Greetings, and thanks for visiting my blog! Well, as you can probably guess from the title of this blog, things took a very strange turn during Memorial Day food preparation at the House of Karlsson. See, Mr. Karlsson had decided to reprise his role as "Best Unknown Pitmaster in this or any other state" and smoke a rack of ribs, so I decided to make my deservedly not famous potato salad. While I was peeling a couple pounds of Russets, I remembered something that I had said to a lady at the Wimberley Arts Festival a couple of weeks back. I remember she had asked if I knew a good way to clean silver without using harsh chemicals, and I told her my standard recipe for taking the tarnish off of silver (which I think I'll have to do a separate blog about, because it's cool and it really does work on a lot of things), but I also mentioned that she could use the water she had boiled potatoes in, and it would take the tarnish off after soaking for about thirty minutes. I had read it on the internet AND seen it in a book of home remedies, so I figured it must be true.
Now those of you who know me know that I am not one to leave things untested, and the more I thought about it, the more it bugged me. WHY ON EARTH would soaking your silver jewelry in potato water remove tarnish?! The idea is that potatoes contain small amounts of oxalic acid, which will (allegedly) eat away at dirt and tarnish. I had vague recollections of seeing some special on PBS back before the internet was invented about this sort of thing, so I decided that since I would be boiling potatoes anyway, I figured I'd give it a shot. I used as my guinea pig a fine silver pendant that I wear all the time, and it was spectacularly grungy.
I boiled my peeled potatoes and let the water cool for a few hours, then went to work. According to several sources on the internet and the home remedy book sitting on my bookshelf, there was no set time for how long the tarnished object should soak, but the agreed upon minimum was twenty minutes. So saying, I rigged up my necklace on a spaghetti fork and lowered it into the cooled potato water like it was in a bad James Bond movie. "I don't expect you to talk, Mr. Bond, I expect you to detarnish! Ha ha ha haaaaa!" I waited and... well... as you can see, the results were less than stellar.
In the midst of all this, I remembered I had a couple of tarnished candle holders that were sterling silver plate, so I decided to test one out in the potato water. It worked marginally better to loosen the tarnish, but I still had to really scrub on it with a paper towel to get it off. I concluded that potato water or anything involving potatoes was probably not going to be an effective method of cleaning silver. Oh, well. At least I got potato salad out of the deal. More importantly, I got some of the best smoked pork ribs outside of Memphis!
I guess the moral of the story is don't believe everything you read on the internet or in home remedy books. I'm kind of bummed that this didn't work, because it would have been safe for cleaning turquoise jewelry and pearl jewelry, two things I make a lot of. Oh well. Once again, thanks for reading, and I hope you learned something from my failed experiments! And now for the time-honored tradition of a Tosca Q Puss photo! Until next time!