While surfing the net for a completely different topic, I came across the sad story an eight-year old Russian girl who became an orphan when rotting potatoes in the root cellar killed the whole family. I can recall my grandmother sorting out green-tinted potatoes and potatoes with long eyes. She threw them to the pigs or planted them. More than once I have smelled a rotting potato under the sink and had the unpleasant task of cleaning the mess.
So how can a potato kill you without the french-fry grease, sour cream or twice-baked bacon crumble?
According to the Michigan State University Extension rotting potatoes give off solanine gas. A green potato indicates the toxin is present. The reason why Gran-pap always planted the potatoes deep was because the light reacts with my favorite starch producing vegetable- creating higher levels of solanine.
In a confined space solanine gas can cause a person to fall unconscious and stop breathing which is what happened to the child’s family. There have been more reports over the centuries of such a thing happening.
Not only can potatoes be a problem but other veggies from the nightshade family such as tomatoes and eggplant. The addition of light to a potato, however, is how solanine becomes toxic. It is best to store ‘taters in a cool, dark place where you can ventilate the area should some go bad. Do not forget them under the sink, in other words.
If the potato has long eyes,
If it is turning “Hulk” green,
It might be best to say good-bye
To the french fry-
before it turns solanine mean.
Okay, so I mashed that poem-Take it with a grain of salt, a pat of butter and some freshly cracked pepper. LoL