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20 Ways to Use Potato Peels

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Potato peel uses that will shock and inspire you

What if I told you that you could use potato peelings to cover up grey hair, clean the fireplace, make alcohol, and much more?

That's right: the skin of the humble spud can play a starring role in your kitchen and home.

Next time you peel potatoes, I challenge you to save all those potato peels from the trash can.

They're just as useful and versatile as the intact potatoes themselves, and there are some amazing potato peel uses that will surprise you.

I've already proven how much I love using food scraps with these other articles (you may like to open them in another window to enjoy later):

10 Cool Uses for Pineapple Skins
Find out how to use pineapple skins in your kitchen and home, and give those scraps a second life! These pineapple skin uses are really simple, frugal and u...

20 Ways to Use Avocado Seeds
You won't believe the amazing ways that avocado seeds can be used. You can create jewellery, dye fabric and make shampoo using avocado pits, as well as many...

Now it's time to share all the great ideas and recipes I've discovered in my quest to save potato peels from the scrap heap.

Read on to see some easy, frugal and fun projects you can use potato peels for.


1. Use potato peels to replace breadcrumbs

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If you're making fish cakes, meatballs, croquettes or other dishes that require breadcrumbs, you can sub in potato peels.

Simply replace the breadcrumbs in the recipe with the potato peel preparation (see below), in a ratio of one to one. They have the same binding properties, with the added benefit of being gluten-free.

To prepare, put the peels in a food processor, and process until you get pieces the size of rolled oats. Keep an eye on the peels - processing for too long will give you a sticky mess!

2. Season cast-iron or carbon steel cookware

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Cast iron and carbon steel (also known as black iron) cookware need to be seasoned before use, and whenever their seasoning has been scrubbed off worn down. This helps build up a 'patina' on their surface, making them non-stick.

Many professional chefs as well as amateur cooks and cast-iron junkies love using potato peels to season their pans and dutch ovens. Simply boil the peelings for a few minutes before proceeding to the stage where you grease and heat up the pan. The starchy peels bind to any grime or dirt in the pan, giving it an efficient clean before building up the patina with grease.

Got a new set of pans recently, or need to refurbish old ones? Follow these directions to season using potato peels and you'll be ready to cook in no time.

(Note: the linked article is written for De Buyer pans but the instructions are suitable for any carbon steel or cast iron cookware)

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3. Hide grey hair

If you're anything like me, you've started noticing a few grey hairs but are hesitant to use toxic and expensive chemical products to dye them. If you're looking for a natural, eco-friendly and frugal hair-dying solution you're in luck!

If you are blonde, potato peels can highlight the grey hairs and make the overall colour look more uniform.

Brunettes will find that potato peels darken the greys and therefore hide them.

Potato peels have been used for a long time as a way to eliminate grey hair - try this easy home remedy and see the effects for yourself.

To make your potato peel treatment for grey hair:

Peel two large potatoes, and put the peels in a saucepan full of water. Simmer for 20 minutes, remove the peelings then let cool completely. Use after every shampoo as a hair rinse.

Potato peels are good for you!

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Throwing away potato peels is like throwing away nutrients. Take advantage of all those B vitamins, potassium, vitamin C and more by using the skins rather than throwing them away.

4. Potato milk jam

Everyone loves dulce de leche - the delicious caramelised treat made by slowly cooking milk with sugar. This version uses potato peels, although the final product doesn't taste like potatoes. It just tastes like a wonderful, earthy caramel sauce. Try it and see!

Click the link below the picture to check out the recipe.

5. Get rid of warts naturally

An old folk remedy for plantar warts involves rubbing potato peels (or a slice of raw potato) on the wart or taping it on to the skin using a bandage.

Traditions vary - some advise to bury the used potato peel in the garden, while others recommend saying a short poem whilst doing the treatment.

Whilst this tradition may seem a bit wacky, many people have reported success with it, so it can't hurt to try.

6. DIY invisible ink

Make your very own invisible ink to send secret messages to friends or teach children about chemistry. This is a fantastic activity for homeschoolers.

Simmer your leftover potato peels in a small saucepan of water for around 10-15 mins. Let cool completely.

You should notice a part of the water that is white and cloudy - this is the starch, settling at the bottom of the saucepan. Dip a matchstick or cotton bud into this part of the water.

Now write your secret message!

