General Question

skfinkel's avatar

Is it true that the green part under the skin of a sprouting potato, not good to eat?

Asked by skfinkel (13511points) April 7th, 2011

I’ve heard this is true, but it doesn’t make sense. So I would like to bake these potatoes, but there is some green under the skin. I assume, even if the green is not good for you, if you peel it off, the potato is fine.

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7 Answers

KateTheGreat's avatar

It’s perfectly fine. As long as they are not extremely green, you can eat them.

downtide's avatar

Even if you leave it, it wouldn’t harm you. In theory it is toxic (as are any green parts of a potato plant) but in such small qualitities that you’d have to eat a LOT of green potatoes to make yourself ill.

WestRiverrat's avatar

If the potato was picked after a frost, its flesh may have a spot of greenish tint near the skin. This indicates a spot of frostbite. It won’t hurt you if you eat it. This will show up occasionally in a bag of potato chips, as a dark spot.

Growing up in high school I lived just down the road from a potato farm, the field was right next to our house.

skfinkel's avatar

Thanks, all!

Buttonstc's avatar

Not to be unduly alarmist as some of this is a judgement call, but the green indicates the presence of solanine, a toxic compound. It develops along with chlorophyll in response to exposure to light.

The amount typically contained in a baking potato is enough to sicken a 100 lb. Person according to recent research quoted in a NY Times article.

Since some of the effects of solanine can be neurological, I prefer to err on the side of caution.

The majority of the solanine is found in the skin and immediately under it with very little in the rest of the potato flesh.

If I’m baking the potato, I just scoop out most of the flesh leaving a bit of margin near the skin. Or otherwise I peel them.

If I get a bag from the grocery with most of them green tainted, I’ll return it.

I just figure that with all the other pesticides and food additives out there gunking up
our food, many of which we can do little about, if there’s one which I can eliminate with very little effort, why not.

That’s my personal take on it.

skfinkel's avatar

This is what I thought I had heard rumored. If true, obviously, it would be easy to avoid. Thanks again.

Buttonstc's avatar

Yeah. It is definitely true. I can’t do links from iPhone but that Times article will be somewhere on the first page in a search.

Last Fall I had occasion to check this out thoroughly when I bouht a bag of potatoes at a farm stand. There was one potato in it that was really really huge. I was visiting with a friend of mine at the time who really loves eating the skins on baking potatoes.

But this one huge potato was extremely green all over as well. Needles to say, after we checked it out, the skin on that one ended up in the garbage :)

But the rest of it tasted great :)

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