Ask Auntie

Are green potatoes safe to eat?

Q. I’m having an argument with my boyfriend, he says that greenish coloured potatoes are bad for you, I think they are fine to cook and eat.

Are green coloured potatoes dangerous to eat?

Asks Katie in New South Wales.

A. You are both right actually Katie. You shouldn’t eat the green bits but the potato as a whole is probably absolutely fine. It all depends on how green they are really, are we talking about a slight tinge or a goodly amount of verdant greenness?

Green-tinged potatoes are usually the result of an overexposure to light, it causes an increase in certain glycoalkaloid levels. These glycoalkaloids are quite toxic and you really shouldn’t be eating them if you have the choice not to.

Just before I tell you that they are ok to munch on, perhaps I should be putting a legal disclaimer stating that we aren’t going to be held responsible if you choose to eat a green potato and suffer from any of the many ailments that they could potentially cause. You could be subject to headaches, nausea, fatigue or all manner of tummy troubles, but the reality is that it isn’t likely to happen from eating a small amount of slightly green spuds.

Unless your potato is really very verdant then you should be absolutely fine if you peel it (because the green bit is normally only on or just below the skin) and if that fails chop the affected region off

… BUT…

if the potatoes taste bitter after cooking then do chuck them away because they are not going to do you any good at all!

Should you be looking for a longer or more scientific answer then I reckon that when it comes to anything potato based the Irish seem a good people to ask, mostly beause I do like a cheap stereotype. The advice from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland can be found here: The FSAI on potatoes

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