MENU
 

It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to askdrgourmet@drgourmet.com and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.

Please note that the Ask Dr. Gourmet feature is restricted to questions regarding food and nutrition. Due to the many questions we receive, not all questions may be answered. For more specific questions about your individual health, please contact your doctor. About Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy


 

Ask Dr. Gourmet



The last supermarket potatoes (yellow potatoes) [that I purchased]... when I peeled them had a green layer just underneath the skin. I remember reading a long time ago that it is harmful. Could you please address this for me?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

a square basket containing several Yukon Gold (yellow) potatoes

Storing potatoes in the light encourages chlorophyll production just under the skin. Unfortunately, the process can also result in a buildup of solanine. This natural alkaloid is not life threatening, but consuming solanine can cause side effects including gastrointestinal distress, nausea, headaches, and fatigue. The chlorophyll and solanine production appears to occur more readily in waxy potatoes as well as those with light skins.

I store my potatoes in a dark, cool place as it retards this process and also keeps sprouts from forming. They will remain fresh longer also.

Although it would take a fair amount of solanine to cause illness, it's a good idea to peel the potato and discard the skin and the green layer under the skin. The potatoes will then be safe to eat.

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP
Dr. Gourmet