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Potatoes Green Inside: Here’s why and What you Can Do

You just came home after doing groceries, and guess what? The potatoes you bought are green inside. Are these potatoes still edible? 

Some potatoes are green inside. This happens when potatoes are exposed to light from the sun before they’re harvested. A green potato is not necessarily bad to eat. If it tastes bitter, cut out the bad bits and cook the rest. Truly green potatoes are pretty rare.

In this article, you’ll learn the reasons why some potatoes are green inside, how do they taste? Should you eat green potatoes? And can you get the potatoes to turn back to normal again?

Why are Some Potatoes Green Inside?

Potatoes Green Inside

The main reason why your potatoes turn green may be the potato was exposed to the sunlight. Penn State Extension says, “while potatoes like every other vegetable require sunlight to grow, excess of it may cause certain problems, one of them is the potatoes going green from inside.”

Due to excessive sunlight or any other light, chlorophyll and Solanine are produced in the potatoes. 

Solanine is generally found in all kinds of potatoes, most probably on the surface of the potatoes. Solanine is an uncolored non-harming poison having a sour or tart taste. It can compromise the digestion process and can also become a reason for numbness in huge amounts.

Solanine does not negatively affect the health of potatoes until it is too much. That is why you should peel off those tiny green spots immediately to avoid the effects associated with solanine.

But if that is still not working for you, consider getting rid of those potatoes.

Moreover, if the potatoes still aren’t tasting normal, avoid eating them. It doesn’t matter if you cut off the green spots or not. 

The green potatoes are quite unhealthy for your kids, but kids’ body immunity to digest the solanine is relatively poor.

What to Do With Green Potatoes?

There aren’t many options when it comes to reusing unwanted green potatoes. However, you can still use it if prepared properly.

Remove the green parts and cook

Removal of the green parts may not be as simple depending on how much of the potato has turned green. A peeling knife can be used to peel into the potato without taking off too much.

Additionally, the high heat during the cooking process will nullify the effects of solanine, making the potato safe to eat.

Add the Green Potatoes to a Compost

If you don’t trust the effects of solanine, composting is a good option to explore as it will reuse the potato and recover the nutrients from it.

The green potato will not cause any harm to the compost and the bacteria population within it.

Replant the Potato

Regrowing green potatoes are an easy way of reusing them where you get a second chance to ensure they emerge from the soil as desired.

The video below shows how this can be done.

Are Green Potatoes Safe to Eat?

If you need a simple one-word answer then NO!. If you want to know why? Let’s find out together. 

The potatoes which were disclosed to direct sunlight or any kind of light, have already become unhealthy, due to the production of solanine and chlorophyll. 

If the potato hasn’t turned that much densely green, you can cut off the tiny green spot and eat it.

But nowadays that’s quite a rare situation, a lot of potatoes that we see in the grocery stores today, I’m not saying always, but often they have already reached that harmful green level. If eaten, they can be very toxic for your or your kids’ digestive system.

But no worries because it takes more than one toxic potato to actually cause any trouble for you.

What does Potatoes with Green Inside Taste Like?

The taste? Potatoes that are green inside can be bitter in taste, due to a large amount of solanine present. You may be wondering that we are using the term “Solanine” repeatedly. 

That is because it is more responsible for turning the potato green inside than any other factor.

So how much is too much? The honest answer would be, it depends. It depends upon your body size and body tolerance. 

You wouldn’t want to test in on yourself, right? However, studies have shown that taking 2 milligrams per kilogram of your weight is enough to cause trouble, but this number can vary from person to person.

Potential Symptoms from Eating Green Potatoes:

An estimated amount of solanine should be 10% of the bodyweight to be actually harmful.

This effect can increase if the potato is excessively exposed to the sunlight. 

We are talking about the symptoms of green potato eating, which is fever, you may start having a headache, or your stomach starts hurting, you feel an unusual cold.

Eating potatoes that are green inside can also cause vomiting, difficulty in breathing, and slowed pulse. After mistakenly consuming the greener potatoes, if you are experiencing these issues, you should look for medical help immediately.

Peeling the Potato to Reduce Solanine:

Will peeling the potato decrease the solanine level? Yes, it will. Mostly, the solanine is found on the upper surface of the potato, which is why peeling it off does take down the risk of solanine toxicity.

Studies have found out that by peeling the green potatoes, 30% of the poisonous elements get cut off, but what about the remaining 70%? 

The potato flesh has the rest of the 70%, which means that even after peeling the potato, it can still cause trouble.

So how about we boil these toxic potatoes? Or bake them? Or fry them? No! That won’t make things any different. Depending on the color, you should decide how to move further.

How to Prevent Potatoes from Turning Green

Preventing potatoes from turning green starts with good gardening practices. 

The best practices for growing potatoes are:

  • Potatoes require deep, loose, well-drained soil that is free from stones. 
  • They need full sun. 
  • Plant tubers after danger of heavy frost. 
  • Plant them with the eyes up, 2 to 3 inches deep and 10 to 12 inches apart 
  • Plant in rows spaced 2 feet apart.

Since sunlight is the main reason for potatoes turning green you should ensure that they are planted such that they are not exposed to sunlight during the growing period. 

If you find harvested potatoes turning up green try planting them a bit deeper than the 3 inches.

Additionally, mounding more soil on top of already sown potatoes can prevent any penetration of sunlight onto the potato.

Planting with shade crops can also help with preventing sunlight from causing the chlorophyll formation and the green color it causes on potatoes.

Storing Potatoes To Prevent them from Going Green:

As you know, the sunlight causes the potatoes to turn green inside, so the simplest course of action would be to keep potatoes away from the sunlight. 

There are several methods to prevent potatoes from going green.

Highly recommended methods are:

  • Try putting them in the house basement, to provide them with a cold and darker environment.
  • The ideal cold temperature is 40 to 50 Fahrenheit.
  • Keep a fair distance between the potatoes and any electronic item that emits heat like a fridge or something.

To make sure that the potatoes do not interact with the light at all, you should always put soil surrounding the potatoes.

How Long Can you Store Potatoes?

Although potatoes tend to last a long time, precisely how much time? When will they finally start spoiling or turning green inside? 

The time taken by potatoes to spoil varies from situation to situation, especially depending on how good they are stored.

Like a simple uncooked potato will start spoiling after a week to a month, but relatively cooler places extend their fresh lifetime. 

A cooked potato may stay fresh for 4 days in a fridge and for over a year in a freezer, but the quality will surely drop.

Meaning that you can store potatoes for over a year with proper methods at the maximum, or else they will start turning greener, and then you know the drill.

Can Green Potato Turn Normal Color?

Unfortunately, the green potatoes can’t be turned back to normal. However, there is one thing you must know the green color is not the problem, the problem is the solanine. You can simply reduce the solanine level by peeling the potato, as you all know.

But that technique is viable for small green spots only. If the potato has turned densely green or has become bigger and deeper, then the best you can do is throw it away to avoid any complications.

The Takeaway

In the end, it all depends on you. First of all, you must be careful while buying potatoes. But if you have bought green potatoes mistakenly. Carefully follow the instructions provided above to make the best use of those potatoes.

Furthermore, storing potatoes is a good idea to keep them intact for long, and stop them from going green inside. But the expert instructions must be followed for the best results.

Green potatoes are harmful. But a single potato can’t do much damage, as its solanine level is not that much to cause problems, so if you happen to have eaten one by mistake. Take it easy. It is no big deal. Thanks.

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