Healthy Eating

Green potatoes: are they safe to eat?

Green potatoes

Often, when we go to the mart or shopping malls to purchase grocery, we see green potatoes. Are they safe to purchase and consume? At times, only certain potatoes in the lot are green in color or only some regions of the skin of these potatoes are green. You wonder whether you should take those or leave them. You get confused and more so if the potatoes are prepacked. Dietitian Toby Amidor has answers to the confusion.

Green potatoes

Normally, potatoes are white in color inside and have a light brownish or reddish peel covering it. But at times, the peel and the inside have a greenish hue to them. The white potatoes have a lot of fiber, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and antioxidants. But what about the green potatoes? Do they have these nutrients and what is the amount of them? Can one consume them safely? Are there any side-effects on the body of consuming such potatoes?

Green potatoes
Potatoes with green skin areas (Source: Britannica)

Normally, plants produce chlorophyll when there is sun exposure. But this is provided the sunlight is direct on them. When the plant parts are underground such as in the case of potatoes. the sunlight can impact it differently. It produces certain other substances in it as well that can be a problem for the body. Amy states:

“Another compound called solanine is also accumulating,” 

“Potatoes with a high concentration of solanine will taste bitter and are harmful when eaten in large quantities.”

Solanine and its harmful effects

Solanine is not good for the body. Eating it will not kill you. But consuming it can cause adverse symptoms in the consumer such as headache, vomiting, tummy pain and even loose motions. And cooking the potato and its green part does not destroy this chemical and hence the effect would be seen even in cooked potatoes that are green. Further Amy warns:

“It’s recommended that in order to be safe, you should not eat green potatoes or the green parts of the potato”

Green potatoes
Greenness of potatoes is not good for health (Source: Pinterest)

Discard any green potato that is present in the bag of potatoes that you purchased. Amy adds:

“If there is only a small amount of green on the potato, you can cut around it and eat the remaining potato”

But despite that, to be on the safer side, it is best to throw away the green potato into the bin or better to compost it. It does not make healthy eating. As per Amy:

“The potato will not cause harm to the compost or bacteria within the compost,”

Tip to avoid greening of potatoes

Also, read Making Potatoes Au Gratin

One cannot have control over greening of potatoes in the farms. But after purchase, one can avoid their greening by proper storage. Improper storage can worsen the greening. Amy provides this solution:

“Potatoes tend to turn green mainly due to improper storage. It’s recommended to store potatoes in a cool, dry, dark place where there is minimal light and no fluorescent light.”

Green potatoes
White potatoes (Source: Pinterest)

It is best to avoid purchasing such potatoes or return them back if you discovered them on return to your home. There are yet no laws against sale of such potatoes.