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Don’t Eat the Green Ones: How to Tell If Your Potatoes Are Poisonous

Don't eat the green ones! (Image: stallio/flickr)
Don't eat the green ones! (Image: stallio/flickr)

Have you ever noticed that your potato is turning green? This is the potato’s reaction to light. It is also an indicator that the potato is developing a toxic substance called solanine within

Solanine poisoning is rare these days. It most often occurs in famines, where people are desperate for food and don’t have any choice over the quality of the vegetables they eat.

When vegetables go rotten or moldy, they contain different types of toxins. Other foods to be aware of are: tomatoes, bok choy, ginger root, tea leaves, and sweet potatoes.

How ‘green’ do my potatoes need to be to be dangerous?

This is a question I’ve been asking myself, because I’ve discovered many shades of green in my potatoes—from a light tinge to a vivid green. Here’s my recommendation:

If a portion of your potato is green, no problem, just cut off the green parts and it’s good to eat.

If your potato has a slight greenish tinge, it’s probably okay as the green is just chlorophyll at this stage. In this case, peel your potato well until it looks whitish-yellow.

However, if the majority of the tuber is green, it’s probably best to just throw it.

Keep safe

Potatoes do have a use by date. Too keep them fresh and safe, you need to keep them in a cool and dark place—a canvas potato bag in your pantry is ideal.

A specialty material bag for safe potato storage (Image:kelleboo/flickr)

A specialty material bag for safe potato storage. (Image: kelleboo/flickr)

Never buy green potatoes from the grocer. Choose firm potatoes with no sprouts.

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