To reveal the writing, dilute some liquid iodine with water in a ratio of 50:50 (an adult needs to do this - iodine isn't safe around children) and brush it onto the paper. Your message should be revealed.

7. Make gourmet mashed potatoes

World famous chef Heston Blumenthal uses discarded potato peels to infuse a strong potato flavour into his mash. Rather than throw them out, the peels play an important role in his recipe, which uses these scraps in a unique way.

Check out the recipe with step-by-step photos to make mashed potatoes like a top chef.

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8. Potato peels in your beauty regime

Potato peels can be used to whiten and brighten skin, and are a great natural edition to your beauty regime. You can either use potato peels fresh off the potato, or crush them to make a paste.

- If you have an uneven or blotchy skin tone, rub potato peels on the problem area every day and see the results.

- Apply a paste of crushed peels to dark underarms to lighten them

- Traditionally, women rubbed the peels on their faces to reduce wrinkles

- Do you have dark bags under your eyes? Apply a mask of crushed peels and rinse off after 20 minutes

- Get rid of acne using a face mask of crushed potato peels

Potato peeling trick with Dawn Wells

This is such a great technique for peeling potatoes - without using a potato peeler!

9. Add to compost and worm farms

If you didn't know already, potato peels should never be put in a garbage disposal system - their starchiness turns them into glue and can seriously clog things up. Don't even try unless you like paying expensive plumber's fees.

Your best bet is to add them to a compost pile. Lots of people think that potato peels should never be composted because they will sprout. This isn't an issue, though. The peelings are thin enough and the temperature in the compost heap is hot enough to decompose them quickly.

Worms also love the delicious decomposed matter that results from potato peelings, so feel free to add them to your worm farm ( starting a worm farm is easy and a great educational activity for kids).

10. Crispy potato peelings

Baked or fried

Potato peels are already thinly sliced and thus the perfect candidates for home made crisps, crackers and fries. If your favourite part of roast potatoes is the skin, you're in for a treat with these.

The options are endless: coat the peels with olive salt, salt & pepper, cheese, herbs, duck fat, paprika, garlic, or anything you fancy and bake them at 375°F until crispy (this takes 10-15 minutes).

Or, deep fry them until golden and serve sprinkled with parmesan cheese, or as dippers with a sauce or dip.

Once baked or fried until crispy, you can cut the peels up into small pieces and use as you would croutons - in a salad or soup. A fantastic gluten-free alternative that's just as tasty as the original.

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11. Make vegetable stock & potato peel soup

I can't be the only one that loves sipping on the water used to boil potatoes in. The rich, earthy taste is so comforting, and full of nutrients.

Take your potato peels and boil them for around 10 minutes. You can now simply drink this broth (with salt and pepper to taste).

If you'd like to make a nice vegetable broth, gather some other vegetable scraps - carrot peel, celery leaves and onion peels are good - and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add salt to taste and voila! If you don't have the time/ingredients to make the broth straight away, just freeze the potato peels or potato peel water to use later. It defrosts well.

To make a potato peel soup, add an onion and a couple of cloves of garlic to your potato peels. Simmer about 15 minutes, then cool slightly and blend the soup in a blender. Put back on a low heat, and add some heavy cream, salt to taste and lots of freshly cracked pepper. Yum!

12. Brew your own alcohol

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Home brewers will love this easy way to make potato alcohol. Rather than using potatoes specially bought for the project, this recipe uses potato skins that would otherwise be thrown away.

To make your very own potato alcohol, you'll need 1lb of potato peels, 1/3lb molasses, and 1/4lb of yeast. Get yourself a food-grade 4-liter bucket and you're ready to make the recipe!

Peeling potatoes

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13. Make potato flour or starch

"Rasp the potatoes into a tub of cold water and change it repeatedly until the raspings fall to the bottom like paste; then dry it in the air, pound it in a mortar, and pass it through a hair sieve. It is nearly as nutritive, and much lighter, than wheaten flour; it is, therefore, preferable for making puddings and pastry for infants and invalids; a portion of it also improves the appearance of household bread, and dealers constantly pass it off as arrowroot. If kept dry, it will remain good for years."

- excerpt from A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove: A History of American Women Told Through Food, Recipes, and Remembrances

Although today's cooks aren't used to following the above directions to make their own potato flour, it can still be done in the modern kitchen. Potato flour has many uses - from thickening sauces to lightening baked goods. Being easy to digest and full of nutrients, it's a handy thing to have around.

