What causes green potatoes, and are they safe to eat?
Potatoes are specialized stems of the potato plant, and when exposed to light, will naturally turn green. The green is nothing more than chlorophyll, a harmless compound found in all green plants. However, when potato tubers turn green there is usually an increase in a glycoalkaloid compound called solanine. Tubers with a high concentration of solanine will taste bitter and can be harmful if eaten in large quantities. To be safe, it is best to not eat green potatoes. Consequently, it is important to store potatoes in the dark to prevent greening.

If you grow your own potatoes, keep the developing tubers covered with soil until harvest so they will not be exposed to sunlight and turn green. Tubers form along the stem above the “seed potato” used for planting. Plant seed potatoes in a furrow and cover them with 3 inches of soil. After the potatoes plants emerge and about and are about 4-6 inches tall mound loose soil against the lower portion of the stem so the see pieces will be covered with about 6 inches of soil.

 

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