Green potatoes are notorious for tasting bad – everyone’s been told not to eat them! But what if you accidentally threw some in with your regular potatoes for dinner? Is it still safe to eat green potatoes or should you just throw them out? Read on to find out the answer!
1. What Are Green Potatoes?
We’ve all seen green potatoes, but can you actually eat them? That’s a common question and it turns out green potatoes actually have their own set of benefits and drawbacks. They can contain toxins and also unhealthy levels of certain nutrients, however they can be a great source of dietary fiber and complex carbohydrates.
- Source of dietary fiber: Green potatoes are rich in dietary fiber, which helps promote regular bowel movement. It also helps maintain blood cholesterol levels and keep the body healthy.
- Rich in complex carbohydrates: Green potatoes are also rich in complex carbohydrates, which can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. They can also help reduce hunger pangs and promote a feeling of fullness.
- Contain toxins: Green potatoes contain glycoalkaloid toxins which can cause stomach discomfort and nausea if eaten in large amounts. Glycoalkaloid toxins can also be toxic and lead to organ damage.
- Unhealthy levels of certain nutrients: Green potatoes can also have high levels of certain nutrients, such as nitrates, which can be unhealthy for humans. They can also contain higher levels of carbohydrates which can be unhealthy for those with diabetes.
Overall, green potatoes can be eaten, however it is important to be aware of the benefits and drawbacks. Eating green potatoes in moderation is key, and it is also important to take precautions such as avoiding green potatoes that may have been exposed to large amounts of fertilizer or that have an unappealing texture.
2. Is It Safe to Eat Green Potatoes?
Many people are confused about green potatoes, as there seems to be conflicting advice available. We want to provide you with some clarity on this topic so you can ensure that you are safe when eating green potatoes.
- What Does It Mean If Your Potato Is Green? Color changes in potatoes occur when the potato is exposed to either sunlight or fluorescent lighting for extended periods of time. The green color is a result of the formation of chlorophyll that occurs under these conditions.
- Effects of Eating a Green Potato Green potatoes contain a toxin called solanine, which is a member of the glycoalkaloid family. These toxins can produce a bitter taste and, if consumed in large amounts, can cause nausea, stomach cramps, headaches, and paralysis.
It is important to note that solanine is also present in the leaves, stems, and flowers of certain plants, such as tomato and eggplant. Therefore, eating small amounts of green potatoes is generally considered safe.
When shopping for potatoes, avoid those that have green skin, as the color could indicate the presence of solanine. You can also reduce your risk of consuming solanine by discarding any potatoes that have visible cuts, cracks, or black spots.
In most cases, potatoes with a slight hint of green color should be perfectly safe to eat if cooked properly. The best way to ensure that you are consuming safe potatoes is to cut away the green parts before cooking.
In conclusion, green potatoes are usually safe to eat, but it is always best to double check the quality of the potato before consuming. If you are unsure, it is best to avoid eating it and opt for a fresher potato.
3. Why Do Potatoes Turn Green?
Potatoes are known for turning green when exposed to certain light sources. More specifically, the presence of chlorophyll in potatoes that have been exposed to increased light triggers green discoloration that can lead to potentially unsafe levels of toxins. Read on to learn more about why and when potatoes can turn green and if you can eat them in such conditions.
- Light: Potato skin can take in various types of light which then causes the green chlorophyll to form.
- Temperature:Potatoes can also turn green when exposed to warm temperatures if there are certain levels of nitrates present in the soil.
- Storage:If potatoes are stored in the wrong conditions such as the heat, light and humidity,they can turn green.
The presence of green on potatoes indicates that they contain glycoalkaloids, which can produce a bitter taste and cause illnesses such as nausea, vomiting, and stomach cramps. Therefore, it is generally not recommended to eat potatoes that have turned green. Even if you peel off the green parts, the remaining potato flesh can still contain solanine, another glycoalkaloid, and eating any part of a green potato can be dangerous.
It is important to inspect potatoes before bringing them home from the grocery store, discarding any potatoes with green skin or green flecks on the inside. If you are storing potatoes at home, keep them away from other fruits and vegetables that may emit ethylene, a gas which can speed up ripening and eventually lead to green discoloration. Finally, potatoes should be stored in dark, cool and dry places and never in the refrigerator or warm spots in the kitchen.
4. What Can You Do with Green Potatoes?
If you’ve come across green potatoes, you’re probably wondering what you can do with them. The good news is, you can still eat them! Keep in mind that not all green potatoes are edible. If the potato is still firm and has just started to turn green, you can cook it. If they’re turning yellow or going soft, it’s time to give them a toss.
To cook green potatoes, start by scrubbing them under cold water to get rid of any dirt and germs. Next, cut away any green pieces on the skin. The green surface has a bitter taste, and can make the potatoes unsafe to eat. Your potatoes are now ready to cook. Remember that they still need to be cooked properly, as green potatoes take a bit longer to cook than regular potatoes.
Here are some ways to try green potatoes:
- Bake: Preheat the oven to 400°F, then place the potatoes onto a tray, season with salt and pepper, then bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the potatoes become golden brown and crispy.
- Mash: Boil the potatoes for around 20 minutes, then mash with some butter for a rich and creamy texture.
- Roast: Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut potatoes into cubes, then spread onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and your desired seasoning. Roast for about 25 minutes, or until golden and crispy.
Green potatoes also make a great addition to soups and stews. Boil potatoes until soft, then add them to your pot of soup or stew for an extra burst of flavor.
Finally, don’t forget that green potatoes aren’t safe to eat raw. If you’re looking for a snack, skip the green potatoes and head for some carrots or apples instead.
5. How to Avoid Buying Green Potatoes?
It’s true, green potatoes can cause an upset tummy if eaten as they contain higher levels of solanine – a toxic compound found in the skin and stems of potatoes. But there are also ways to avoid buying green potatoes in the first place.
- Check the skin – Green potatoes will tend to have dark green or even purple skin. Check the potatoes for signs of greening before you take them home. Don’t be fooled by ones that look normal but have dark spots, as this is a sign of bruising.
- Check the eyes – Green potatoes will also have eyes that are more yellow-brown than regular potatoes. Despite this they can still look very fresh, so make sure you take a closer look at the eyes.
- Check for sprouts – Green potatoes will tend to have more visible sprouts and ‘whiskers’, and the texture of the skin will be tougher. Do a careful inspection for any signs of sprouting before buying them.
- Look for new potatoes – New potatoes (ones that are smaller and don’t need to be peeled) are often available year round, and can be less likely to turn green. Check with the store to make sure they still have fresh, new potatoes.
Getting green potatoes can also be avoided by buying organic potatoes instead. Organic potatoes are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, and are also less likely to turn green. Lastly, no matter what potatoes you buy -make sure to keep them refrigerated at all times. This helps to reduce the likelihood of them turning green.
We hope this article has given you all the answers you need about green potatoes. At the end of the day, because of toxicity concerns, consumption of green potatoes is not recommended. It’s always best to be safe than sorry and stick to good-quality potatoes!