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Potatoes. The tuber, of various colors and numerous varieties, has become an extremely important crop over the last few centuries and is used in a wide variety of cultures and cuisines. The wide variety of potato dishes make use of boiled, fried or baked potatoes for the most part, which makes them edible. However, there are certain forms of preparation and nutrition that use raw and semi-raw potatoes. Is it true that raw Solanum tuberosum is poisonous?

ingredient solanine

Like other nightshade plants (bot. Solanaceae), the potato has alkaloids that are poisonous and not suitable for consumption. Alkaloids are organic compounds based on nitrogen and alkaline substances that are formed not only by plants but also by other living things. In the case of the potato, the alkaloids produced are so-called solanine, the name of which refers to the nightshade family. It is formed exclusively by the Solanaceae and consists of the following two substances.

  • Solanidine: a saponin
  • solatriosis: a carbohydrate made up of other chemical components, such as glucose
Potatoes are a staple food in Germany

Solanine is a steroid alkaloid that protects potatoes from predators, bacteria, pests and microorganisms. From a dose of 400 milligrams, solanine is deadly because it attacks the central nervous system and often leads to shortness of breath and fatal paralysis. The first signs of poisoning appear at a level of 200 milligrams and are manifested by a variety of symptoms, including the following.

  • drowsiness
  • Hyperesthesia: Hypersensitivity to touch
  • Breathing becomes difficult
  • nausea
  • Vomit
  • You can feel itching or burning in your throat
  • Inflammation of the intestines and kidneys
  • Dissolving the erythrocytes (red blood cells)
  • fever
  • pain in the limbs
  • cardiac arrhythmias
  • Damage to the central nervous system

solanine poisoning

Don't worry, such solanine poisoning isn't possible with commercially available potatoes. Even raw or semi-raw potatoes can only cause poisoning from an increasing quantity of at least three kilograms. So many potatoes are upsetting to the stomach even after a small number, as they are often inedible uncooked and cannot be digested as easily. Of course, they are still poisonous, but the symptoms of poisoning are limited.

  • general nausea (“heavy stomach”)
  • Vomit
  • diarrhea
  • breathing problems
  • cramps
potato varieties

Because of this, raw or semi-raw potatoes can be eaten, but only in small amounts. If solanine accumulates in the body over a long period of time, it also has a negative effect on your health. That's because solanine doesn't really dissolve in the body, so it can cause problems over time. Children and sensitive people in particular should avoid eating uncooked potatoes in order not to suffer from solanine poisoning. Small portions of the uncooked ones are fine for healthy adults with no allergies unless the Solanum tuberosum are in the following conditions.

  • very old
  • green
  • provided with seedlings

If one of these conditions occurs, you should definitely boil the potatoes beforehand, as a lot of solanine can accumulate, especially in the skin of the green parts. The increased quantity is on average 35 milligrams per 100 grams of green, raw tubers, which triggers the first symptoms of poisoning with a potato quantity of around 571.42 grams. Such a quantity is consumable, but it should be avoided at all costs. The lethal dose would therefore be twice as much. Sprouts and very old potatoes do not have as high a solanine content, but are more dangerous than ripe, cooked potatoes.

Tip: Solanine poisoning was a serious problem in earlier centuries, even resulting in regular deaths. The reason for this was the extremely high concentration of the alkaloid in the potato varieties of the time, which is no longer the case today.

potato plants


If you want to try one of the potato dishes with raw potatoes, you should definitely make sure that the potatoes are stored correctly before you eat them. This is particularly important as this is the only way they are not highly toxic and can be consumed in small amounts without any problems. Store the nightshades in the following ways to keep them edible.

  • store in a cool and dark place
  • Pantries are perfect for this
  • in the case of cellar storage, attention must be paid to moisture
  • do not store for too long, because the solanine content increases with increasing age of the tubers
  • do not store tubers with seedlings as they are high in solanine
  • large tubers are more advantageous to store than small ones
  • this is due to the distribution of peel to pulp
  • the more skin there is, the higher the solanine content in the potato
  • larger tubers have lower solanine content without the skin

This type of storage is generally recommended for all potatoes. In fact, sun and heat increase the formation of green spots, which are poisonous and should never be eaten. In general, these potatoes should be discarded if you intend to eat them raw. Remember that raw and even semi-raw potatoes must always be peeled before eating to reduce the risk of poisoning. While the peel may taste good after grilling, it is inedible when raw and is even quite difficult to swallow.

Tip: Do not store the tubers in the refrigerator. In the refrigerator, the flavor of the potato changes as the starch is converted to sugar, making it very sweet and often tasteless.

Store potatoes properly


From childhood days, parents warned that potatoes should never be eaten raw, semi-raw, or with green spots. This also applies to the seedlings. Solanine is toxic, so it's important to know the best way to eat potatoes without risking poisoning. You have to consider a few points, according to which it is even possible to integrate potatoes into your baby's food. The following points should be mentioned here.

Peel or peel

removing the skin is one of the best ways to remove high levels of solanine from potatoes before cooking them. The highest amounts of solanine are found in the skin and it is therefore not recommended to leave it on the tuber for consumption. Especially green areas must be removed. Peeling after cooking is more recommended than peeling, as this allows vitamins and other nutrients to remain in the potato.


when solanine is heated in boiling water, it escapes from the potatoes and then collects in the boiling water. For this reason, this water must no longer be used for cooking and must be thrown away. The tubers are then free of solanine.

raw, halved potato


yes, solanine is toxic, but there is a third way to process solanum tuberosum. You can juice the tubers after peeling and simply drink them, which even has positive effects on the body:

  • Potato juice has a high number of antioxidants
  • has a calming effect on the stomach, for example in heartburn

While you shouldn't drink too much of raw potato juice, juicing is a tasty alternative to cooking the popular tuber.

Tip: Solanine decomposes at a temperature of 260°C. For this reason, baked potatoes in their skins can be prepared at such temperatures without hesitation and then eaten.

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