Potato starch is for much more than cooking. You can make a healthy and simple baby powder with no chemicals. There are also 5 more healthy uses for you and your family you may not have thought of.
An old remedy, my mother-in-law introduced me to it when my first born was 3 weeks old. The diaper creams did not help and the diaper rash was getting worse. I even used the more expensive health food store powder version. She went into the kitchen and cooked up some potato starch, and I have never looked back. This is by far the best baby powder hack that I have come across. His rash all but vanished within 24 hours. But it is so much more than baby powder, so let us research.
What is potato starch?
Potato starch, or potetmel in Norwegian, is produced by grinding and drying, you guessed it, potatoes. Most notably it is used in the kitchen, much like cornstarch, to thicken sauces. It also makes baked goods more spongy. There are many commerical food applications such as potato chips, gummy candy, pasta, instant soups, and to prevent grated cheese from sticking. Lately, the gluten-free movement has brought potato starch back in the mainstream as a substitute flour. There are no additives normally, and you can purchase one free of other allergans, like Bobs Red Mill Potato Starch. The Norwegian brand Hoff also makes a natural version. Look at the label, you want to see only potato starch.
Potatoes also have more vitamins and minerals than their corny counterpart, especially vitamin C and potassium, which in addition to anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities, make them healthier. Below is the reasoning behind using potato starch as baby powder, and 5 other healthy uses.
I use potato starch with no additives as baby powder. That is it. There is no need to use anything more. Body powders containing talc have recently been linked to (and awarded multimillion dollar settlements!) for causing ovarian cancer in women. Not good.
I have also tried cornstarch based powders, but they are not the same. Cornstarch also creates a different smell from the diaper. Potato starch is odorless and free of additives.
Baby Powder is for adults too! Use it to prevent chaffing in skin folds. The extra step of drying out the potato starch really helps make this extra easy to use and apply. Done and done.
- Potato Starch, about 1/3 cup
- Large Skillet
- Baking Paper, one sheet
- Spice Container, washed
- OPTIONAL 2-4 drops essential oils of your choice
- We want to dry the potato starch out as much as possible.
- Set pan to very low heat, 2/10, and cover with baking paper. Sprinkle potato starch on the baking paper and move around with the spatula every couple minutes, sometimes the paper. It should take about 10 minutes to become a silky powder that sprinkles all over like stardust. Depending on your home humidity, this may take longer or shorter. Let cool, then use baking paper to funnel into your container.
- OPTIONAL: Some people like scented body powders, and you can add 2-4 drops of your favorite oil or a combination. An example would be peppermint for summer coolness, or lavender for relaxation. I however, think that this step is unnecessary.
5 other uses for Potato Starch
1. DIY Anti-Everything Face Mask
1 TB potato starch, 1 TB milk, 1 TB egg white, 1 tsp lemon juice. Combine well and apply to face, leave on 10 minutes, then remove with warm washcloth. The potato starch helps control oil and gives a vitamin boost. Milk exfoliates, lemon juice brightens, and the egg white tightens the skin.
2. Blister Prevention
You can use potato starch to prevent chaffing on other parts of your body, why not your feet? Heels in the summer without hose can be a blister bummer. A little potato starch smoothed over feet and ankels can help create an invisible barrier again the blister. Or if it is too late, it can help to heal the blister faster.
3. Anti-Oil Spill
Sometimes you spill some oil on yourself, and your nice sweater. Get out your potato starch and sprinkle over the stain before washing. The potato starch will help lift the oil out of the garment. This is especially useful for textiles you cannot wash easily, like a rug or a couch.
4. Kisiel: Semi-Instant Pudding
This is a Polish desert recipe we had often as kids. Now I make it for my family. You can have added sugar, or not, depending upon taste, but here is a basic recipe.
Heat 2 cups / 500ml fruit juice or homemade fruit kompot to boiling. Add 4 TB potato starch, pre-thinned in a little water. Alternatively, you can combine 2 cups water with 2 cup fruit and 4TB sugar, and boil for 2 minutes. Take off heat, and wisk in the starch for about 30 seconds, or until combined. Pour into individual ramekins and cool. You can add some whole fruit pieces at this step. Eat when stiffened, but the texture will still be a jelly pudding. Feel free to experiment with the proportions to your liking. A dollop of whipped cream elevates the desert.
I suppose you already know this, but it deserves a mention. Potatoes are healthy. In addition to protein, vitamins, and minerals, they contain a resistant starch. As a prebiotic, potato starch helps our gut flora stay healthy. Our body does not digest it, there therefore it does not raise blood sugar levels. It is converted into butyrate by gut bacteria, which reduces inflammation and promotes normal cell functioning. By using potato starch instead of flour and butter, your sauces have never become healthier. Just remember to add it towards the end of cooking, liquifying the powder first with a little cold water first.
So there you have it. Go to the shop and buy some potato starch, or you can purchase Bobs Red Mill Potato Starch which I have used and recommend. You can prevent and heal diaper rash, make a revitalising face mask, a healthy dessert, prevent blisters, and help heal your gut.
Please comment below any other things you use potato starch for. Now try it! Doctors orders.
Disclaimer: I am a doctor but I am not your doctor. Diaper rash can be complicated by a bacterial infection, and this sometimes needs to be treated with medication. Please consult your doctor when in doubt. Do not use if contact with skin causes irritation. This post contains affiliate links.
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