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Green Potatoes

 
Alison Thomas
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Location: France
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We've just bought a BIG bag of potatoes with the earth still on them and, horror of horrors, at least 60% of them are green!!!  How badly have these been stored!!!  So the question is, what can I do with the poisonous spuds? If I compost them will the glykoalkanoids migrate to other things?
 
Hugh Hawk
Posts: 225
Location: Adelaide, South Australia (Mediterranean climate)
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Is there an obvious reason I'm missing why you wouldn't plant them?
 
Thelma McGowan
Posts: 170
Location: western Washington, Snohomish county--zone 8b
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funny...if you put them in your compost they will want to grow. I put some green potatoes in my compost and evertime I turn it I have to chop them into submission. I am sure if they fully compost  they should not contaminate.

is your climate such that you could plant them out side? that could be a good idea
 
Ken Peavey
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In my experience, as long as they are not as bright as Shamrocks, the green potatoes can be peeled and consumed.  Peel them good and thick, remove ALL the green.  Mind you, this practice is controversial.

Planting the spuds is a fine option, but its getting late into the year.  They may well hold on until next spring for planting.

I have composted potato plants many times with no ill effects.  60 pounds of potatoes in a 5000 pound heap is insignificant.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
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I've always just cut off the green, if there was only a little bit, and eaten the rest of the potato.  However, Carol Deppe, in her book The Resilient Garden, said emphatically NOT to do that!  She said that if there is even a little bit of green, the poisonous substance is throughout the potato and it should NOT be consumed or even fed to livestock.  I don't see any reason not to save them for planting out later, though.

Kathleen
 
Leila Rich
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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When composting spuds I bing them to the boil first as my pile is never hot enough to kill them.
Chooks love cooked potatoes, so do worms.
 
Russ White
Posts: 35
Location: north eastern us
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Leila
I would not eat green potatoes so I would not feed them to my chickens. Small animal may be deadly. Good cooked potatoes wold be great treat. See post by Kathleen posted just before you. 
 
Leila Rich
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Russ, that was dopey of me!  "Cook it all, feed chooks peels and good spuds, compost the rest" is what I should have said.
Interestingly, and completely counter to the 'green=toxic' thing, I heard a biologist/permaculturist/forager talk the other day and she said the toxicity thing's a myth. I haven't found any evidence to support her assertion though, and green potatoes taste bad anyway.
 
Ken Peavey
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from the Wikipedia article on potato:
Potatoes contain toxic compounds known as glycoalkaloids, of which the most prevalent are solanine  and chaconine. Solanine is also found in other plants in the family Solanaceae, which includes such plants as the deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna), henbane (Hyoscyamus niger) and tobacco (Nicotiana) as well as the potato, eggplant, and tomato. This toxin affects the nervous system, causing weakness and confusion.

These compounds, which protect the plant from its predators, are, in general, concentrated in its leaves, stems, sprouts, and fruits.  Exposure to light, physical damage, and age increase glycoalkaloid content within the tuber;[66] the highest concentrations occur just underneath the skin. Cooking at high temperatures (over 170 °C or 340 °F) partly destroys these. The concentration of glycoalkaloid in wild potatoes suffices to produce toxic effects in humans. Glycoalkaloids may cause headaches, diarrhea, cramps, and in severe cases coma and death; however, poisoning from potatoes occurs very rarely. Light exposure causes greening from chlorophyll synthesis, thus giving a visual clue as to areas of the tuber that may have become more toxic; however, this does not provide a definitive guide, as greening and glycoalkaloid accumulation can occur independently of each other. Some varieties of potato contain greater glycoalkaloid concentrations than others; breeders developing new varieties test for this, and sometimes have to discard an otherwise promising cultivar.

Breeders try to keep solanine levels below 200 mg/kg (200 ppmw). However, when these commercial varieties turn green, even they can approach concentrations of solanine of 1000 mg/kg (1000 ppmw). In normal potatoes, analysis has shown solanine levels may be as little as 3.5% of the breeders' maximum, with 7–187 mg/kg being found.

The U.S. National Toxicology Program suggests that the average American consume at most 12.5 mg/day of solanine from potatoes (the toxic dose is actually several times this, depending on body weight). Douglas L. Holt, the State Extension Specialist for Food Safety at the University of Missouri, notes that no reported cases of potato-source solanine poisoning have occurred in the U.S. in the last 50 years, and most cases involved eating green potatoes or drinking potato-leaf tea


from the Wikipedia article on Solanine:
Solanine poisoning is primarily displayed by gastrointestinal and neurological disorders. Symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, burning of the throat, cardiac dysrhythmia, headache and dizziness. In more severe cases death, hallucinations, loss of sensation, paralysis, fever, jaundice, dilated pupils and hypothermia  have been reported.

In large quantities, solanine poisoning can cause death. One study suggests that doses of 2 to 5 mg per kilogram of body weight can cause toxic symptoms, and doses of 3 to 6 mg per kilogram of body weight can be fatal.

Symptoms usually occur 8 to 12 hours after ingestion, but may occur as rapidly as 30 minutes after eating high-solanine foods.

The lowest dose to cause symptoms of nausea is about 25 mg solanine for adults, a life-threatening dose for a regular-weight adult ranges about 400 mg solanine


Using the figures here, a small person would have to eat a couple pounds of really green potatoes to achieve toxic levels. 

If you choose to consume green potatoes, peel them deep, boil them hard, don't stuff your face.  I would say the green peelings would be better composted rather than fed to the hens.  If you are in despair for food, you can get away with eating these potatoes in moderation.  If you can get by without eating them, they sure would make fine seed. 

 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
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  Return them to the store. You paid for quality produce and you got garbage. If for some reason they won't take them back seal them inside an airtight garbage can for a couple months and then bring them back. Hopefully they'll be liquefied by then and easier to pour into the parking lot . Works with chicken and fish as well.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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here I would bury them where I want potatoes to grow next year and have a good jump start on the garden for 2012
 
Kris Minto
Posts: 137
Location: Ottawa, Canada -- Zone 4b/5a
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Does anyone know if solanine only occurs in organically grow potato?

Thanks,
Kris
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1355
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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Kris Minto wrote:Does anyone know if solanine only occurs in organically grow potato?

Thanks,
Kris


Both organic and regular potatoes have the same amount.
The level does increase when the potatoes skin is exposed to sunlight and they go from brown to green.
So dont eat potatoes once they are exposed to sunlight and they turn green,instead plant them.

 
Ken Peavey
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Solanin is produced by all potatoes, organic or commercial. Production is normally increased with exposure to light. It is not the growing method, it is a natural feature of the species and the entire plant family.
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1355
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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If you compost or plant the "green" potatoes then the chemicals will not "infect" other plants they will simply breakdown into harmless compounds.
 
Kris Minto
Posts: 137
Location: Ottawa, Canada -- Zone 4b/5a
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Thanks for confirming. That's what I thought but I had a friend who stated that this was only an issue with organic potato because of the lack of sprays (chemicals) used in conventional farming. Unless what she referred to was a chemical process used in the factory before the potatoes are bags and shipped.

Kris
 
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