Rabu, 14 September 2011

I'm packing your extra pair of shoes, and your angry eyes just in case.

You hear it all the time . . . eat green vegetables.  They mean green leafy veggies notpotatoes.  Green potatoes are, in fact,poisonous.  Actually . . . all potatoesare poisonous but you have to eat eleven pounds of them in one sitting to feelany ill effect.

Potatoes are a member of solanaceae . . . the nightshadeplant . . .  family. They make a toxinwhich is a neurotoxin called solanine . . . a relative of strychnine.  Solanine tends to concentrate in the areas ofthe potato that are exposed to sunlight. They turn green because the light exposure encourages the production ofchlorophyll.  The chlorophyll is harmlessbut it indicates a concentration of toxins so be ware. 

The production of solanine is a defensive mechanism . . . itprevents them from being eaten by predators. Solanine poisoning causes nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps,burning of the throat, cardiac dysrhythmia, headache and dizziness . . . and ifyou consume enough of it  . . . death,hallucinations, and paralysis.

I was always taught that when you see patches of green onpotatoes as you peel them, cut out the green parts entirely and discard them.  Others say you should discard the wholepotato. To prevent the production of solanine in potatoes, always storethem in a cool (not cold), completely dark place.

The eyes have it . . . solanine and lots of it.  They are indeed very poisonous to eat . . .so don’t!  Make sure to remove the eyesfrom a potato before eating it and discard any potatoes that have started tosprout . . . unless you plan to plant them. The leaves and stems of the potato plant are also naturally high inglycoalkaloids, so ingestion of these parts of the plant must be avoided at allcosts. 

Green potato chips . . . poisonous?  Only slightly.  Let’s just say you’d have to eat a whole heckof a lot . . . like a chip per dollar of our national debt a lot . . .  of them to get sick and you’d probably getsick from just eating that many potato chips, in general. 

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