Is It Safe To Eat Sprouted Potatoes?

Sprouted potatoes may be a little off-putting in appearance, but what about taste? Is it even safe to nosh down on these sprouted spuds or is it better to just toss them in the trash? This is certainly a question most of us have probably wondered after encountering a potato that's been hiding in the back of the pantry a little too long. It's time to get to the bottom of this potato mystery once and for all. 

The short answer is "yes," you can still eat a potato that has begun to sprout. Hold up, though. Before you go and grab that sprouted potato to whip up some french fries, there's definitely more you need to know here. The Takeout spoke with Kendra Keenan of Potatoes USA who said, "Yes, they're still safe to eat as long as you pull off the sprouts or the eyes." The important thing to check, too, is that the potato is still firm. After it starts to shrivel and the texture becomes a little squishy, you should probably ditch it.

It should be noted that the National Capital Poison Center recommends tossing sprouted potatoes, due to risk of potential toxicity. To throw a little science at you, potatoes contain two types of natural toxins known as glycoalkaloids — solanine and chaconine. These glycoalkaloids are at levels low enough that they're harmless in a potato that hasn't begun to sprout and turn green. Once chlorophyll begins to over-ripen the potato, however, the levels of these toxins drastically increases with a high concentration found in the sprouts and potato's green skin. If eaten, the says the potato can bring about all sorts of bad symptoms such as vomiting, abdominal pain, fever, and confusion. However, peeling and removing sprouts should safeguard against that. And the good news is that potatoes with high levels of glycoalkaloids give our taste buds a warning of the toxins with an unpleasant bitter taste. 

The bottom line is that it's always a good idea to cut out any sprouts or green spots — and if that spud isn't firm and tastes gross, by all means, toss it.