What to Do with Sprouting Potatoes?

Written by Camilla Jessen

May.23 - 2024 6:30 PM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
Here's how to deal with sprouting potatoes.

Trending Now

Sprouting potatoes often raise the question of whether they are still edible or should be thrown away.

Many types of vegetables release harmful substances when they sprout, which can lead to food poisoning in the worst-case scenario. However, not everything has to be discarded after it has sprouted.

Potatoes naturally contain small amounts of solanine, a glycoalkaloid that can be toxic in high quantities. When potatoes sprout, the concentration of solanine increases, especially in the shoots and peel. Consuming high levels of solanine can lead to symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and headaches.

Steps to Make Sprouting Potatoes Safe to Eat

Inspect the Potatoes:

  • Small Sprouts: If the potatoes have small sprouts (less than 1-2 inches) and no green discoloration, they can generally still be consumed.

  • Large Sprouts and Green Areas: If the potatoes have large sprouts or significant green areas, it’s best to discard them as the solanine levels may be too high.

Remove Sprouts and Green Areas:

  • Cut Generously: Remove all sprouts and any green or discolored areas. Solanine concentrations are highest in these parts.

  • Peel Thoroughly: Peeling the potatoes can help remove some of the solanine, which is concentrated in the skin.

Cook Thoroughly:

  • Cooking Method: Cook the potatoes thoroughly. While solanine is heat-resistant, cooking reduces the overall risk by ensuring any remaining solanine is consumed in smaller, less harmful quantities.

  • Avoid Raw Consumption: Never eat sprouting potatoes raw, as the solanine is more potent and can cause adverse effects.

Proper Storage to Prevent Sprouting

To extend the shelf life of your potatoes and prevent sprouting:

  • Cool, Dark Place: Store potatoes in a cool, dark place, ideally between 45-50°F (7-10°C).

  • Avoid Light: Light exposure increases solanine production and can cause potatoes to turn green.

  • Ventilation: Ensure the storage area is well-ventilated to prevent moisture buildup, which can accelerate sprouting and decay.

Most Read