Are Sprouted Potatoes Safe To Eat?

You go to grab the perfect potato for your recipe, but wait a minute — what are these tubers coming out of your spuds? If you have a bag of potatoes with little sprouts shooting out of the surface, then you might be wondering whether or not you can still use them safely. Well, yes and no. According to the Food Network, potatoes grow sprouts (also sometimes referred to as "eyes") when they are exposed to moisture or humidity while stored in the dark. 

Potato sprouts are actually considered to be toxic. That's because potato sprouts have an excessive amount of glycoalkaloids, reports Rachael Ray, which can adversely affect your nervous system when consumed in large quantities. When people consume too many glycoalkaloids, they cannot limit the number of acetylcholine chemicals in the body, which helps direct the activity of your nerves. 

But sprouts don't deserve all the blame here. Potatoes that have been exposed to light and have turned green are also potentially dangerous to eat for much the same reason. That said, you can still safely eat sprouted potatoes with some extra preparation. All you have to do is remove the sprouts themselves.

How to remove the sprouts from potatoes

If you've already noticed that your potato peeler has a pointed end, then you might already know what to do. To remove the eyes, press that point into the potato to scoop out the sprouts. With those growths gone, you can still cook and make the most of your potatoes (via Food Network). After the sprouts have been removed and the potatoes simply have divots where they used to be, the potatoes are perfectly safe to eat and are no longer toxic. The only time you should totally toss them is if the sprouted potatoes are green. Unfortunately, there's no real way to safely recover potatoes that have turned this hue.

To prevent the added work for yourself of removing the sprouts, reevaluate just how and where you store your potatoes. You might want to move your potatoes to a shaded place that's dark, but not quite so dark that they will sprout. You also should make sure that the potatoes are as dry as possible. Keep in mind that properly stored potatoes can easily last up to two months.