Knowing Your Roots

Blog 13

People love potatoes!  They are fresh, healthy and full of nutrients; they are synonymous with comfort food.  Who can refuse mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving, fresh potato bars during winter or grilled potatoes in the summer?  Then there’s potato salad at picnics, potato pancakes with sour cream, and who can resist, fries with burgers. People love them all!

Interestingly enough, however, potatoes are now used for much more than just human consumption.  Log onto Pinterest and you can find many interesting alternatives for potatoes, like cleaning silverware, removing rust or creating homemade stamps!  

But, there are also larger-scale industry alternatives to potatoes, and their field and processed by-products.  The science and alternative uses of potatoes is exploding, and potatoes and their various byproducts are serving valuable industries to enhance other areas in our communities.

Did you know about these niche industries for potatoes?  Let’s explore some of them to see the exciting uses of potatoes.

High-end vodka produced from potatoes is becoming a cottage industry.  Stores and distilleries are inviting visitors to learn about the process and try these new flavors.  Wisconsin growers are creating distilleries with tasting rooms just to sample these new products.

Potatoes are being researched for their possibility in the medical and pharmaceutical fields, with possibilities of growing potatoes specifically for extracts to be used for medical purposes.  The antioxidant potential of potato skins is very real and may be valuable to the health care industry.

Potato starch byproducts are being used for disposable paper products and are great for our sustainable future—as they are totally biodegradable.  Potato starch is being used to make biodegradable bowls, cups, plates and packaging.  All these materials are able to be composted and 100% biodegradable, fitting our needs for recycling with minimal waste and providing a sustainable option for society.

Finally, potatoes are used as feed for the growth of other products.  Potatoes and their waste products are good sources of feed for beef and pork production.  Now that’s meat and potatoes together in a whole new way!

While consumers love potatoes and know how tasty they are, it is encouraging that there are other uses for potatoes and their various byproducts.  Entrepreneurs have developed great alternative uses for this produce we love, which helps limit waste products.

It is exciting to know that more advances and options will be developed in the future.  Potatoes, great for dinner, AND great for other uses too.

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