Last week during an early walk in the garden, I was bummed to discover that I could see the tops of a few new gold potatoes, and they were green! Having been warned of the dangers of eating green potatoes but not sure what to do, I pulled the whole bunch.
My first impulse was to compost them and get the “diseased” potatoes far, far away. Then, I wasn’t sure if composting them was safe, either. So I researched quite a bit and found a study out of the University of Kansas explaining that it is chlorophyl (sunlight hitting the skin) that causes the potatoes to green, and that in small quantities, it’s unlikely to cause any harm. Plus, if you skin the potatoes, you’ve removed the chlorophyl and the danger.
Also – a quick side note for my fellow gardeners – the study showed that gold potatoes have a thinner, more delicate skin than red or russet potatoes and are more susceptible to going green.
So, out of the composter the potatoes came. 🙂
I didn’t get around to peeling them (I hate peeling potatoes!) for a few days, after a long rain had passed and I had discovered yet another bunch of green potatoes. This time I acted quickly, bought pine straw, and tucked it in around all my potato plants. Then, I skinned the green potatoes and boiled them to make a batch of gold mashed potatoes.
Using a red smashed potato recipe I found on Epicurious not too long ago, I hand mashed the potatoes instead of using a ricer and added just a bit of sea salt and good olive oil. Delicious!
I had these for lunch on Monday. It’s Thursday, and I’m still here, so I’d say this is an excellent use of green potatoes!
**UPDATE (09/29/09): I received a comment on my old blog today reprimanding me for not tossing the green potatoes and advising me that I should read up on my history of the Irish Potato Famine… *sigh*
Since I am taking that blog down (no need for repetition), I thought I would address the concern here. First, I am not a plant pathologist, but I do try to research everything I offer up as sound wisdom on this blog. Second, the potatoes only showed green near the tops and at the surface, where they were exposed to sunlight and the process of photosynthesis had begun. Third, green does indicate that a toxin known as solanine is present. Large amounts of this toxin can cause stomach upset and is very unsafe for children or pregnant women. Fourth, if you remove the green areas, as I did and recommended in this original post, the potatoes are perfectly safe to eat.