Saving Potato Water
Sounds kind of yucky almost.
You wouldn't think of it but it's actually a pretty awesome thing.
So why on earth would you save potato water for? I mean you cooked the potatoes and that's what you used the water for. Don't you just drain it like pasta? Well, you could, but you'd be missing out. Turns out there are many things you can use potato water for.
Turns out even Ma Ingalls knew about this little kitchen secret:
"While Ma made the gravy Laura mashed the potatoes. There was no milk but Ma said, "Leave a very little of the boiling water in, and after you mash them beat them extra hard with a big spoon." The potatoes turned out white and fluffy...."
Potato starch is very similar to milk or water mixed with flour. It acts as a thickening agent. You can even buy dried potato starch to have on hand if you don't regularly make it. For those allergic to corn or wheat, or for anyone who is following a gluten-free lifestyle, it provides a suitable substitute for a flour or cornstarch thickener. We use it quite often in our All Purpose Gluten Free Flour since it's fairly inexpensive.
You can also use it to add to breads or soups in place of regular water. In the case of soups it will thicken the broth and it also adds in vitamins that were in the potatoes when boiled. It's kind of like getting a freebie vegetable supplement in with whatever you are making!
Adding potato water to breads will give them a nice texture and some added flavor versus just adding plain water.
You can also use potato water to make a basic gravy without having to add any thickeners. Just pour the hot potato water into another saucepan, add some drippings or broth for whatever meat you are cooking, add a bit of salt and pepper and heat on the stove until thickened. You can always add a little more dried potato starch or cornstarch if you want it even thicker.
Potato water can also make a nice, simple fertilizer for your plants. If I don't plan on using it in a recipe I will usually cool it and pour it out on my garden plants. (Do not add potato water that you have salted to plants.)
If you don't care to use the potato water you could also give it to your animals. Add it to your chicken scrap pail, pig slop pail, or even pour it over your dog or cat's food to give it some extra nutrients.
If you don't plan on using it right away you can always freeze it for later use. If you only want to store it for the short term you can keep it in a glass jar in the fridge until you need it but it will only store for up to a week.
If you are interested in learning just which nutrients are in potato water, you may want to check out this article. Believe it or not, potato water is a great source of B Vitamins, Vitamin C, and Potassium!
There are so many products we use everyday that we might otherwise just toss out with the compost. If this is something you love to do too, here are some articles that you should read!
- Banana Peel Fertilizer
- Uses for Banana Peels
- Homemade Pancake Syrup made with Apple Peelings
- Uses for Apple Peels
What dishes would you save potato water for? What do you use it in?
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