In this brief article we are going to answer the question,” Can you eat potatoes without peeling them?” We will also discuss the toxin present in the skin of the potatoes, symptoms of its poisoning and ways to reduce its levels. We will briefly talk about the benefits attributed with eating potato skin and some ways to peel potatoes.
Can you eat potatoes without peeling them?
Yes, you can eat potatoes without peeling them. Data from The International Potato Center (CIP) states that potatoes are the third most important food crop in the world behind rice and wheat in terms of human consumption. The global total crop is actually estimated to exceed 300 million metric tons.
Potatoes can be enjoyed with the skin, you just need to make sure that you get rid of the green parts that contain a toxic compound known as solanine.
What is Solanine?
When potatoes are grown in an environment with light and warmth, the potato tubers prepare to sprout and in the process produce a lot of chlorophyll. The increase in production of chlorophyll eventually tints the skin of the potatoes green. Chlorophyll in itself is not harmless but its increase also points that there’s an increase of an alkaloid called solanine.
Solanine is an alkaloid poison which is naturally present in potatoes in the upper one eighth of the skin. Solanine at concentrations of 0.1% is toxic and can poison someone. Good thing is potatoes with solanine usually have a bitter taste so you’d naturally expect someone to stop eating them.
Exposure to light can make the solanine levels increase by tenfold so always make sure to store potatoes in a dark room.
What are the symptoms of solanine poisoning?
As discussed if you consume solanine in high levels it might poison you, here are some of the symptoms of solanine poisoning:
- Fever or lower than normal body temperature (hypothermia)
- Slow pulse and/or breathing
- Stomach or abdominal pain
How to reduce solanine levels in potatoes?
Alkaloids such as solanine have shown to decompose at high temperatures of about 170 °C (338 °F). If you deep fry potatoes at 210 °C (410 °F) for around 10 mins that causes a loss of 40% of the solanine.
However, if you want to completely remove solanine the best method is to put the potatoes in vinegar having a temperature of 30-60 degrees celsius and with a concentration of 0.3-1.0% vol of acetic acid for around 2-5 mins.
What are the benefits of eating potato skins?
Potato skins have a ton of health benefits which are even better if you’re going to be eating all organic potato skins. Let’s take a look at a couple of them:
Anti-allergy and Immunity benefits:
Potato skins contain flavonoids. Flavonoids are well known for fighting free radicals and limiting oxidative stress. Potato skin contains Quercetin, a flavonoid that possesses anti-allergy properties.
Potato skin contains choline:
Choline is an essential nutrient that assists the brain in regulating the memory, mood and muscle controls.
Beneficial to the bones:
Potato skin contains minerals such as calcium, copper, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and zinc. These minerals are essential for having a good bone structure and strength.
Contains Vitamin C:
Potato skin has Vitamin C which is an antioxidant. The entire potato peel has around 8 grams of Vitamin C which is also a good immunity booster.
Potato skins are rich in fiber:
Potato skin contains fiber which is good in assisting in digestion mainly by preventing or relieving constipation.
Can potato skin be eaten raw?
It is not such a great idea to consume an entire potato skin raw. Sure, having a tiny bit of it when raw but well cleaned might not give you any side effects.
Potato skins contain a high amount of starch and this makes it difficult for your body to digest all that starch until it is well cooked.
Potato skins also do not taste that great when raw. There are a number of great recipes that can be used in cooking potatoes and having them taste better so it makes no sense to have them raw.
How do you eat potato peels?
Potato peels as mentioned have some good nutritional benefits and should really be incorporated in your diet. But the question is how do you enjoy them?
The best way to enjoy the potato with their skin is by just baking the potatoes and having sides of butter, salt and pepper. You could also have them fried but that takes away from their nutrition and you get to miss out.
I’m sure you can also get some great recipes online on how to style and make some great potatoes with peels that you can enjoy.
Other FAQs about Potatoes that you may be interested in.
In this brief article, we answered the question “can you eat potatoes without freezing them?”. We discussed the benefits of potato peels. We also briefly talked about the toxin in raw potato peels and how to reduce and eliminate it.