8 Odd Things You Can Do With a Potato

Potatoes are one of the world’s most common, and most beloved, vegetables—and they can be used for much more than just sustenance.


Potatoes come from a nightshade plant called Solanum tuberosum, which blooms with white, pink, red, blue, or purple flowers. In the late 1700s, in an effort to inspire their starving subjects to plant the newly introduced vegetable—which the Spanish had brought to Europe from the New World—Marie Antoinette wore potato flowers in her hair, and her husband King Louis XVI wore Potato: A History of t... John Reader Best Price: $5.95 Buy New $39.00 (as of 05:20 EST - Details) them in his buttonholes. This inspired potato flowers to be a favorite of the French nobility for a time, but the ploy didn’t work: The lower classes spurned the upper class’s efforts to get them to farm the crop.


If you’re in a lurch, or perhaps a doomsday prepper, start stocking up on potatoes now. With just a few household items—wires, some copper, and a zinc-coated nail—and one of the tubers, you can power a clock, a light bulb, and many other small electronics.

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In 1995, the potato became the first vegetable grown on the space shuttle. Raymond Bula of the University of Wisconsin spearheaded a project in which five Norland variety potato leaves were propagated in space. Bula’s research group monitored this project from Wisconsin, staying in constant contact with NASA, who stayed in contact with the crew on the space shuttle. When the shuttle arrived home, everyone was pleased to find that the potato plants not only survived the ordeal, but actually grew potatoes.


Gardeners can insert rose cuttings into a potato, and then plant the entire potato like it were a seed or bulb. The nutrient-rich potato helps provide moisture and sustenance to the growing plant, giving the cutting a better chance to survive.

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