Potato Sprouts- Why Are They Not Safe?


Potato Sprouts- Why Are They Not Safe?

Hello All!!!

When you store potatoes for too long, you would have noticed that they start sprouting. People usually are in a fix whether it is safe to eat sprouted potatoes. They also want to find ways to prevent them from sprouting. Let us get things clarified.

Potato Sprouts- Why Are They Not Safe?

potato sprouts-why are they not safe

Potato sprouts are by no means healthier than normal potatoes. You see, when potatoes sprout the starch present in the get converted to sugar. Research says that if the potato’s main part is still firm, then you can go ahead with it as most of its nutrients are intact. Just remember to remove the sprouted part. But if your potato is wrinkled and shrunken it should not be consumed.

Now you would ask about green potatoes. Potatoes turn green due to being exposed to light excessively. When a potato is overexposed to light, its skin turns green because of the formation of solanine which is an alkaloid. It is toxic even in tiny amounts. This particular poison is present in the entire plant but its concentration is more in sprouts and green potatoes. If you happen to consume potatoes with sprouts or green skin, there are chances of poisoning. This makes it mandatory to remove such parts before eating the potato. Always wash your hands after touching such parts.

What are the symptoms of potato plant poisoning?

The symptoms of potato plant poisoning are as follows:

  • Headache
  • Breathing trouble
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach ache
  • Diarrhea

To be on the safe side, it would be better to consult the doctor when such things happen.

Ways to control potato sprouts

Potato sprouts can be controlled by various methods like moisture control, temperature control, use of oils like clove oil and chemical inhibitors. Let us have a look at the methods.

Chemical inhibitors

There are certain chemical inhibitors that are helpful in preventing and controlling potatoes from sprouting. They are chlorpropham or maleic hydrazide.


Potato sprouting can be controlled by a technique called irradiation.

Essential oils

There is an ever increasing demand for organic stuff and the same goes for potatoes. Nobody wants their food to be treated with chemicals, right? 😛 Research is being done to control potato sprouts in a more organic way. It is being reported that essential oils like peppermint oil, clove oil and spearmint oil can be used to inhibit the sprouting of potatoes.

Naphthalene and ethylene gas

Naphthalene and ethylene gas is considered a good option in preventing the sprouting of potatoes.

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is used to temporarily inhibit potato sprouts.

Precautions to be taken to minimize sprouting of potatoes

storage potato sprouts-why are they not safe

Storage of potatoes plays a huge role in preventing sprouting. The following measures are taken by people to minimize the formation of potato sprouts.


Higher temperatures can increase the formation of potato sprouts. Generally speaking, the ideal temperature range for storing potatoes is between 44 degree Fahrenheit to 50 degree Fahrenheit. Storing potatoes at low temperatures prevents and delays the sprouting of potatoes. So, try to store them in a cooler place.

Moisture control

You should make sure that the potatoes are not stored in a location that is humid as moisture will speed up the sprouting process. At the same time, the potatoes shouldn’t get dehydrated.

Air circulation

Wherever you store your potatoes make sure that there is sufficient circulation of air.

Hope you found this post useful!

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