The Lowdown on Green Potatoes

Have you ever opened up your bag of potatoes and been instantly reminded of the Wicked Witch of the West? While these green potatoes aren't afraid of water or are on the hunt for a pair of red shoes, green-tinged potatoes are pretty off putting to find. We do love all the colors of the rainbow-just not in our potatoes.

Thankfully these green skin potatoes are perfectly healthy to eat. The reason is actually due to exposure to light. According to food scientist Harold McGee, potatoes contain two types of alkaloids (chemical compounds) named solanine and chaconine which are present between 2 - 15 milligrams per quarter-pound.

And while these are found in all potatoes, their levels of alkaloids can increase when the potato plant is growing in a stressful environment (didn't know I could actually relate to a potato) or the potato is exposed to higher levels of light. The exposure to something like fluorescent lights cause the chlorophyll to formation, thus the skin of the potato turns green.

Due to the higher levels of alkaloids, greening potatoes have a bitter taste and can cause some tummy trouble. High levels of the alkaloids can even cause neurological problems but the number of high toxic level cases are rare and in between. 

Instead, we suggest peeling the potato skin and cutting away the parts of the potato that have a bit of green color. You can prevent potatoes from coloring by storing potatoes in a dark place which is well ventilated like a pantry. And when at the grocery store make sure to inspect the potatoes before placing them in your cart.

Still grossed out from the thought of eating green potatoes? Try out these ways to use up different potato varieties without actually eating them.

1. Sooth a Minor Burn

Burn your self taking that pan out of the oven? Heal that sore skin fast with a slice of potato. Place a slice of raw potato on the burn to act as a cool compress. Ahhh, it feels better already.

2. Make a Stamp

Go back in time to your elementary school years with this hack. Using a sharp paring knife, cut out a design and place the potato in a stamp pad. Volia! An instant arts and crafts project.

3. Destain Your Hands

Hate peeling beets and having pink hands for the next two days? Take a slice of potato and rub it on the stained area. It's almost like a magic eraser.

4. Make Your Silverware Shine

Silverware looking a bit dull after last week's dinner party? Boil some potatoes and remove them with a spoon. Add the silverware to the potato water and let sit for 30 minutes before polishing.

5. Nourish Skin

Is your face looking a bit more red than usual? Cut up (or puree) a potato and place on your face for an instant face mask. Bonus points if you post a picture.

Watch: The 8 Health Benefits of Vodka