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Is It Safe to Eat Green Potatoes?

The experts weigh in on whether you should toss green potatoes or eat them.

<p>Simply Recipes / Adobe Stock</p>

Simply Recipes / Adobe Stock

Every once in a while, I’ll find a potato in my pantry with a greenish tinge, and I’m never quite sure if it’s OK just to cut off the green part and eat the rest or if I should compost the entire spud. Here’s what the experts say.

The Experts Weigh In: Are Green Potatoes Safe To Eat?

The green in potatoes is chlorophyll, a naturally occurring compound that signifies the potato has been exposed to light.

“The chlorophyll that gives potatoes the green color is not harmful. However, the green portions may also signify other compounds that, if consumed in large quantities, may be harmful to humans,” says registered dietitian Amy Bragagnini, a national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

These compounds are called glycoalkaloids and include a natural toxin called solanine. The largest concentration of solanine is found in potato skins and around the eyes of the potato where it starts to sprout.

“Consuming large quantities of solanine may lead to gastrointestinal complications including diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, and sweating,” says Bragagnini. “Given the bitter taste of a green potato, I suspect it would be difficult to consume enough solanine to make one sick.”

To be on the safe side, peel the potato and trim away the green portions. After that, be sure to cook the potato to help lower solanine levels even more.

“As the toxic glycoalkaloids concentrate in the green portion, if the green area is small, you can peel the skin and cut off the green bits,” suggests Rui Huang, Ph.D., student representative of the Institute of Food Technologists’ Fruit and Vegetable Products division. “However, if the green color takes up a large area, it is better to discard or compost it.”

<p>Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Getty Images</p>

Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Getty Images

The Best Way To Store Potatoes So They Don’t Turn Green

To keep your potatoes from turning green and sprouting, it’s best to store them in a cool, dark, and dry place to avoid chlorophyll formation.

“After I purchase the potatoes, I place them in a dark paper bag and keep them in my pantry,” says Bragagnini. “Before placing them in the pantry, I cut holes in the bag to encourage air circulation.”

She also recommends only buying the number of potatoes you plan to eat within a few days. “The longer the potato sits out and is exposed to light, the higher the chance you will have a green potato,” she says. “And if you are anything like me, I hate throwing food away.”

Is It Safe To Eat Green Potato Chips?

What happens when you reach into a bag of potato chips and find that some are tinged green? These were made from potatoes that were exposed to light and contain glycoalkaloids. You don’t need to toss the whole bag, but you may want to skip the green chips.

“As long as you do not eat a lot, it is safe, but try to avoid eating the green portion,” says Huang.

Bragagnini agrees. “Consuming a few greenish potato chips is likely fine. However, if the entire bag has many green potato chips, I recommend finding a new bag of chips.”

Read the original article on Simply Recipes.