Of course, you can easily buy potato flour, but making it yourself is fun, interesting and a learning experience. It would be a great educational activity for homeschoolers or school teachers to help children learn about starch and get in touch with traditional methods of food preparation.

If you'd like to try making your own potato flour or starch at home, check out this great picture tutorial using sweet potatoes. You can use the peelings from normal white potatoes for the same effect. Just chop the peels up in a food processor first.

The starchy potato flour makes this sponge extra light - not to mention gluten-free.

Prep timeCook timeReady in

15 min

30 min

45 min

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup potato flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Carefully separate the egg yolks from the whites.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks, sugar, water, and lemon juice together until thick and pale.
  3. Sift the flour twice, then once again with the baking powder and salt.
  4. Add to the first mixture, folding in gently until just combined.
  5. Beat the egg whites until pale and stiff. Fold in to the other mixture.
  6. Bake twenty-five to thirty minutes at 375°F.

14. Clean out your fireplace

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If you have a fireplace that's dirty, dusty and covered in layers of old ash, use potato peelings to to clean it out. It's cheap, natural and very effective. You'll need to dry your peels first, by putting them in a well-ventilated area for 48 hours.

Once the fireplace and chimney are clean, try lighting your next fire with more dried peelings. It works just as well as those chemical-filled fire starters, without the toxic fumes and bad smell.

15. Potato peel pie

If you haven't yet heard of the best selling book The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, you've been living under a rock. This fabulous novel focuses on the lives of the inhabitants of Guernsey, an island under German occupation during WWII. The inspiring positive attitudes and team spirits of the Guernsey people even through hardship makes it a real treat to read.

What's more, the book offers a rare glimpse into life at the end of the war and the way people made do with very little. The invention of the potato peel pie is one example of this resourcefulness.

While the original recipe doesn't sound appealing at all, creative chefs have taken the idea and adapted it to modern tastes and ingredients. Check out a delicious adaptation of this frugal recipe wartime below.

Guernsey potato peel pie recipe - For modern tastes

16. Gluten-free flatbread

Potato peels are starchy, and when blended become the perfect binding base for flatbread - no wheat flour required.

Serve warm with any toppings you like, such as sautéed vegetables, cheese, fried egg or leftover meats.

To make, put 2 cups of potato peels in the food processor and chop until fine - they should reach the texture of fine mulch.

Toss with a tablespoon of salt, and leave in a sieve for 20 minutes over the sink or a bowl. Squeeze out the mixture, until there is no moisture left. Transfer to a bowl, and mix in 2 beaten eggs and 1/4 cup rice or arrowroot flour.

Press into a greased baking tray, and bake at 425°F for around 15 minutes. Brush with melted butter, and continue baking for another 7 minutes until the edges are crisp, and the bread is firm.

17. Potato peel art

Nearly everyone has made a stamp using potato halves. But what about using the peels for crafting, too?

To make simple potato peel stencils, gather the peels of several peeled potatoes. Either use the peels as they are, or modify their shapes using scissors. You can use a hole punch to put holes along the peels (this would make a great caterpillar stencil), or cut zig-zag edges.

Now, place the peels on a piece of paper, and use paint, spray paint, or glue and glitter to decorate over and around the stencils.

Remove the peels, and let the paint dry. Voila! Frugal and natural stencils without spending a cent.

18. Potato peel dressing for burn wounds

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Potato peels as burn dressing have been a natural home remedy for a long time. You can find several personal testimonies of its effectiveness, saying that it reduced the redness and burning considerably.

But you may be interested to know that science backs up this easy and natural cure. Researchers have discovered that potato peel dressings can be even more effective than other remedies.

One study even argues that due to potato peels' availability and low cost, its use should be encouraged in developing countries, rather than using expensive medical supplies.

Of course, the potato peel method should be used carefully, and never for very severe or deep wounds. But there's no harm in keeping a couple of spuds around for a bit of relief.

To make a potato peel dressing, either apply the peelings directly to the skin and fasten with a cloth bandage, or crush using a mortar and pestle and apply directly to the skin before putting a bandage on top.

19. Make potato water

The leftover water you get when you boil potatoes or potato peels is a useful ingredient in its own right.

Added to gravies, sauces, soups and broths it gives an earthy flavour and the thickening properties of starch to whatever it's used in.

