Potato is a popular vegetable loved by many people in the world. You can use this versatile food to make mashed potatoes, boiled potatoes, chips, yummy soups, and many more dishes you would love.

For a foodstuff like a potato that can allow you to get creative in the kitchen, you’ll need to maintain its freshnessto enjoy your recipes. It’s easy for potatoes to get green because of the toxicity of a certain compound. When your favorite food changes color, is it safe to eat it? Here is everything to know about green potatoes.

Why do potatoes turn green?

Imagine getting into the kitchen, ready to make yourself potato chips, and your taste buds are going crazy waiting for you to make them happy. Then oops, all the potatoes are green! I canfeel the disappointment.The part of a potato that is usually eaten is called a tuber. Underneath the potato’s skin, the normal color is white. If potatoes are displayed in light,they’ll produce chlorophyll and high amounts of solanine, giving them a green color. Some kinds of potatoes turn green quickly than others. For example,the color change in white-skinned types is faster than versions like red-skinned and russet potatoes. Some other factors like where it’s grown can also increase the chances of turning the color.

Is it safe to eat green potatoes?

So back to our scenario. Will you ignore the color and go ahead to make yourself chips, or will you throw them away? Even if that’sa personal decision, you should never eat an extremely green potato. Cooking a green potato does not make it safe for consumption. If the green color is only spread in a small area, you can peel off the bad portion and cook the remainder. But if it’s spread extensively throughout the potato, it’s impossible to cut off the solanine to the extent of making it safe to eat.

What will happen when you eat green potatoes?

Green potatoes contain large quantityof solanine which can lead to solanine poisoning. If you consume bad potatoes, you’ll experience unpleasant symptoms like diarrhea, stomach discomfort, nausea, headaches, dizziness, and vomiting. These symptoms can last 24 hours but ensure you seek medical attention if you need to. According to experts, eating 5g of green potato per kg of body weight does not cause serious illness. So if you eat in small amounts, you’ll probably still stay alive. But hey, it doesn’t mean you cook green potatoes. Try to avoid them by all means.

How long do potatoes stay good and fresh?

Raw potatoes will average, stay fresh for about 7-14 days at room temperature. It can last 2-3 months if refrigerated. The type of potato determines how long the potato will stay good. Cooked potatoes can last 3-4 days in the refrigerator, allowing you to change recipes and make great things like mashed potatoes. How you store your potatoes will greatly affect the shelf-life of your tubers.

How to prevent potatoes from turning green

It’s possible to keep your potatoes fresher for longer and prevent them from turning green. Maintaining the freshness of your potatoes for a long will provide you more recipe flexibility and make cooking safer for you. Here is how to keep your potatoes fresh;

  • When purchasing your potatoes, select the freshest and firmest so that they last for the longest time possible
  • Let your potatoes stay in a cool, dry, and darkplace
  • Avoid exposing the potatoes to sunlight to prevent the development of solanine which causes toxicity of the potatoes
  • Ensure you don’t store them in a plastic bag because this type of storage will deny them a chance to breath
  • Place them in an open container that allows proper air circulation. You can store them in a freezer, but don’t let them stay there for long because exposure to cooler temperatures for anextended time converts the starch in the potatoes into sugar, making them darken.
  • Avoid storing potatoes near onions because onions release a gas that will ripen potatoes quickly
  • You can consider canning potatoes to make them last long
  • Ensure you frequently check your stored potatoes and discard those that have gone bad. Doing so prevents the bacteria in spoilt potatoes from spreading to the fresh ones.

Is turning green the only sign of a bad potato?

Never assume your potato is still fresh because it has not yet turned green. Some signs apart from the color may indicate your potatoes have gone bad. These signs include;

  • Fresh raw potatoes should be firm. If you realize the potato skin is not firm, dispose it
  • If your potatoes have many black spots, bruises, and blemishes, it’s not safe for consumption.
  • If your potatoes are too soft and spongy and leaking some moisture, it’s not fresh
  • Potatoes should have an earthly smell because they’re grown underground. If you notice any unpleasant or rotten odor, it’s spoilt.
  • If your potatoes look fresh but have blemishes on the inside after peeling, that’s a sign of spoilage.

Can you tell if cooked potatoes are bad?

Sometimes it’s difficult to know when potatoes are spoilt. On some occasions, cooked potatoes release a strong unpleasant smell or give a bitter taste that indicates spoilage. Don’t ever eat a cooked potato that has a visible mold on it. These molds can appear asindescribable colored spots.

How do you know it’s a potato allergy?

Potatoes are great substitutes for most individuals. However, for others, it’s an intruder to their body and may experience unlovable reactions after eating a diet containing them. Potatoes allergies are not common, but they immediately react after peeling, touching, or eating potatoes. If you’re allergic to them, you’ll have symptoms like red and itchy skin, sore and irritating throat, itchy eyes, stuffy nose, and too much sneezing. Once you realizeyour body is aggressive towards potatoes, avoid eating them and keep off from any meal prepared with them.


Potatoes have a long shelf life. How long they’ll stay fresh depends on how you’ll store them. As long as you keep them in the right conditions, your potatoes will not turn green or go bad quickly. Avoid consuming a spoilt potato if your health is important to you. If it’s only a small part that is green or spoilt, peel the bad part and cook the remainder. Otherwise, if it’s the whole potato, throw it away. No matter what, always consume a fresh potato!


We would like to thank the below contributors who have helped us to write this article:


Nataly Komova

Nutritionist. Bluffton University, MS In today's world, people's eating and exercise patterns have changed, and it is often lifestyle that is the cause of many diet-related illnesses. I believe that each of us is unique – what works for one does not help another. What is more, it can even be harmful. I am interested in food psychology, which studies a person's relationship with their body and food, explains our choices and desires for specific products, the difficulty of maintaining optimal body weight, as well as the influence of various internal and external factors on appetite. I'm also an avid vintage car collector, and currently, I'm working on my 1993 W124 Mercedes. You may have stumbled upon articles I have been featured in, for example, in Cosmopolitan, Elle, Grazia, Women's Health, The Guardian, and others.