, whip up and freeze this simple delicious recipe that is good to go with a side of salad.
Toss roughly chopped potato skins from 5 potatoes in red onion, salt, pepper, ½ cup parmesan, some cheddar and chopped chives. Line it in a baking dish and top it with a mixture of half a cup of heavy cream and an egg. Cover with aluminum foil and bake it for 45 minutes. Sprinkle parmesan and brown in the oven again for 10 minutes.
Create your homemade potato chips by coating potato skin with salt and pepper. Deep fry or oven bake them until crispy and you can have an instant snack-on to dip in your favorite sauce.
Add Them to Mashed Potato
Instead of wasting time and effort removing peels, prepare your mashed potato with its peels on. Potato peels can improve its texture and give it a distinctive taste. Just make sure to use organic potatoes and wash them thoroughly before the preparation.
Use It as Flour
Alternatively, you can process potato peels and turn them into healthy potato flour. You can use it as a thickening agent for sauces or lightening for baked goods. Create your upcycled flour by blending a thoroughly washed potato peel. Crush or blend the peel and store it in the refrigerator until needed for a recipe.
In cooking or baking, breadcrumbs are almost always a requisite in plenty of dishes. If you want a substitute, you can make your own using potato peel food scraps. You can use it with the same ratio as breadcrumbs. It does not need any tedious process than chopping them in the food processor. Break them down to the size of oats but do not process them for too long to avoid caking.
Here is a delight to all home brewers: you can brew alcohol from potato skin and a little patience. And no, it does not have a gooey potato-ish flavor because it only adds fermentable sugar.
Prepare your brewed potato by filling a bucket with 2 liters of water. Add 1 lbs potato skin, ½ lbs molasses and ¼ lbs of yeast. Leave it in a cool and dry place for at least 7 days, until the yeast dissolves all the potato skins and the alcohol concentration rises. When the yeast-like aroma disappears, strain the potato brew and enjoy.
Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Uses
Food wastes, especially fruit and vegetable peels, have important elements and pharmacological compounds. Experts are looking into the health benefits of potato peels with the glycoalkaloids contained in them. Safe extraction can make it a potential medicine for wound management and bacterial infections.
Dressing for Burns
Potato peel can effectively reduce redness and swelling in minor burns. It possesses anti-inflammatory properties that works well internally or externally.
To dress a minor burn, lightly crush the potato peel until it becomes spreadable. Apply it to the affected area and secure it with a bandage. Use potato peel as an alternative to a bandage for about 7 days or until the inflammation subsides.
For minor wounds, blend potato peels and dab juice into it after cleaning. The compounds in its juice promote cutaneous wound healing and prevent bacterial growth on the surface.
Plantar warts are circular spots of thick skin and callused skin. Some warts are not bothersome and go away on their own but some are painful and generally unsightly. Removing it may need prescription medication with salicylic acid or you can simply tap potato peel into it. Accordingly, potatoes can dehydrate the wart and the occlusion will painlessly remove it.
Brighten Dull Skin
Potato has a natural bleaching property that can transform dull skin into a fairer and more radiant glow. Just crush potato peels with a mortar and pestle until pasty. Apply it on the skin for about 10 minutes and wash them off with cold water. For dark circles you can apply potato peels to your eyelids.
Potato Peels Hair Care
Potato skin is effective in preventing hair fall and promoting its growth. It also helps bring back the shine and luster into it. For people with graying locks, potato may be an excellent way of covering them without all the damaging chemicals in hair dyes.
It can highlight grey hairs in blonde to make them appear more uniform in color. It also works in brunettes by darkening the grey hairs to mask their appearance.
It doesn’t take any more effort than boiling potato peels and using the water as a rinse after every shampoo.
Lighten Dark Underarms
There’s no need to struggle with unsightly dark underarms. Use a paste from potato peel. Its bleaching effect works effectively on dark skin with a remarkable difference. By reducing hyperpigmentation, it evens out the skin complexion.
Potato peel uses are not limited to the kitchen or your beauty regimen.
Potato peels and tops are rich in potassium, phosphorus and other minerals that a growing plant needs. Adding them to your compost can prove useful and significant for the garden. However, you need to treat them properly since potato peel can sprout and invite a host of fungi. To prevent this, make sure to turn the compost heap regularly for the peels to dry out and totally decompose.
Cleaning and Polishing
Clean anything in your house with the help of potato peels to remove rust and dirt effectively. Traditionally, potato peels were used in cleaning fireplaces and chimneys. Folks used to burn potato peels on a bed of coal. The chemical compound in the peels is released into the smoke and creates a chemical reaction that dries out the chimney. It also dries up creosote and prevents its buildup when done regularly.
Polish Silverware and Season Pans
The starches in potato peels are excellent scrubbers and polishers for silverware and other kitchen equipment. It does not only remove stains but also rust and corrosion to give silverware a new glint and luster.
To season carbon steel, combine kosher salt, cooking oil, and potato peels, heat the mixture over high heat while stirring frequently until the potato peels turn crispy and brown. Once the pan has cooled down, proceed to apply a protective coating of oil or seasoning wax on both the interior and exterior surfaces. This method works great for removing the initial protective coating.
When used in cast iron cookware, potato peels can also season them and retain their non-stick properties. The trick to seasoning is boiling potato skin in the pan or cookware in question for about five minutes. Drain the pan and wait until the peels cool. The starch in it will remove grime and dirt and build up the cookware’s patina.
Amazing Art Projects
Turn potato peels into something creative by cutting and making them into stencils and stamps. Or, you can simmer them in water to extract the starch and turn them into invisible ink! Use the starchy water to scribble a secret message on paper. To reveal it, combine an equal amount of water and iodine and brush it on the surface. It is a fun activity you can try with your kids or grandkids.
Potato is a widely used vegetable crop and a large contributor to food waste. And like most food wastes, it is a shame to throw their peels away when there are a dozen ways to reuse them. The best response to environmental problems is learning how to maximize everything that we use.
Potato peels have many advantages from culinary, cleaning, home remedies or even as livestock fodder. Experts are also considering its possible use as a source of renewable energy. If we can start with small things at home, it would be nice to collectively create a bigger impact on the environment.