A traditional addition to baked goods, the gluten in potato water helps bread rise, cakes stay soft and gives bread rolls extra flavour.

It's wonderful for watering plants, soaking tarnished silverware in or washing skin. And you can sprinkle it onto dry dog food to give some extra nutrition to your pet.

To make potato water from your leftover peels, simply boil them for 10 minutes in a pot of water. Remove the peelings, and throw in the compost, then let the water cool before using in recipes.

Potato water bread

Boil your potato peels and use the resulting starchy water to make delicious bread.

20. Potato peel gratin

Use those leftover peels to make a creamy, crispy gratin. If you're already peeling potatoes for another dish, save the peels for this decadent and comforting recipe.

It uses easy to find ingredients that you probably already have on and - eggs, cream and sharp cheese transform those potato peelings into something amazing. Click here to see the recipe and watch the accompanying video.

Potato peels as sustainable fuel

Some big companies have discovered just how versatile potato peels are. Both McCain and Heinz have pledged to use the peelings as a biofuel source to reduce their emissions by up to 20%.

Which potato skin idea a-peeled to you the most?

erunuevo on July 08, 2014:

oohhh fun! i'm making booze this weekend!

asereht1970 from Philippines on May 04, 2014:

I would like to try Hide Grey Hair and Potato peels in your Beauty Regime. Thanks for the tips. Nice lens.

Merry Citarella from Oregon's Southern Coast on October 28, 2013:

The crisp skins sound yummy! Using them in meatballs too! Great, thorough lens. I learned a lot.

Ikey4088 on May 13, 2013:

Great lens, I'm a bit slow on the potato peeling game, 1min 38secs was the best I could do.

Delia on May 01, 2013:

Hard choice, there are so many...I like the hair color one, it's interesting. I have learned so much from your food lenses, of all the different uses for fruits/vegetable...Thanks for sharing!

InfoCoop on March 23, 2013:

The hair coloring looks very interesting. I have quite a few grays.

hntrssthmpsn on March 18, 2013:

I think the DIY invisible ink did it for me, though homemade potato booze sounds pretty interesting, too. We're usually a leave-the-peel-on house, but now I feel like we may be missing out...

sukkran trichy from Trichy/Tamil Nadu on March 16, 2013:

fantastic, informative lens. thanks for introducing useful ideas on potato peels.

hovirag on March 14, 2013:

I have to try dying my hair with potato peel - and some more of the recipes here!

LouisaDembul on March 12, 2013:

I am going to try to hide my grey hair with the potato peel recipe!

Wendy Leanne from Texas on March 10, 2013:

Wow, can you really use potato peels to hide gray hair? I've started using a demiperminant hair color to hide my gray. I think I'll give the potato peels a try in a few weeks after my color fully washes out.

Vicki Green from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA on March 09, 2013:

Wow - who knew there were so many uses for potatoes and potato peels. I'll have to try some of these ideas.

kabbalah lm on February 25, 2013:

I didn't know there were so many things you could do with potatoe peels

anonymous on February 22, 2013:

Wow this is a terrific lens so full of ideas will bookmark this to come back and read again. Need a bucket full of skins to get rid of my grey hairs now. thanks again for this.

RedHairedRockHead on February 20, 2013:

I like the idea of using potato water in baking and for drinking water for pets. My cats always wanted to drink the water the potatoes were in while I peeled, now I know why!

Loretta Livingstone from Chilterns, UK. on February 19, 2013:

Wow, what an interesting lens. I use potatoes to thicken soup and give it better flavour but I never thought about using the cooking water. And my compost heap may be going short of potato peelings now. So many yummy things to do.

Loretta Livingstone from Chilterns, UK. on February 19, 2013:

Wow, what an interesting lens. I use potatoes to thicken soup and give it better flavour but I never thought about using the cooking water. And my compost heap may be going short of potato peelings now. So many yummy things to do.

RetireAt57 on February 10, 2013:

I need to use it to cover grey hair! But all ideas are great. I will try one of the recipes

Takkhis on February 04, 2013:

Thanks for sharing, a lot to learn from this lens.

BarbaraCasey on January 25, 2013:

Tremendously interesting lens. I love learning new stuff.

