Potatoes: Green Means Stop
By Chad Upton | Editor
If you eat potatoes, in any form, you’ve probably come across a partially green one.
Most importantly, don’t eat the green part — it’s toxic enough that you may get very ill, and it can cause death in rare cases. Secondly, it’s very bitter, so you’re not going to enjoy it. French fries and potato chips are also affected, so avoid the green stuff there too.
The green coloration is chlorophyll. Like many other plants, chlorophyll is formed with enough exposure to certain types of light. Of course, many green leaves are part of a healthy diet, so it’s not the chlorophyll itself that is the problem.
Exposure to light can also cause another reaction that forms a substance called “solanine.” It is not related to chlorophyll, but is often formed at the same time. Solanine is toxic. 16 ounces of a fully green pototo could be enough to make a 100lb person sick.
The green chlorophyll is a good warning about the presence of solanine, but solanine can form when chlorophyll does not. So, even if the potato looks normal, the bitter taste will serve as a warning.
Cooking a green potato will not help, it’s still toxic. But, a cooked potato cannot turn green since the required enzyme mechanisms are destroyed in cooking.
Bottom line: if it’s green or bitter, skip it.
Photo: Selva / Eden (cc)