Can You Eat Sprouted Potatoes? Need to Know

by Shamsul
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Are Sprouted Potatoes Edible?

Sprouted potatoes are a sign that they are becoming toxic. However, they are not always unfit for consumption.

Potatoes are known for being a long-lasting vegetable. However, they always end up covered in germs after a few days. In this case, is it still possible to consume them? Is removing sprouts enough to eat potatoes? Or should they be thrown away immediately? In reality, the answer is not always simple.

Sprouts Are A Sign of High Solanine Content,

For good reason, sprouts have a high solanine content. However, this substance is potentially toxic to humans. Moreover, germs develop in nature to offer protection against animals. Eating sprouted potatoes can risks causing irritation to the digestive tract, vomiting, or even nervous disorders.

So, whenever you see sprouted potatoes, it’s worth remembering that they may be toxic. However, it is not always necessary to throw them away and avoid eating them. The concentration of solanine must in fact be significant to become toxic and dangerous for your health. So, it all depends on the condition of your potato.

Not All Sprouted Potatoes Are Unsafe To Eat

Sprouted potatoes are still good to eat if the sprouts are recent and the vegetable is still firm. In this case, you simply need to remove the sprouts with a knife before you can cook and eat the potato. On the other hand, if the sprouts are longer and resemble roots, it means that the vegetable is no longer suitable for consumption.

To avoid getting to this point, there are several tips to follow so that the potatoes do not germinate too quickly. These vegetables require rather specific conditions in terms of conservation. They particularly appreciate a dry, dark and relatively cool place, such as a garage or storeroom.

They should never be put in the refrigerator and, on the other hand, potatoes cannot tolerate heat. If it’s too hot where you live, one method is to place an apple in the middle of your potatoes. They should take longer to germinate.

Are you hesitant to eat a potato that is lying at the bottom of your vegetable drawer just because it has sprouted? Do not panic! Solanine poisoning, a toxin from the saponin family, is relatively rare given the frequent use in our diet.

Why Can A Potato Be Unfit for Consumption?

Potatoes can become toxic and unfit for consumption when they have significantly greened after exposure to the sun and a large quantity is eaten. Now, the question arises? Solanine, a toxin found in many vegetables.

What is Solanine? Does This Substance Represent A Danger?

Solanine, it is a natural substance present in many vegetables belonging to the solanaceae or the nightshade family such as tomatoes or eggplants – can be toxic to humans when ingested in high doses.

Solanine is a glyco-alkaloid (GA), a substance with a protective effect against certain diseases caused by fungi or insects, confirms an article published in August 2013 in the Swiss Medical Review. Mostly, solanine is present in flowers, leaves, sprouts and skin, and to a lesser extent in the tuber. Certain genetic factors, but also storage conditions, exposure to light or even bruises produced during harvest, can significantly increase the solanine content. A marked bitterness, or even burning sensations, can then lead one to suspect the presence of a high level of glyco-alkaloid, a substance usually imperceptible to the taste buds.

What Are The Risks?

Rest assured, the risks of dying from solanine poisoning by consuming potatoes that have turned green are extremely low.

Doses between 3-6 mg/kg body weight can be fatal. But, given the low concentration of this glyco-alkaloid agent in potatoes, you would have to eat several kilos of it in a single meal to die from it.  

On the other hand, it is entirely possible to experience digestive discomfort from a dose of 1 mg/kg of body weight.

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What are the Symptoms of Solanine Poisoning?

Symptoms of solanine poisoning most often occur within seven to fourteen hours of ingestion and can include vomiting, headache, and diarrhea. Clinically, after ingestion, several manifestations are classically observed and result from the acetylcholinesterase inhibitory action of solanine. Oropharyngeal disorders may appear, intense sweating, nausea, vomiting, headache and diarrhea – secondary to the cytotoxic action of solanine on the cell membrane, modifying intestinal absorption – sometimes with fever, or even a malaise, loss of consciousness and respiratory distress. Hallucinations, agitation and lightheadedness can also complete the clinical picture.

What is the Treatment for Solanine Poisoning?

The treatment of solanine poisoning is primarily symptomatic. “We will prescribe antispasmodics, antiemetics against vomiting and analgesics to relieve any abdominal pain,” confirms Doctors.

Are Potato Sprouts Toxic? Can I Eat Potatoes That Have Sprouted?

It is entirely possible to eat potatoes that have sprouted.

As a precaution, remove the sprouts using a knife or peeler, then peel the tubers and remove the greenish parts if necessary.

Wash carefully and cook as usual.

Peeling the vegetables well eliminates all traces of solanine; cooking does not eliminate it, in general, since it only disappears at a temperature greater than or equal to 243°C.

Can We Eat Soft Potatoes? Are They Still Edible?

Are your potatoes no longer fresh? No worries. Here too, the risks of poisoning are rare. Soft potatoes do not present a health risk, according to health specialist. On the other hand, the fact that they are soft indicates that their nutritional quality is less.

How to Prevent Potatoes from Germinating Too Quickly? Where to Store?

To prevent your potatoes from germinating too quickly, don’t to wash the potatoes, the soil that covers them allows them to be keep for longer. Store them in a dry place sheltered from light, for example, in a canvas bag in a basement or storeroom.

Tomatoes and Eggplants: what are the Risks of Solanine Poisoning?

Besides potatoes, solanine is also found in eggplants and tomatoes. Solanine disappears when the fruit or tuber reaches maturity. Eating a green tomato is not going to cause serious problems. Symptoms only appear when a person eats too much. In short, you just need to be a little patient to enjoy the best that nature has to offer!

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