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Can You Eat Sprouted Potatoes? An Expert Weighs In

Can you eat sprouted potatoes? We asked a registered dietitian nutritionist to get to the bottom of it. Consider this your go-guide.

Written by
Angelica Pizza

It's difficult to gauge how many potatoes you'll need for that homemade mashed potatoes recipe. To play it safe, you might have bought a large bag, only to discover you only needed half. And now the leftover potatoes trapped in your pantry have started to sprout. But before tossing them out, you may be wondering: Can you eat sprouted potatoes?

Buying in bulk can be both affordable and sustainable when done correctly. However, without proper planning, buying in bulk gives way to food waste—specifically when the food you didn't eat goes bad in the pantry. And when potatoes start to sprout, we often take it as a sign to toss them.

But what if there was a way to avoid this food waste? We consulted Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, an inclusive plant-based dietitian and owner of Master the Media in Stamford, CT, to get to the bottom of this conundrum.

Can You Eat Sprouted Potatoes?

Good news! Gorin says you can eat sprouted potatoes under one circumstance: the sprouts need to be removed.

"You can safely eat sprouted potatoes only if the sprouts have been removed," Gorin says. "A vegetable peeler is the best tool for removing sprouts. A peeler will have a scoop-shaped tip on it, a Y-shape, or a plastic tab. Use this to dig out the sprouts and discard them."

However, you can't eat the sprout itself. The sprout contains glycoalkaloids, and if consumed, humans can get sick. Additionally, it's best to use your own judgment. If the sprouts are too far gone and too difficult to remove, it might be better not to consume the potatoes at all.

But what if there was a way to prevent sprouting altogether? Let's dive into how to store potatoes to keep them from sprouting.

How to Store Potatoes to Keep Them From Sprouting

One of the most common places to store potatoes is in your kitchen pantry. However, your pantry may be the reason your potatoes are sprouting in the first place.

According to Gorin, you'll want to keep your leftover potatoes out of the pantry. And you'll also want to remove potatoes from the plastic bag they may come in.

"Potatoes like darkness," Gorin says. "It’s best to store them in a paper or mesh bag—one that's breathable—and place them in a dark, dry place such as the basement. I know that sounds odd, but kitchens and pantries are typically too warm. Warm temperatures cause sprouting."

You'll also want to store potatoes away from onions. Onions release ethylene, a gas that speeds up the sprouting process for potatoes. To play it safe, keep your potatoes separate from other produce.

If you store your potatoes properly, you'll avoid sprouting—and you'll cut back on food waste. But if the sprouting is too out of hand, keep it as a houseplant! Sweet potato vine plants are a thing, and they're super easy to take care of.