Can you eat red potato skin? (benefits and drawbacks)

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat red potato skin?” and discuss what is the composition of red potato skin, the benefits and drawbacks of eating red potato skin, and how to include whole red potatoes in your diet.

Can you eat red potato skin?

Yes, you can eat red potato skin. The red colour characterises the presence of pigments, namely anthocyanins, which are antioxidant compounds (1).

When compared to other potato varieties, red potatoes contain a higher concentration of these compounds in their skin, which makes them an important source of antioxidants (2, 3).

Red potatoes have a red-coloured skin and, depending on the variety, red-coloured flesh of the tubers. They are in general long in shape and have shallow depth of eyes (1).

There are many varieties of red potatoes, including the IdaRose, Red Nordland, Red Pontiac, Chieftain, Red Gold and the Sunset in the United States (4, 5).

What is the composition of red potato skin?

The composition of red potato skin varies depending on the variety. It is known that red potato varieties have a significantly higher concentration of phenolics in their composition, especially anthocyanins, which give the skin a red colour (1, 2, 3).

The main nutrients in the skin of red potatoes, such as starch, fibres and ash, do not differ greatly from other potato varieties. The average of these nutrients is presented in the table below, for the composition of potato peel (2):

Nutrient Amount in 100 g of dry matter
water 84.2 g
protein 1.8 g
lipids 0.3 g
carbohydrates 10.6 g
starch 7.8 g
fibres 2.5 g
ash 1.3 g

What are the benefits of eating red potato skin?

The benefit of eating red potato skin is the presence of plant pigments called anthocyanins, which characterise the red colour of the red potato skin (1, 2, 3).

These plant pigments are phenolic compounds and have antioxidant properties. They act by neutralising the oxygen-reactive species present in the body. Oxygen reactive species (ROS) cause cell damage and oxidative stress, leading to diseases (1, 3).

The ingestion of antioxidant-rich foods is related to a reduced risk of developing inflammatory diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and age-related degenerative disorders (1, 3).

Regular potatoes also have antioxidant compounds in their flesh and skin, including phenolic acids, flavonols and anthocyanins. However, the concentration of anthocyanins is higher in red potato varieties (2, 3). 

What are the drawbacks of eating red potato skin?

The drawback of eating red potato skin or the skin of other potato varieties is the higher concentration of glycoalkaloids in the composition of the skin (3).

Glycoalkaloids are secondary plant metabolites that act to protect the plant from insect invasions. They are found in vegetables of the Solanaceae family, such as tomatoes and potatoes (3).

These compounds are considered toxic for human ingestion and can cause negative effects.

The ingestion of a great amount of this metabolite can cause gastrointestinal discomforts, such as diarrhoea, vomiting, and stomach pain, and also other symptoms, such as hallucinations, increased heart rate and neurological disorders.

Because glycoalkaloids are found in a higher concentration in damaged and improperly stored vegetables, it is recommended to attend to good handling and storage practices for the potatoes (3).

In addition, it is recommended to cook the potato skin to reduce the amount of these compounds. 

Other FAQs about Potatoes that you may be interested in.

How to store chopped potatoes?

Are potatoes fruit?

Are potatoes a root?

How to include red potato skin in your diet?

You can include red potato skin in your diet simply by not removing the skin from the red potatoes when cooking them. Wash and cut the potatoes and cook, bake or fry them without peeling them first.

Another way to include the red potato skin in your diet is to produce a powder out of the dried red potato skins and add it in the preparation of soups, cakes and breads (6).

Dry the skin of red potatoes in a food dehydrator or oven for 10 to 16 hours at 60 °C and pulverise them using a food blender.

Due to the high amount of carbohydrates and starch, dried potato skin powder can be used as a thickener in soups and as a substitute for flour in bakery products (6).

Conclusion 

In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat red potato skin?” and discussed what is the composition of red potato skin, the benefits and drawbacks of eating red potato skin and how to include whole red potatoes in your diet.

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References

1.-

Jariene E, Vaitkeviciene N, Danilcenko H, Gajewski M, Chupakhina G, Fedurajev P, Ingold R. Influence of biodynamic preparations on the quality indices and antioxidant compounds content in the tubers of coloured potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.). Notulae Botanicae Horti Agrobotanici Cluj-Napoca. 2015 Dec 10;43(2):392-7.

2.-

Sepelev I, Galoburda R. Industrial potato peel waste application in food production: a review. Res Rural Dev. 2015 May;1:130-6.

3.-

Rodríguez-Martínez B, Gullón B, Yáñez R. Identification and Recovery of Valuable Bioactive Compounds from Potato Peels: A Comprehensive Review. Antioxidants [Internet] 2021;10(10):1630. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/antiox10101630

4.-

Variety information [Internet]. Uidaho.edu. [cited 2023 Sep 26]. Available from: https://www.uidaho.edu/cals/potatoes/varieties

5.-

Zarka KA, Kells DC, Douches DS, Robin Buell C. In Your Home Garden [Internet]. Msu.edu. [cited 2023 Sep 26]. Available from: https://www.canr.msu.edu/uploads/files/growingpotatoes.pdf

6.-

Taiyeba N, Gupta A, Verma T. Utilization of Sweet Potato Peels and Potato Peels for the Department of Value Added Food Products. Int. J. Curr. Microbiol. App. Sci. 2020;9(10):546-3.