How Potato Water Can Save Runny Mashed Potatoes

Potatoes are as versatile as they come. You can bake them, mash them, form them into gnocchi, turn them into bread, shoot them out of a spud gun, use them as a battery in your science experiment, and a whole host of other things. We all know how to cook potatoes, but being so desirable, it's no wonder people are even after its bathwater.

Now, potato water may sound useless and weird, but it is actually just as versatile as potatoes themselves. Think of it like the La Croix of potatoes, except cheaper and with many, many more uses. To prepare potatoes, they are often peeled and then boiled to soften them up. The water that they are boiled in is what we are calling potato water. (Note: This is probably not how they make La Croix.) 

According to The Spruce Eats, the water, along with its new essence of potato, is full of starch, which thickens the water and allows for it to be used in cooking. Potato water can only be used for about 24 hours after being made, so it has a short shelf life, but what a life it can lead.

The many uses of potato water

Just as there's a game-changing ingredient you should add to mashed potatoes, there's a potato byproduct you shouldn't throw out. Thickened, starchy potato water can now essentially be used as a healthy dairy substitute. Vegans and gluten-free peoples, rejoice. The water is most often found in recipes for potato bread (via The Spruce Eats), but is just at home used as a milk and butter substitute for the fluffiest mashed potatoes this side of the dairy industry. It is especially beloved in stews and soups that require a bit more cohesion, as it can act to thicken up soups and even sauces, like gravies, per Cookist.

Of course, you could also buy potato starch at a supermarket, but why not just make some potato water instead? It can even be frozen to be used for later, superseding its 24-hour window before turning bad. Little House Living even states that it is safe for your pets to consume and can be used as a simple fertilizer. So remember, if you find yourself with too much potato water and no more "veganified" recipes to conquer, make sure to give your garden a taste of that starchy water as well.

Because of these properties, this miracle elixir can even save runny mashed potatoes. After all, it's full of starch, a natural stabilizer. Add it to your mashed potatoes little by little and continue mixing and mashing until you've recovered your dinner's side dish (via Little House Living).