Is It Safe to Eat a Sprouted Potato?
Should You Eat or Toss Away Potatoes That Are Growing Sprouts?
Discovering that your potatoes have sprouted when you're in the middle of making dinner is frustrating on a good day. Should you run to the store for more? Should you eat them anyway? Should you just give up and order a pizza? Here's the scoop.
When It's Safe to Eat a Sprouted Potato
The good news is that potatoes are safe to eat even after they've sprouted, so long as they are still firm to the touch and they don't look too wrinkly and shriveled. Most of the nutrients are still intact in a firm, sprouted potato. You can simply remove the sprouts from a firm potato and continue on with your recipe. There's no need to change your dinner plans.
As a potato sprouts, it converts starch to sugar to feed the new potato plant that will grow from the erupting sprouts. At the beginning of this process, you may find soft spots around what used to be the eyes and are now the sprouts. Just remove the sprouts and any soft spots and your potato should be fine to use.
When Not to Eat a Sprouted Potato
As the sprouting process progresses, the potato begins to shrivel as more and more starch is converted to sugar and used in the growing sprouts. A wrinkled, shriveled, sprouted potato will have lost more of its nutrients, and it won't be very palatable. Bottom line: your recipes won't turn out the same, so it's best not to use your potatoes.
But What About Toxins in the Potato Sprouts?
Solanine and other glycoalkaloids are present in potato plants and in the eyes and the sprout growth of a potato tuber. They're toxic and can give you a headache, vomiting and other digestive symptoms if you eat enough of them. This is why you want to remove the sprouts and eyes before you eat the potato. Solanine is concentrated in the eyes, sprouts and skin, but not the rest of the potato. So long as you remove these, you're unlikely to feel its effects.
If your potato has a green skin, be sure to remove the skins before you eat the potatoes.
How Can You Keep Potatoes from Sprouting?
Are you constantly finding sprouted potatoes in your pantry? It's essential to keep your potatoes in a cool, dry place for longer storage. Potato growers may treat their potatoes in various ways to keep them from sprouting, but if you buy organic potatoes or grow your own, you may need a few tips and tricks to make them last longer. Follow these storage suggestions to extend the storage life of your potatoes by weeks (or even months):
Adding a few new potato recipes to your dinner line up will also help you to use your potatoes up before they have a chance to sprout.