Is It OK to Eat Sprouted Potatoes?

The short answer is yes. Potatoes that have sprouted are still OK to eat, but only once you’ve removed the sprouts. Here’s a guide on how to remove them, how to properly store potatoes and when it’s not alright to eat them.

Why do potatoes sprout?

Potatoes don’t need dirt — sometimes storage conditions inspire your spuds to start sprouting far from the ground! All they need is darkness and moisture — making your kitchen or pantry an ideal place to start growing “eyes.” But these extra appendages don’t mean you have to trash your taters — if they are still firm when you squeeze them, the potatoes can be eaten — once you’ve removed the sprouts and cooked the potatoes.

How to use a peeler to remove sprouts

Plucking off the sprouts is easy because your vegetable peeler has a secret: Whether it’s old-school or Y-shaped, it was built to remove sprouts and brown spots. Use the intentional scoop-shaped tip of a regular peeler to dig out sprouts. Or the plastic tab on the side of your Y peeler to do the same.

So, what’s happening when potatoes turn green?

Bottom line: green = garbage can. Exposure to light puts potatoes into chlorophyll-making (a green pigment) overdrive. But chlorophyll isn’t the problem: These sunny conditions also make it possible for opportunistic glycoalkaloid toxins to thrive, which are dangerous.

What’s the best way to store potatoes?

Potatoes will keep up to 2 months from purchase if stored correctly. Transfer them to a breathable bag — like paper or mesh — or put them in a cardboard box and stash in a cool, dry place. A basement is ideal. Your kitchen and pantry are probably too warm, which will make them start to sprout.

Don’t store potatoes in the fridge: Those extra-cool conditions will trigger their starches to convert to sugars, which means sweeter potatoes (no, not sweet potatoes!) that will turn brown when cooked.