In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “How do you know when potatoes are cooked?”, discuss answers to other related questions like can you eat raw potatoes and what are the harmful aspects of eating raw potatoes.
How do you know when potatoes are cooked?
The potatoes are cooked when you don’t feel any resistance when you poke them with a skewer or a knife. To know if potatoes are cooked or not, you can trust your sense of smell and the meat thermometer.
You can smell the aroma of a fully baked potato, or one that only has a few minutes to go as the steam escapes the vent in the oven. You have to grab the potato out of the oven with a mitt and use your hands to hold it while poking a fork into the middle of the largest part of the potato, it should pierce the center easily with little resistance and come out dry rather than moist. Visually, the skin should have dried out just enough to have a crispy texture.
When it comes to the meat thermometer, potatoes are ready when their internal temperature reaches 208 to 211 degrees Fahrenheit. A fork easily pierces a baker when it’s done. If the potato is hard, bake a little longer. However, watch out for over-baking, or drying of the underskin will occur.
Can you eat raw potatoes?
Due to the poisonous substances found in the potatoes, one may wonder that is it safe to eat raw potatoes or not? The answer is yes, you can eat raw potatoes as the amount of solanine found in a potato is not enough to kill a human being but eating it can make you very sick. Make sure that it is not safe to eat raw green potatoes or potatoes that have sprouts as they have high solanine content, which can cause symptoms including stomach pain, headache, and paralysis.
Health benefits of eating raw potatoes
Raw potatoes provide certain nutrients that are not provided by the cooked potatoes. Therefore, raw potatoes are beneficial for health in many ways including:
Resistant starch content
Many foods including maize, topica, rice, wheat, and potatoes are considered to be high with resistant starch content. This type of starch is resistant to be digested by the small intestine but when it passes to the large intestine, it is fermented to produce gas and fatty acids. These products formed after the fermentation of resistant starch act as prebiotic for the probiotics present in the gut.
Resistant starch promotes insulin sensitivity, controls blood sugar levels, and so it contributes to control hunger and weight. When this starch is fermented, it produces short-chain fatty acids, such as butyric acid. Butyric acid, also known as butyrate, has been found to possess anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerous properties. Butyric acid is also known to possess laxative properties, and so it contributes to relieve the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
High in vitamin C
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble and heat-sensitive vitamin. Raw potatoes have twice as much ascorbic acid as baked potatoes.
Vitamin C acts as an excellent antioxidant to fight oxidative stress. Free radicals that are produced as a result of oxidative stress can cause atherosclerosis and cancer. Vitamin C is also known to be great for skin and bone health because it plays an important role in collagen formation.
In addition to vitamin C, raw potatoes are also known to be rich in riboflavin and thiamine and offer lesser calories and carbohydrates than their baked counterparts.
Harmful aspects of eating raw potatoes
As discussed, raw potatoes can provide certain nutrients that are not provided by the baked potatoes, but you can not prefer eating raw potatoes just because they provide more nutrients when there are potential risks associated with eating them raw:
Antinutrients may inhibit nutrient absorption
Raw potatoes contain antinutrient substances like trypsin, protein inhibitor, and lectin. These substances are known to meddle with the digestion and absorption of different nutrients resulting in deficiencies of major and minor nutrients.
Studies have shown that the level of these antinutrients is reduced by 50% by cooking potatoes. These substances, if not reduced, can result in serious deficiencies in people whose staple ingredient of diet is grains, legumes, or tubers.
Raw potatoes may have traces of pesticides, fungicides, and pathogenic bacteria in the soil even after you have washed and peeled them off. Therefore, eating raw potatoes is associated with higher risks of food poisoning. Also, the resistant starch content of raw potatoes can lead to stomach unease including stomach flatulence and diarrhea.
In this brief guide, we answered the question “How do you know when potatoes are cooked?”, discussed answers to other related questions like can you eat raw potatoes and what are the harmful aspects of eating raw potatoes.