Can You Eat Green Potatoes UK?

Can You Eat Green Potatoes UK

Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, which means that Buzzy Kitchen earns commission from purchases made – at absolutely no extra cost to you. Thank you so much for supporting Buzzy Kitchen!

How many times have you cut into a potato only to realise that the inside of it wasn’t the beige/off-white shade you’re used to seeing, but green instead? But what’s the difference between green spuds and regular-coloured spuds, anyway? Can you eat green potatoes UK? Are they safe to eat? If not, why not?

Why don’t we take a closer look and get you some answers?

Can You Eat Green Potatoes UK?

It is not recommended to eat green potatoes.

Green potatoes also taste quite bitter, so you probably wouldn’t want to eat them. That doesn’t mean you need to throw the whole potato out, however.

If the potato has only partially turned green, you can actually remove the green parts, with a knife, and then cook and eat the rest.  Only the green parts are unsafe.

If the potato is more green than it is regular potato-coloured, it is advisable to throw the whole thing out, along with any other green potatoes in the same bag or packet.

Can You Eat Green Potatoes UK

Why Are Green Potatoes Bad?

Green potatoes are considered to be bad and unsafe for human consumption because the colour change often indicates the increase of a potentially dangerous compound known as solanine. 

Solanine, a glycoalkaloid, is also found in potentially toxic levels in sprouted potatoes (which you shouldn’t eat). I talk about that a lot more here: Can You Eat Sprouted Potatoes UK?

Solanine is a toxic compound found in certain plants of the Solanaceae family, which includes potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplants. It is primarily concentrated in the green parts of these plants, such as the leaves, stems, and sprouts. Solanine is produced as a natural defense mechanism against pests and predators.

The consumption of solanine in high amounts can be harmful to humans. It is a glycoalkaloid that can disrupt cell membranes and inhibit cholinesterase enzymes, leading to various symptoms of poisoning.

Green potatoes aren’t actually an indication of an increased amount of solanine. Instead, the greening is caused by an increased in chlorophyll production, which is usually caused by the potatoes being in direct sunlight, or otherwise incorrectly stored.

The increase of chlorophyll usually comes hand-in-hand with an increase of the potentially toxic glycoalkaloid solanine.

Can Green Potatoes Kill You?

In theory, yes, green potatoes can kill you.

Solanine is considered to be a neurotoxin, which is a compound that can “damage, destroy, or impair the functioning of the central and/or peripheral nervous system,” according to eMedicine-Medscape. 

The smaller the human, the more severe the effects of toxic solanine will be. This means that children are at a higher risk of experiencing symptoms associated with solanine poisoning from eating green potatoes.

The more green potatoes you eat, the higher the toxicity level.

Also, the more green the potato has turned, the higher the toxicity level. A potato that has one patch of green is going to be less toxic than an entirely green potato.

There have been fatal cases of solanine poisoning from eating green potatoes. According to Wikipedia:

“Ingestion of solanine in moderate amounts can cause death… doses of 3 to 6 mg/kg of body weight can be fatal.”

In short: Don’t eat green potatoes!

Can One Green Potato Make You Sick?

Yes, one green potato is enough to make you very sick with solanine poisoning.

According to Britannica:

“A 16-oz (450-gram) fully green potato is enough to make a small adult ill.”

Does Cooking Green Potatoes Make Them Safe to Eat?

No, cooking green potatoes does not make them safe to eat.

Studies have shown that there is no effect on the levels of solanine in a green potato after cooking. This means, green potatoes are just as dangerous cooked as they are raw.

How Quickly After Eating Green Potatoes Will You Become Sick?

According to the experts, it typically takes around 6 to 12 hours for solanine poisoning symptoms to materialise.

However, in some cases, the effects have taken hold much quicker – symptoms have started to show within only 15 or 20 minutes of consuming foods with high concentrations of solanine.

What Are the Symptoms of Green Potato Poisoning?

Initially, you might not notice that anything is wrong, if you have eaten green potatoes, or other foods with high levels of the glycoalkaloid solanine. As previously mentioned, it can take up to 12 hours for those initial symptoms to start revealing themselves.

Initially, you are likely to experience the following symptoms of green potato poisoning:

  • Headaches
  • Feeling light-headed and dizzy
  • Stomach and abdomen pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Sore throat

As the condition worsen, solanine poisoning can cause other, more serious symptoms, including:

  • Sore throat turns to a burning sensation
  • Irritated and itchy skin
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Disrupted sleeping and nightmares/night-terrors
  • Painful and swollen joints
  • Delusions and hallucinations
  • Low body temperature (hypothermia), high fever, or both (alternating)
  • Fatalities

What Should I Do with Green Potatoes?

If you have a large enough tub or bin, or you have the cash to invest in a planter suitable for growing potatoes, you could plant your green spuds and enjoy your homegrown harvest in just a few months.

Alternatively, you could chop up your green potatoes and throw them in a compost heap or bin.

Finally, you could throw the green potatoes out with the rubbish or take them to a food waste recycling centre.

You should not cook and/or eat green potatoes.

I repeat: Do not cook and/or eat green potatoes.

Join the Newsletter

Get the latest deals, discounts, offers, recipes, and foodie/cooking tips - right to your email! (No spam, I promise.)

    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

    By Dan B

    I like to cook, but I like to eat the food I cook more.