Potato sprouts often appear when you store potatoes for a long time. There are a few questions regarding these vegetables; is it safe to eat sprouted potatoes and how do you prevent potatoes from sprouting?
Potato sprouts are certainly not healthier than normal potatoes. When potatoes sprout, the starch in the potatoes is converted into sugar. Research has suggested that if the main part of the potato is still firm, then it has most of its nutrients intact and can be eaten after removing the sprouted part. However, if the potato is shrunken and wrinkled, it should not be eaten.
What about green potatoes? Green potatoes are a result of the potato being excessively exposed to light. After being overexposed to light, the skin becomes green due to the formation of an alkaloid called solanine which is toxic. Consumption of potatoes with green skin or sprouts of the potato plant may cause poisoning. So it is essential to remove these before eating a potato.
How can you control potato sprouts? Normally, potato sprout inhibition is done by using chemical inhibitors such as maleic hydrazide, CIPC or chlorpropham. Irradiation is also a good method of controlling the potato sprouts.
With the increasing demand of organic potatoes, research is being carried out on a more organic way to control potato sprouts. The University of Idaho has reported that essential oils such as clove oil, spearmint oil, and peppermint oil can be used for organic potato sprout inhibition.
Apart from these techniques, you should also ensure that you store potatoes properly. People often use the following precautions to minimize the formation of potato sprouts:
Precautions to Minimize the Formation of Potato Sprouts
Moisture: Ensure that potatoes are not stored in a humid place because moisture speeds up the sprouting process. On the other hand, potatoes should also not get dehydrated.
Temperature: Higher temperatures can stimulate the formation of potato sprouts. Generally, the temperature for storing potatoes is suggested to be 44F to 50F.
Air Circulation: Ensure there is sufficient air circulation when you store potatoes.