Green Potato Myths and 10 Steps to Safe Potato Eating

| 9/4/2015 4:19:00 PM

Tags: potatoes, green potatoes, safe eating, local food, Pam Dawling, Virginia,


Mulched potato plants

For several years we have had problems with our June-planted, October-harvested potatoes having too many green patches. I’ve been researching what to do, and sorting myth from reality. How poisonous are green potatoes? How can we get fewer green patches on our potatoes? How should we deal with green skin when we get it?

The Facts about Green-Skinned Potatoes

Why do potatoes turn green? The green is chlorophyll, caused by the potatoes being exposed to light. Chlorophyll is not poisonous. But the same conditions that promote chlorophyll production also increase the formation of solanine, which is poisonous. So the green is an indicator of likely trouble, but is not trouble itself.

Potatoes can also have dangerously high levels of poisonous solanine without being green. This can happen if the potatoes are diseased or damaged, or they are stored in warm temperatures, or they experience a spring frost and make only stunted growth as a result.

Solanine is one of the potato plant’s natural defenses against diseases such as late blight, and against pest attacks.

9/4/2015 7:54:15 PM

I just kept my green potatoes in the garage over the winter, planted them in spring, and harvested 80# of potatoes mid-summer.

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