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Can we eat sprouted potatoes? (query)

Sprouts are good for health but not sprouted potatoes, here's why!

Written by Bhavyajyoti Chilukoti |Published : September 16, 2015 7:47 PM IST

Recently, when I went for shopping, I heard two ladies talking about potatoes. One of them said that eating sprouted potatoes can cause digestive complications, while the other said that it is ok if you remove the sprouts and cook them. Can we eat sprouted potatoes? If not, why? I am really worried.

Dr Swati Dave, Dietician & Nutritionist, Ahmedabad has answered the question.

Yes, a sprouted potato is not fit for human consumption because these sprouts are nothing but a warning that indicates that the vegetable has undergone a chemical reaction and thus, is not healthy to eat.

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These sprouts arise from the eye-shaped depressions on the skin of potatoes. When they sprout, the starch present in them is converted into sugar, and thus, mature (over-ripe) potatoes become soft because the carbohydrates are converted to sugars. But this in turn causes the production of two alkaloids namely solanine & alpha-chaconine. Off the two, solanine is considered to be toxic even in small amounts. Hence, it is recommended that potatoes with a light green skin should not be eaten. And if you find green patches on potatoes, it is better to cut away that specific portion before cooking. However, care should be taken not to eat the green portion in large amounts, as it might cause food poisoning or illness.

As far as the sprouts are concerned, if the potato is firm, even if it has sprouted then one can eat it by removing the sprouts. Because according to research, most of the nutrients are still intact if the vegetable is firm. But if the potato is shrunken or wrinkled and has sprouts, it is better to throw it away.

In order to prevent sprouting of potatoes, here are some expert tips you need to keep in mind.

  • In general, potatoes have a shelf life of 5 7 months as they have 78% water content. And thus, it is important to place them in cool, dark and airy space for long-term storage.
  • Storing potatoes in damp places may trigger sprouting, avoid keeping them away from direct sunlight or humid environment.
  • Plastics bags are a strict no-no as a storage material for potatoes as it might lead to sprouting. Instead store them in perforated paper bags or open vegetable basket.
  • And lastly, never store potatoes in the refrigerator as the starch might get converted into sugar giving the potatoes a weird sweet taste.

Hence, if the potatoes have a greenish tint on their skin, are wrinkled or shrunken or have lots of sprouts, there are not suitable for food preparations.

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