Green Potatoes

Not a Green Potato

Don’t feed or eat green potatoes.

I’ve heard this many times.

Being of the scientific and experimental mind, two days ago we did a little research. My wife cooked up a batch of very green potatoes. She, one of our sons and our daughter ate the green potatoes (boiled). Our other son and I abstained. And the results? We all felt fine since. So apparently those very green potatoes were not a problem. Makes me wonder if this is more of a myth than anything else. There are a lot of things that are called poisonous that you have to eat in huge quantities to have any problem.

Before anyone gets upset about me experimenting on my kids with toxic chemicals let me assure you that was not the case. What happened was we had cooked up some green potatoes. Hope and Will had eaten them already by the time the bowl got around to me and Ben where upon I pointed out the green. Presto, instant experiment underway. Ben and I declined so that we could be the control subjects in this little bit of research. Hope pointed out that we did not have a significant sample set – we need to get at least 95 other people to join the study before we can start drawing conclusions.

The green potatoes don’t seem to bother the pigs either. Our pigs aren’t particularly fond of fresh potatoes to begin with. Cooked are gobbled up. After the potatoes rot a bit or freeze they’re also more palatable. Onions are further down the list.

The worry is the solanine in potatoes. The quantity is minute so the danger is low. Cooking, rotting and freezing all might be helping break it down as they do with many nutrients, toxins and chemicals.

For more on green potatoes read Snopes which is sometimes right.

Happy 12/12/12!

Outdoors: 35°F/16°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 65°F/62°F

Daily Spark: Optimizing combo diseases: Alzhimers and Breast Cancer – you lose your mammaries and your memories so you forget you ever had either.

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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7 Responses to Green Potatoes

  1. David lloyd Sutton says:

    Solanaceae get their name from solanic acid, of course. The green skins of immature potatoes, the foliage of tomatoes and tomatilloes, etc. are where the stuff is concentrated. It is a poison. But as you’ve said repeatedly on here, about forages,
    simple distaste probably limits actual poisonings to the point of harm. I’ve always just peeled greenies, back when I could eat starchies like ‘taters, and never had any problem. Reportedly, the deadly nightshade,in the same family, is really deadly poison, but I suspect that the mature dark berries probably aren’t, that only the immature green ones are. That would be consistent with the characteristics of the group. Haven’t been tempted to experiment, though.

    When I was a kid in Santa Barbara, we used to chomp a juicy forb with pretty
    yellow flowers, called “sour grass” for the refreshing taste and pucker. It was Oxalis, and oxalic acid is a poison. Very much fun to taste but a poison. Years later, using a gas powered weed eater in my garden, I hit a patch of the stuff and vaporized a swath. The vapor darned near felled me, and my lungs stopped working for a minute. Same pretty weed I’d been munching for decades. Quantity counts!!

    We are in Davis’ winter. Many hundreds of acres in oats are almost iridescent green, it is a bone-chilling 52 F during the day. I saw some Oxalis along the road a couple of weeks ago, May stop and munch soon.The memory makes my mouth water.

    • Julia says:

      As a pediatrician, I can assure you that red nightshade berries are toxic. I happened to admit two siblings with altered mental status, a year and three days apart. The first time we had blamed grandma’s medication, although she didn’t think she’d left any pills where the tot could grab them. The second time there was no grandma to blame, and there was that odd similarity in timing. . .

      It turned out that both children had eaten the red berries growing wild in the woods near their home. They apparently taste horrible and usually kids vomit up these berries if eaten, but this brother and sister have unusual palates and stomachs of iron. Both were kept in the hospital overnight for observation and discharged the next day, still a little wobbly but getting back to normal.

      In general I will subscribe to the idea that very few toxic things taste good, but I know there are some mushrooms so toxic that the first taste will do you in, and for some people, even the horrible taste doesn’t make the necessary impact. I wonder, did the green potatoes taste bitter?

      • Why is why one should teach their children to be cautious about eating new things. This is actually a natural hesitation to novel foods and this behavior is cross species. Observing parents or cohort members eating something leads to animals, human or otherwise, to trying it too. Fortunately most toxic things taste bad because the plants are trying to warn us not to eat them.

  2. Sally Hurst says:

    I have always understood that pigs, chickens, and humans just could not digest raw potato. Something about an enzyme that is present until the potatoes are cooked. I understand that raw soybeans can’t be digested by us either. My chickens certainly avoided them when I tried feeding raw beans, as evidenced by the number of bean plants that came up in the field where they were being fed.

  3. Edward says:

    Its all about exposure levels. The little bit in a few potatoes wont hurt you. I have read that you have to eat three or four pounds of very green potatoes to get a stomach ache. People have died but it was during starvation situations where they ate lots of green potatoes because there was nothing else available.

  4. Johan van der Merwe says:

    Hi Walter, hope you are well. Here in South Africa we have the Lilac tree (Melia azedarach) which is toxic, maby you have it over there also. The leaves are toxic but the berries are the most toxic. They turn to light yellow when ripe. I am busy cutting down all these Lilac trees which is also non indigenous here.

    If a pig should ate these berries, what can one do to get it out of the stomach quickly. I have heard about giving the pig cooking oil that acts as a laxative?

    Thanks Johan

    • I’m not familiar with that plant, not to confused with the Lilac bushes we have around here. I’ve never tried to get a pig to throw up but I’m sure there are things that will cause it just like Ipecac for humans. Check with a vet to see if that would work.

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