Are green potatoes really safe to eat?

Potatoes are a staple starch most people can't resist. Whether they're made into french fries or potato salad, they make the perfect side dish for any occasion. When it comes to choosing the right one at the grocery store, the potato selection can sometimes be overwhelming. There are regular white potatoes, sweet potatoes, heirlooms, fingerlings, and even purple potatoes. All of which are safe to eat when it comes to creating your next side dish in the kitchen, but what about green potatoes? Should you be slicing and dicing them for your next party recipe? Here's the lowdown on whether or not green potatoes are safe to eat. 

What causes green potatoes?

Too much light exposure causes the production of chlorophyll and increases the alkaloid levels in a potato, which is what turns the potato green (via The Kitchn). One of those alkaloids is solanine, which generally is not harmful to the body, but in larger doses, it can cause digestive problems. Extremely high doses can even be toxic. Thankfully, the Michigan State University (MSU) Extension lends a helping hand when it comes to understanding what to do with your green potatoes.

Though the MSU Extension says you can still salvage the remaining potato and eat it with no fear, they do suggest cutting off all the green parts. This may help reduce the bitterness that green potatoes have (courtesy of the higher alkaloid count). If there are more than a few green spots on the surface, though, you should just throw the potato out. No potatoes that have green of any kind, trimmed or not, should be served to children. With their lower body mass, kids are more vulnerable to the solanine. 

If you ever find that your potatoes have gone a bit green, be sure to peel or cut all of the green parts off first — no one wants digestive issues when they're trying to get a starch fix. Though the non-green parts of a potato are safe to eat, you should inspect your potato carefully first before cooking it up. If you can't peel or cut off all the green parts, just go ahead and throw it away. It's not worth the risk when there are tons of other potatoes out there.