Are Green Potatoes Safe To Eat?

In most kitchens, potatoes are a reliable and stocked staple that has repeatedly proven to compliment most any dish, soup, or casserole.  However, if potatoes are not used in a sufficient timeframe, they can often turn green, indicating the possibility of a high level of what could potentially be a toxic compound.

If you find that your potatoes have turned green, you should not eat them unless you take specific precautions first.  You will need to cut away all of the green areas, as those are the areas that contain solanine—a poisonous compound.

The chlorophyll contained in green potatoes in itself is not harmful. It may instead indicate that other transformations are going on within the potato itself—poisonous transformations.  The most notable is the formation of solanine, which happens when the potato becomes exposed to light.

Image: Eat By Date

Solanine is also seen to be present in the sprouts, roots, and leaves of potatoes.  Solanine is a neurotoxin substance, and if ingested, can lead to headaches and nausea.  The substance is naturally present in all potatoes, most commonly located in the upper one-eighth inch of the vegetable’s skin.  It is both colorless and presents with a bitter taste.

If an individual were to ingest a large number of green potatoes, they would run the risk of suffering from solanine poisoning.  It is vital to remember that when the levels of solanine are higher than 0.1% in any potato, the vegetable is not suitable for consumption, and anyone who eats it could become very ill.

Some of the symptoms of solanine poisoning can present as:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Pain in both the stomach and abdomen
  • Diarrhea
  • Lowering of body temperature
  • Vomiting
  • Slowing of pulse
  • Slowing of breathing

If you believe that you, or someone you might know, has ingested green potatoes and has become a victim of solanine poisoning, you must seek immediate medical attention.