Vikki from US on January 13, 2013:

Wow! That's some cool things to do-I had no idea about most of them ;)

Rosetta Slone (author) from Under a coconut tree on January 05, 2013:

@anonymous: Wow! Thanks so much for teaching me a use I hadn't heard of! Potato peels are truly amazing.

anonymous on January 05, 2013:

Nice lens, and some great ideas! I have used potato peels to "draw out" tiny splinters that you can't get with tweezers. My wife got one in her finger this summer and I told to cut a piece of potato peel and put it into the band-aid. Just a few hours later the splinter was out, on the potato peel.Thanks. Also lensrolled it.

ComfortsOfHome on December 26, 2012:

Wonderful ideas! I've always composted my potato peels (except new potatoes - those get the skins left on) but hated to 'waste' all that goodness.

rwhite10 on December 24, 2012:

I have peeled a lot of potatoes over the years and never thought of anything except sending them down the disposal. Great lens. Very informative.

MichaelJoeNess on December 21, 2012:

original and brilliant. Pinned it to my pintrest for later reference.

miaponzo on December 15, 2012:

Loads of great potato information here.. but I am DEFINITELY going to try the potato skin grey hair cure :) Blessed!

romainekelly on December 12, 2012:

Cool lens, I will try seasoning my wok this way and will definitely try out on my skin as well.

DeepaVenkitesh LM on December 11, 2012:

wow, I got this through the forum, loved every line and ideas. Shared for ever.

Niagara Ghosts on December 09, 2012:

What great ideas! I thoroughly enjoyed this lens:-)

Judith Nazarewicz from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada on December 09, 2012:

I had no idea that potato peels could be used for so many things. What a great lens!

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on December 09, 2012:

You really know well your potato. Thanks for all these ideas.

WriterJanis2 on December 08, 2012:

A lot of them. I never knew there were so many good uses. Blessed!

Rosetta Slone (author) from Under a coconut tree on December 08, 2012:

@LiteraryMind: Hmmm, not sure I'd re-use the same peelings for my pans and hair. But I'm glad I inspired you!

Rosetta Slone (author) from Under a coconut tree on December 08, 2012:

@peterb6001: You can use it to brighten & smooth your skin, without having to burn yourself to experiment :)

Rosetta Slone (author) from Under a coconut tree on December 08, 2012:

@dumpstergourmet: Kitchen scraps have amazing potential. I recently made vinegar using pineapple skins that were going to be thrown out!

Ellen Gregory from Connecticut, USA on December 08, 2012:

The pan seasoning. I have been seasoning an iron pan the old fashioned way --oil and salt in the pan and bake it. It stinks up the house with fumes and it hasn't kept the food from sticking. This is great I can boil potato skins in my frying pan, season it and then dump it on my head to get rid of grays. Great lens.

Itaya Lightbourne from Topeka, KS on December 08, 2012:

I like the part about using the peelings to tint gray hair! Who knew?! Angel Blessings. :)

Peter Badham from England on December 08, 2012:

Very interesting, I don't want to burn myself but I do want to try a potato skin on a little one.

SassyGie on December 08, 2012:

A very insightful lens! I love mashed potatoes

Heidi Vincent from GRENADA on December 08, 2012:

Wow! I did not know that a simple potato has so many uses! Excellent lens!

KitchenExpert LM on December 08, 2012:

All great ideas! I know that potato peels are actually the rich part of the nutrition as well.

aliciamaggie54 on December 08, 2012:

This is neat:) I did not know that you could use the peels in so many ways. I like the way about using peels as an alternative to breadcrumbs.

dumpstergourmet on December 08, 2012:

OMG!!!! I've been wanting to research this for so...SO long! I'm thrilled about vegetable broth, Potato Milk Jam, the Alcohol...oh my goodness, EXACTLY what I've been looking for! My husband and I are dumpster divers, so we end up with a LOT of discarded foods and always try to make the most out of every thing - because we're cooky and just interested in it. I started doing Apple Cider Vinegar with apple peels and was so sure that I could be doing something with all the potato peels. I'm so excited about this! Thank you!

shawnhi77 lm on December 08, 2012:

Wow, whoever knew there was that many uses for potato skins. Wonderful lens.

Helene-Malmsio on December 08, 2012:

waaaay to many great ideas on this page for me to pick just one!!! I absolutely love all the tips you have packed in here - a favorite to keep visiting often!

oztoo lm on December 08, 2012:

Who knew the humble potato had so many uses!!