Want to live a long and healthy life? Skip the French fries.
It probably comes as no surprise to learn that French fries are bad for you, but you may not have realized exactly how bad they are for you. A new study looked at potato consumption and found that those who eat fried potatoes as little as two times a week double their risk of death compared to those who pass on the fries.
That's bad news for the millions of Americans currently consuming roughly 78.5 pounds of processed (i.e. fried) potatoes each year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. So what else can you do with potatoes rather than use them to super-size your next meal? Here are 13 fabulous (and much healthier) suggestions:
Cut a potato in half and carve out a design on the fleshy end. It can be a flower, your initials, a heart, a rainbow — you name it. There's no limit to the designs you can choose. When your carving is complete, dip your potato in paint and use it to stamp out your one-of-a-kind canvas. When you're finished with that design, simply slice it off and start anew; you have a fresh slate of a potato to work with.
Polish the silverware
Want to clean up your fine silver without all of the chemical scrubbing? Boil a few potatoes in water until they're soft and ready to eat. Set the potatoes aside (for dinner, perhaps?) and place the silverware in the potato water. Allow it to sit for at least an hour. Remove the silver and wipe dry to remove the tarnish.
Clean rust off of your household appliances by using a cut-up potato. The acids in the potato can help dissolve the rust while the skins add their scrubbing power to help wipe it away. For tough jobs, add some soap or salt to the end of the potato to get a deeper scrub.
Depuff your eyes
Rough night? Thinly slice a cold, raw potato and lay the slices on your eyes for 10-15 minutes.
Clear your goggles
Whether you use ski goggles, a diving mask, safety glasses or swim goggles, potatoes can help prevent the fogging and smearing that make it difficult to see. Just rub the fleshy end of a raw potato over the lenses, wipe dry with a clean cloth and your goggles should stay crystal clear.
Shine your shoes
Want to pump up your next shoe shine? Rub your shoes with a raw potato before you apply the polish. You'll be looking at some next-level shine when you buff those babies dry.
Heal an ouchie
Heat up a baking potato in the microwave for a few minutes, wrap it in a linen towel and then apply it to sore muscles as you would a heating pad or hot compress. Would cold feel better? Stick that tater in the freezer and do the same thing. Some people also swear by relieving headaches by rubbing temples with a raw potato or using potato juice to heal bruises, insect bites, cuts or burns.
Desalt your soup
Did you get a little heavy-handed with the salt in your latest recipe? Throw in a few chunks of raw, peeled potato and allow them to sit for 10-15 minutes. Remove the potato chunks (and save for another dish such as potato salad) and your soup should be good to go.
Balance your bouquet
Who needs florist foam when you can use a potato to stabilize your flowers? Cut a spud in half length-wise, place the cut-side down at the bottom of the vase and press stems directly into the flesh.
Potatoes are excellent stain removers and they can safely be used in a lot of ways around the house. Use them on your hands to remove the stains left behind by beets or berries or blot them into carpet or other fabrics to clean up stubborn spots. Add some salt for extra scrubbing power for particularly troublesome stains.
Handle a broken light bulb
Remove a broken light bulb by pressing one half of a potato into the fragment and using it to turn the bulb and remove it from the socket.
If you've got a lot of time and taters on your hands, you can use them both to whip up a batch of homemade booze. This video will walk you through the steps.
Don't pass on the potatoes just because the fried variety is less than healthy. Boiled, baked, steamed, or sautéed, potatoes serve up a low-calorie source of vitamin C and vitamin B6, manganese, phosphorus, niacin and pantothenic acid. They are high in fiber and help to fill you up. Plus there are loads of ways to enjoy them (try these double-baked potatoes, these oven-roasted spuds, or this yummy curry for starters.) So serve them up with your next meal — just don't fry them, okay?