While rummaging through your pantry, have you ever found a sack of potatoes with roots or sprouts? Do you toss them or believe they are still usable? Many people believe you should never use potatoes growing roots mainly because these sprouts make them poisonous. Is it true? Let's find out more about it.
Can You Eat Potatoes with Eyes?
When a potato grows eyes (or you can say sprouts or roots), know that it is almost bad. That happens because potatoes growing roots have glycoalkaloids that can change your body's ability to regulate a chemical called acetylcholine that is responsible for conducting nerve impulses.
It is essential to understand that potatoes actually produce a variety of glycoalkaloids, and Solanine is the most common of them all. Exposure to solanine can cause food poisoning. Since it is a neurotoxin, it can also cause many other symptoms, including diarrhea, vomiting, hallucination, headache, shock, and more.
Fresh potatoes also contain this neurotoxin, but most children and adults can tolerate it in smaller quantities. Still, it can cause joint pain in some sensitive individuals. The sprouts or roots of a potato contain a high concentration of this neurotoxin that can be dangerous for healthy individuals as well. So, does that mean you should discard such potatoes?
It actually depends on the overall condition of a potato. If it is still firm, it means it still have the nutrients and can be consumed after removing the sprouted part. Under no circumstances should you be eating a potato that has sprouts and is wrinkled or shrunken. The same holds true for potatoes with green patches below or on the surface of the skin – it also indicates a high concentration of solanine.
How to Store Potato to Avoid Growing Roots
As you have gathered the fact that potatoes growing roots are not always bad, but it is still a good idea to avoid eating them. One better idea is to take special precautions when storing potatoes to avoid having potatoes with roots. When buying them, ensure they do not have any roots sticking out of them. They should also be firm and free of any wrinkles. Once you bring them home, consider the following tips for proper storage.
Store them in a dark place. You should ensure that where you store your potatoes is in a dark and dry place. Any exposure to moisture or light can make your potatoes go bad in no time. Therefore, it is better to store potatoes in cellars, basements, or out-of-the-way kitchen cabinets.
Store potatoes in a way that there is no restriction for air to pass through them. They are less likely to go bad if they are well ventilated – so you should never use airtight containers to store potatoes.
Consider layering potatoes in ventilated boxes or wicker baskets. You should place a page of newspaper after every layer. There should be a paper at the top layer as well.
Never wash potatoes before storage. You are only going to shorten their shelf life by exposing them to moisture.
Pay special attention to the temperature because it can affect the storage life of your potatoes. You will be better off storing them at temperatures no higher than 10C. It is even better to store them at a temperature between 2C and 4C. That is why your cellar and basement are the best places to store potatoes. Do not store them in refrigerators because colder temperatures can affect their taste.
Be sure to check potatoes regularly for spoilage. Even after taking steps, you may still have some spoiled potatoes in the sack. It is important because a bad potato can easily infect the others too. Therefore, you have to find and remove these potatoes to ensure the rest stays in a good condition. You should get rid of potatoes with sprouts, roots, and green patches on the skin.
Avoid keeping potatoes near fruits. Many fruits such as pears, apples, bananas, etc., excrete ethylene, which encourages ripening. The excretion of this chemical may accelerate the process of potatoes growing roots. So, be sure to store your fruits somewhere else.