What do you do with the water after you’ve boiled potatoes for a recipe? Most of us simply toss it down the drain. Apparently, we should actually be saving the potato water instead.
It might sound a little strange, but just how pasta water is often referred to as “liquid gold,” potato water has its own starchy goodness. But it has the extra benefit of more vitamins and minerals than you typically find in pasta.
The researchers at Potatoes USA cite ample amounts of helpful things in potato such as vitamin C, which many of us know works as a powerful antioxidant while boosting our immunity. Potatoes are also filled with more bloat-blocking potassium than a banana! You’ll also find protein, B6 vitamins, and iron packed inside the spuds — all of which seeps out as you boil them, turning the water into a nutritious liquid.
You can get all of those health benefits by using potato water in different recipes. According to the Spruce Eats, it works great as a gluten-free thickener in things like gravy, soups, and stews instead of flour. Want mashed potatoes but ran out of milk? Follow Ma Ingalls’ lead from Little House on the Prairie, which the New York Times quotes for their two-ingredient mash recipe: “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 the big spoon.’ The potatoes turned out white and fluffy.” And, of course, the starchy water is commonly used to add texture in potato bread recipes.
But we aren’t the only ones who can benefit from using the nutrient-rich potato water. Merissa at Little House Living recommends adding a splash to your dog or cat’s food for a healthy pet treat. You can also use potato water to quench your garden’s thirst (as long as you didn’t use salt while boiling the tubers). The Gardening Cook claims flowers and vegetables “love potato starch” because they can soak up all those vitamins and minerals poured into the soil.
If you don’t want to use potato water immediately after boiling spuds, Merissa from LHL suggests saving it for about a week sealed up in a jar in your fridge. You could also freeze it to make it last for weeks, thawing it out as needed.
Either way, we will certainly never waste another drop of starchy potato water again!