Green potatoes are toxic, and those shoots are bad news too

Aug 4, 2016 at 1:15 p.m. ET
Image: Julia_Sudnitskaya/Getty Images

You see them everywhere — potatoes that are greenish on one end or have an overall green hue to them. They look harmless enough, like they were just picked a little early. No big deal, right? Well, apparently those green potatoes are straight-up toxic.

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That green doesn't mean the potato is a little underripe. It's a tuber (similar to a root), and ripeness isn't exactly a thing for potatoes like it is for other produce. The green indicates the presence of a chemical called solanine, and so can the presence of shoots. And it can be triggered by light and warmth. But here's why you want to avoid it.

Eating a lot of solanine can lead to all sorts of truly gnarly symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea.

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But don't freak out. You can still eat a green potato; just cut out the green areas and the shoots. And if you do happen to eat a small amount of that green area, you'll probably be all right. Just don't make a meal of the stuff.

You can keep your potatoes from going green by storing them in a cool, dark space in your kitchen.

Before you go, check out 50 one-pot meals for an easy comfort food fix.

50 One-pot meals for an easy comfort food fix
Image: Brandi Bidot/Sheknows

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