How can I reuse or recycle … old potatoes?

PotatoesI bought a big bag of “reduced for a quick sale” potatoes a few of weeks ago and despite eating a good number of the starchy tubers, there are a few left at the bottom of the bag going quite, quite green.

Potatoes are one of the few things that grow in our clay-y north-facing garden so normally I’d happy plant out old ones and wait for new potatoes to grow in their place but with the weather as it is at the moment, I don’t fancy their chances if it gets suddenly frosty – or my chances of not being blown away and/or drowned while trying to dig a hole for them.

So are there any other things I can do with them instead of planting them out/winging them into the compost bin?

(Photo by lusi)

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27 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle … old potatoes?”

  1. Adam says:

    You could try and cut them out into some stamps to do some crazy painting with, if they’re not too mushy/smelly already :)

  2. Cut them in half, scoop out the inside and put them cut side down in the garden to attract slugs.

    Chop them up and put them in a compost bin/wormery.

    Cut off the green bits, boil and mash them, and put them t for the bird.

  3. Anonymous says:

    We made stamps with them as kids…

  4. Sjur says:

    I hope you don’t live in Norway. It’s illegal to plant potatoes bought for eating (because of the danger of contagous potato diseases) here :)

  5. Iota says:

    You can make beer from them! If I were making a beer from them, I’d use them up to 20% of my grain bill, so like, 8lbs of Barley and 2lbs of cooked, peeled, and cubed potatoes. Then proceed with normal brewing proceedure–yum potato beer. Of course if you add a high powered yeast and mash the mixture out at 145 F or so, and run the fermented lot through a still, you’d have some potato vodka..

  6. icleander says:

    Put toothpicks in them and set them over a glass of water. They’ll sprout and be ready to plant when spring comes

  7. Dale says:

    Peel all of the green away, what’s left is safe to eat. Compost the green parts. Plant certified seed potatoes, Sjur is right about potato diseases.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t distilling illegal?

    > and run the fermented lot through a still, you’d have some potato vodka

  9. deb says:

    Cooked potatoes sprinkled with a little salt store quite well in the freezer for long periods of time. this is a good method for any fresh food thats bought in bulk.

  10. Sarah says:

    Plant them in pots in a greenhouse.

  11. Rosalind says:

    Cooked potatoes store best as soup – make it thick to save space and thin down before eating. You can grow new potatoes from the eyes – this is common practise in America – so you could actually eat AND grow the same greenish potato. WARNING, those who are unaware: any green bit of potato or potato plant is poisonous, especially for pregnant women.

  12. Jenny says:

    I might have got this wrong, but I vaguely remember being told that potatoes were useful for cleaning stuff – like a cut edge of potato can clean up grubby oil paintings (just remove the slime after with a soft, clean cloth), and potato cooking water an be used to clean up silver… I think…

  13. Sack36 says:

    Potatoes are basically starch. You can use them to starch cloth.

  14. Ryan says:

    don’t sweat rubbish, it will decay in the landfill and mix well with the topsoil

    • Shorty says:

      Nothing decays in a landfill. For vegetable matter to decay, it has to be exposed to air and water and turned regularly. Landfills just bury it under tons of trash. I once found a newspaper in a dump from ten years ago that was still easy to read. Landfills suck.

  15. Keith says:

    I put 170 pounds of old potatoes next to the furnace after my landlord negated on an ownership settlement. Brings about the smell of sweet vengeance.

    Insinkerator told me one or to can be chopped and used to clean the garbage disposal……I still wonder….

  16. Mable says:

    Potato peel broth is great for restoring the alkaline levels in your body (I wouln’t try this with green potatoes, though). But, if this doesn’t sound too appetizing :) use the (cooled) water you boiled your potatoes in as a plant “pick-me-up” – a lot of nutrients are left when the potatoes cook and it’s a great way to boost their vitamin/mineral levels (not to mention recycling the water! ;)

  17. Phillip says:

    That is a very good question. I have been looking for a recipe for potato flakes or potato flour to no avail. It seems that the process is quite complicated but wouldn’t that be a great solution.

  18. karen pawson says:

    I have put old spuds in a binliner as suggested by a top tv chef. they are growing up , very green but someone said they are dangerous to eat!! Virus’s or something!! Is this true?

  19. karen pawson says:

    Do I need to get a life? Are they poisonous? They are growing from an old bag of uneaten from a local store, Thought I would be self sufficient this year. They had eyes and looked at me asking to be recycled!!!

  20. asrai says:

    Green potatoes are not harmful unless you eat A LOT of the green stuff.

    This has more details:
    What happens is light hits the potatoes and they start doing their naturual plant thing and make chorlophyll, which ends up making solaine which is toxic (but according to some of my research if you have a heatlhy amount of vitamin C in you, you’ll be fine, plust you have to eat 4 lbs or something of straight green potatoes to be affected).
    So the moral of the story is: keep your potatoes in a cool, DARK place (but not your fridge).

    Only seed potatoes are considered disease free.

  21. clm says:

    Karen, they should be fine, as long as the bag is dark plastic- when potato tubers are exposed to light (such as the ones that this thread started about) produce a chemical called solanine that is toxic in large quantities… it also makes the potatoes bitter, so you probably wouldn’t eat them anyway. The virus that Sjur mentioned is a plant virus, not something that would affect people- the restriction in Norway is to protect agricultural interests, not a public health concern (unless, say, someone unwittingly introduced a potato blight- ask the Irish if this is a public health problem… heh). Enjoy your home grown potatoes!

  22. karen pawson says:

    Thanks for your comments. But does anyone else need to say anything. Only 2 peoples comments is a tad un reassuring! although they are convincing. dont want any idiot comments. only genuine replies please. may seem daft but educated to a high standard!!

  23. karen pawson says:


  24. karen pawson says:

    aggh yes get a life you can now google me about my spuds!!! now signing off. dont care about them anymore. My Tomatoes and parsnips are doing so much better!

  25. Shorty says:

    I don’t recommend planting them from the sprouts that come out of the potato. When you do that, there’s no actual reproduction, it’s just a copy of the parent potato, so if you do that over generations and generations of said tater farming (like the Irish did before the potato famine) the potatoes will be inbred and have no immunity to certain diseases or fungi. That’s also why pedigree dogs often have more chronic or aggression problems than mutts, because of inbreeding. Even though growing the potatoes from sprouts doesn’t take so long, growing them the other way makes for a heartier tater.

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