Bad Potato Or Good Potato?

We’ve all come across green or sprouting potatoes, in our pantry, at one time or another.  Since I love potatoes, I tend to remove the sprouts and continue with my plan of creating a yummy meal, despite their appearance.  Do you do the same thing, or do you actually dispose of them, promptly?

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Are sprouting potatoes poisonous?

Image: panco971/Shutterstock

So are sprouting or green potatoes really poisonous? Or, are we worrying too much?

Let’s delve into the botanical structure of the potato and find which of the two scenarios is in fact true.

Since potatoes grow underground, most of us think of them as root vegetables, such as carrots, onions, yams and radishes; however they are a swollen stem known as a tuber, which remain underground after the plant above ground has died.  This allows the vegetable to survive the harsh winters, since they are protected by the surrounded soil.

The reason that potatoes are high in carbohydrates is because they need sufficient food to sustain them through the wintertime.

Potatoes have nodes on their skin, or peel, which would essentially give rise to branches or leaves, when sprouting above ground.  However, if the potatoes are exposed to direct light, in addition to the warmth of your home, it will give rise to sprouting shoots.  So keeping them in a cool, dark place is essential.

Are potatoes that have turned green, harmful?  They are not, and in fact, they are beneficial to you, because of the high quantities of minerals that have been created through chlorophyll production, which is the result of light exposure, and results in the deep green color, that is found in nutritious leafy, green vegetables.

The combination of light and warmth can also produce solanine, which is a chemical that can cause poisoning symptoms, such as nausea, diarrhea and vomiting; so it is advisable not to consume potatoes with the aforementioned, in high quantities.

So, if you find yourself with a bagful of green and sprouting potatoes, you have two choices: either plant them in your backyard, avoiding the risk to your health; or do as I do, and simply remove the few minor blemishes, as long as the potato is still firm and create a delicious meal.

Article: IFLScience