Can You Eat Sprouted Potatoes UK?

Can You Eat Sprouted Potatoes UK?

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I don’t know about you, but I have a terrible habit of leaving potatoes in the back of the cupboard until they start to sprout, before inevitably wasting far too many of them, throwing them in the bin. But, can you eat sprouted potatoes? Are they ‘bad’? Can they make you sick? What can you do with them? 

Let’s find out!

Can You Eat Sprouted Potatoes UK?

Yes, you can eat sprouted potatoes…

But you shouldn’t eat the sprouted bits.

Potatoes that have sprouted are usually perfectly edible, and the removal of those sprouts is all you need to do, to make them more appealing to eat. 

Let’s face it, they hardly look appetising when there’s bits of actual tree growing out of them, do they?

A sharp-ended knife can be used to gouge the sprouts out. Then, simply use the potatoes as you usually would – peel them, mash them, roast them, cut them up, whatever you were going to do with them before you realise they had sprouted. 

Sprouts on potatoes will not affect the taste, or texture, or any thing else, providing you make sure you cut them out. 

The potatoes will still cook perfectly well, and they will still taste just as they would have done un-sprouted. 

Can You Eat Potato Sprouts?

No, it is not recommended to eat potato sprouts. 

The bits that grow out of potatoes when you leave them in the back of the cupboard too long are actually toxic, although you would likely need to eat quite a lot of them to feel the effects. 

I still don’t recommend eating it, however, no matter how small an amount you intend to eat. 

If you intend to eat sprouted potatoes, make sure you cut the sprouted bits out of them first. 

Can You Eat Potato Sprouts?

Are Sprouted Potatoes Poisonous?

In a sense, yes, sprouted potatoes are poisonous. 

When potatoes start to sprout, they produce more glycoalkoids. These are actually good in small amounts, but bad in large amounts. 

The two concerning glycoalkoids found in potatoes, particularly sprouting potatoes, are chaconine and solanine. 

The more sprouted your potatoes are, the more of those glycoalkoids that are produced, and the higher the risks of you ingesting potentially excessive amounts of solanine and chaconine. 

Can Sprouted Potatoes Kill You?

Yes, sprouted potatoes can kill you. 

You would likely need to eat a large volume of heavily sprouted potatoes in order to ingest a potentially toxic amount of the two glycoalkoids, solanine and chaconine; but it is possible for the two compounds to be fatal. 

Excessive solanine and chaconine levels in the body can eventually lead to a massive dip in blood pressure, which can be dangerous all by itself. The dip in pressure can be joined by a racing heart, body sweats, a high temperature, other fever-like symptoms, confusion, severe headaches, and more. 

The symptoms of toxic levels of solanine and chaconine, as well as other glycoalkoids, are similar to that of other conditions, which makes an ‘overdose’ of those compounds difficult to diagnose. 

If you weren’t to know that you had eaten the sprouted parts of potatoes, or heavily sprouted potatoes, you wouldn’t know to mention it to a doctor. Because of that, it might end up being one of the last things on the list that a medical professional might think to check for, although blood tests would help to pinpoint the problem. 

How Long Does it Takes For Toxic Potato Sprouts to Have An Effect?

The level of toxicity in your body from sprouted potatoes (or potato sprouts) will vary massively from person to person, and a wide range of factors will effect it. 

How much the potatoes had sprouted will play a part, as will how many of them you ate, what else you had with them, what you’ve eaten or had to drink since, and more. 

For some people, the toxic effects of sprouted potatoes start showing within just an hour of eating them. 

For others, it can take up to 24 hours, and potentially even longer. 

How fast your metabolism is, and how long it takes for you to digest food, will also have a big part to play, obviously. We are all different, as are our digestive systems. What is toxic for you might not be toxic for me. 

Can Sprouted Potatoes Make You Sick?

Yes, sprouted potatoes, and the sprouts themselves, can make you sick. 

Although high levels of toxicity is linked to confusion, fevers, and a dangerous dip in blood pressure, lower levels of toxicity can cause much more subtle symptoms. These include an upset stomach, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms that are commonly associated with food poisoning or a stomach bug. 

Can You Eat Sprouted Potatoes UK?

How to Avoid Toxic Potatoes

In all fairness, the chances of you suffering with the effects of toxic potatoes, due to sprouting and an increase in potentially toxic glycoalkoids, are slim. 

Think about it: 

How often have you eaten potatoes in your life and NOT fallen ill with potential glycoalkoid toxicity? 

The best way to avoid consuming potentially dangerous levels of solanine, chanonine, and other glycoalkoids is to consume potatoes within the recommended time frame. 

Remember, when your potatoes are starting to expire, you can always create a cooked dish with them, then freeze the cooked dish, giving you extra time and reducing food waste. 

Mashed potato, homemade chips, shepherd’s pie, roast potatoes, and even jacket potatoes can all be frozen once cooked, giving you an extra few weeks or months to eat up the potatoes you worked hard and paid for. 

There really is no need to throw them away, or to leave them until they sprout! 

And, even better than that, you’ll have some homemade dishes, ready to heat up, waiting for you in the freezer – and that’s a much healthier alternative than a high-salt, high-fat, low-nutritional-value ready meal. 

*Not all ready meals are high-salt, high-fat, low-nutritional-value, but you understand my point. 

When Should You Throw Potatoes Away?

Ideally, you will want to consume or cook with your potatoes before they have started to undergo physical changes, but you can still eat them after they have changed a little. 

Sprouted bits, for example, can be cut off or dug out of the potato. 

The same applies to any bruised skin, or any green areas, or any other spots that look damaged or unappealing. 

If you find yourself cutting away more of the potato than you’re saving, it’s probably time to throw them in the bin or add them to your compost heap. 

By Buzzy Kitchen

Lovers of food, owners of opinions, pleased to share!