Are Green Potatoes Safe or Unsafe? - Bad / Poisonous vs. Edible - Skin vs. Inside

Latest update: January 1, 2023. Page URL indicates original publication date; meanwhile, times change and the updates continue.

Can potatoes that have green skin make you sick? Usually not. If the potato has a light, green tinge on the outside skin, then the potato is still safe to eat.

Can potatoes that are green on the inside make you sick? Yes, they can.

Beware Bad Green Potatoes - Can Be Poisonous or Safe - Not the Usual Urban Legend

Safe or poisonous? It all depends. Here is how to tell the difference, plus a government resource with even more information.

Can green potatoes make you sick? Yes, they can. And the more green you see on the inside, the more poisonous they are.

The green is just chlorophyll, but it is an indicator that another chemical is present; which is indeed a toxin. And it is a nerve toxin at that. It is present throughout the entire plant. The toxin is known as solanine and is dangerous even in small amounts.

I've been seeing a lot of false information out there on the subject, so I thought I would point people towards a legitimate source. The National Institute of Health federal website, MedlinePlus, will tell you everything you need to know.

The whole poisonous green potato thing is not exactly a national epidemic. In fact, deaths are quite rare. The key sentence in the Medline website is:

Never eat potatoes that are
spoiled or green below the skin.

Note the above key parameter referencing, "below the skin".

My personal practice on the subject...
  • If the store potatoes have even the slightest tinge of green on the outside, I'm not buying; reason being they are probably still safe to eat, but they are further along on the degradation path regarding storage.
  • If I cut one in half at home that has developed a slight green tinge on the outside after I bought it and there is absolutely no hint of green on the inside, then I'm fine with it. If green has shown up on the inside, it is not worth the risk and is thrown out.

May all your potato adventures be of the healthy kind. Do drop by the aforementioned Medline website, they have additional information.

Worthy non-green potatoes

Meanwhile, here's a page about Exploding Potatoes and Some Potato Recipes.

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