Do you have to throw away sprouting potatoes?
This has probably already happened to most of them: If potatoes remain on the kitchen shelf for a longer time after purchase, they will develop germs for a longer or shorter period of time. Do you have to dispose of the potatoes? Or is it enough to simply remove the germs and then you can eat the tubers as usual?
It depends on the length of the germs
Whether you can still eat sprouting potatoes depends on how far the germ formation has progressed: If the sprouts are no longer than a few centimeters and the potato itself is still relatively firm, you can eat it without hesitation. If you peel the potatoes and cut out the germs generously, this significantly lowers the content of poisonous solanine.
If the tubers are already wrinkled and the germs are longer than a finger’s breadth, the potatoes should no longer be eaten. This also applies if the potatoes are largely green.
What is the problem with sprouting potatoes?
Potatoes are nightshade plants that produce the poisonous substance solanine in order to protect themselves from predators. This heat-resistant toxin is found in areas that have become green, the skin and the dark “eyes” of potatoes as well as in the germs themselves. In higher concentrations, solanine makes the potatoes bitter.
Solanine is only harmful to health if it is consumed in large quantities. Then symptoms of intoxication such as a burning sensation in the throat and stomach or intestinal problems can occur. Because children are often more sensitive to potential toxins than adults, they should best eat potatoes peeled.
This is how to prevent potatoes from sprouting
Sprouting can be delayed if the potatoes are stored in a dark, cool place – preferably in an unheated, but frost-free, airy cellar. In addition to temperature, exposure to light also plays a central role in the formation of germs: Potatoes should be stored in complete darkness if possible. They should also be kept separate from apples – because apples emit the ripening gas ethylene , which promotes budding.