Do oxidized potatoes taste different?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Do oxidized potatoes taste different? We will explain how and why potatoes oxidize, keep them from oxidizing, and why potatoes can be very toxic. 

Do oxidized potatoes taste different?

Yes, oxides potatoes will taste different. The taste may be somewhat more unpleasant and its nutritional value will not be the same. Despite the color change, potatoes browned by polyphenol oxidation can be consumed in the usual way.

 You can remove the browned parts (which will be the most superficial in contact with the oxygen in the air) but, if they are not going to cook immediately, it would be advisable to cover the cut and peeled potatoes with fresh water and a little lemon juice to avoid the effect of the PFO enzyme. 

If the objective is to fry these potatoes, dry them well before putting them in the hot oil to avoid burns and fires due to excess water.

Why do potatoes oxidize?

Potatoes take on a brownish hue when peeled or cut because when their tissues are broken, an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase (PFO) is released, which can oxidize polyphenols and trigger a series of reactions that end up giving dark compounds (melanoidins).

The action of the PFO enzyme is hindered in an oxygen-poor environment (for example underwater) or in the presence of a substance capable of oxidizing before potatoes (such as ascorbic acid that we can find, for example in lemon juice). 

The PFO carries copper as a prosthetic group, so if it is removed from balance (for example with citric acid) its action is hindered. It also works worse in acidic environments. All this explains why peeling the potatoes and immersing them in water with a little lemon juice maintains the color.

How to keep potatoes from oxidizing?

Oxidation occurs when oxygen and light enter beyond the protective shell of food and react with nutrients. Not all foods oxidize as quickly, but the process is also influenced by temperature. Cold-stored foods oxidize harder than those stored at room temperature.

  • The immersion in the cold water of foods such as potatoes has the role of slowing down the oxidation process.
  •  Freezing potatoes has the role of stopping the enzymes that trigger oxidation, but only during freezing, which is activated when the products are thawed. That is why the low temperatures in the refrigerator have the role of slowing down the deterioration process.
  • Dehydration is a successful method of preserving certain fruits and vegetables. The enzymes responsible for oxidizing fruits and vegetables need water to be active, so with hydration comes the risk of oxidation.
  • Other methods of treating food against oxidation are also known in the industry, but due to the complex techniques, they cannot be applied in housewives’ kitchens.

Potatoes can be very toxic food.

The potato is one of the most important foods in our diet. It is a cheap and nutrient-rich product, which also allows us to prepare it in different ways and get the most out of it. Potato has been and is the main livelihood of many people, but we must not overlook that it can be very toxic food.

We have never noticed the possible toxicity of the potato, and what many people do not know is that this apparently harmless food can be very harmful to our health if we do not consume it properly. Of course, you will wonder why all this. The answer lies in the alkaloid solanine that the potato has both in the plant and in the tuber, and it is what makes it toxic to humans.

This substance is found throughout the entire potato plant, it is a defense mechanism that it has to prevent insects and other predators and parasites from killing it. It is a type of natural pesticide that appears in high concentrations in the tender stems of potatoes and their leaves, and to a much lesser extent in tubers, which, after all, is what we eat.

Specifically, in tubers or potatoes, solanine is found in the green substance that is just under the skin, which makes eating them raw or with their skin a danger to our health, since this alkaloid not only affects animals but also that the human being also causes effects. 

For this reason, it is important to clean the potatoes well and remove all the skin, including this green layer that covers them. When cooking them, they must be done without skin to prevent this alkaloid from affecting us.

Solanine poisoning affects our body through gastrointestinal and neurological imbalances. That is, the symptoms of solanine poisoning translate into the stomach and digestive discomfort, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, headache, dizziness, sore throat, various allergic reactions … Although the degree of toxicity depends a lot, extreme cases have reached cases of loss of consciousness, hallucinations, hypothermia, low blood pressure.

Final thoughts

In this blog post, we answered the following question: Do oxidized potatoes taste different? We explained how and why potatoes oxidize, how to keep them from oxidizing, and why potatoes can be very toxic food. 

We must be careful when consuming potatoes, especially if they have oxidized.  We already know that it is an essential ingredient in our kitchen and an essential source of carbohydrates, but we have to know the effects that its misuse can have on our health.

Of course, the potatoes that are marketed have totally controlled solanine levels, but it is advisable to remove the skin perfectly and consume the potatoes as soon as possible since the concentrations of this alkaloid increase the older the specimen is.

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!

References

WebMD.com

Who.int

Foodsafety.gov

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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.

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