Hi all...we just ate some new potatoes from the garden and they were awfully bitter-- our throats still burn! I called poison control and they said that only a bite shouldn't cause much reaction but I am still nervous (I am 3 mos. pregnant) and now scared to eat any of these potatoes. They were not green and so we were very surprised.
Anyone have any experience with this? How to prevent? should I pull up the whole crop?
Location: Northwoods of Minnesota, formerly of Texas
weird - never heard of that unless they were green or exposed to the sun. Let us know what you find out! yikes
try not to worry too much -you've done the right thing - we are expanding our wild edibles and each time we try something new and different, I always think I might be enjoying my last meal!
Have you gardened in that spot before? Where did you get your seed potatoes? No chance of insecticide or petroleum contamination either from the ground or runoff or something like that? Did you toss fertilizer in the ground when you tossed on your seed potatoes? Was there anything unusual about your growing season?
Thise are the questions I'd be asking myself...
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Some varieties of taters in peru have lots of oxalates in them and are naturally freeze dried in peru before they are able to be eaten, if yours were those kinds or you grew them from seeds that may be the problem.
What variety are they, or just "ones from the feed store" (our feed store gets seed potatoes every spring...just generic white taters)
Is there any way someone tossed waste oil nearby? pesticide runoff or runoff from a nearby field a farmer spreads manure on? What about posts for the fence...what are they made of and are they green treated or treated with oil perhaps?
and..how did you prepare them? Is it possible that something got into the bowl/pan/butter/whatever?
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skins on? i think i have encountered a slight bitter taste before, but i think there may have been a little green involved. i know the skins were on when i tasted the bitter taste.
Sometimes new potatos can be extra starchy to the point that they have a more bitter flavor. We always eat them with the skins on. It never bothers me because I'm enjoy the creamier texture of newer potatos but my kids notice. After some storage the starches start turning to sugars and the flavor is more to the kids liking. Peeling may help too but it seems like an extra shame to peel a thin skinned new potato.
A bitter taste in potatoes is mainly in the peel is probably solanine (i.e. what makes green potatoes poisonous) - they don't have to be green to have a lot of it in. It is poisonous so best to avoid eating if possible. It will be strongest in the peel.
Jersey Royals are worst for this when they're obviously not old potatoes and it's old potatoes that are usually most likely to have had this build up, but I've heard several times of people finding them bitter or even burning - but as far as I know there's no other explanation for a bitter taste in potatoes than solanine.
Thanks so much everyone. Mommydom took over there for a while, so I apologize for not responding sooner.
We were all OK, even my son, although we don't know if he actually ate any of the potatoes. The burning subsided after about an hour (from only ONE bite!!) The soil in the area is great and newly amended with organic materials but no petro-based fertilizers. We think the buildup of solanine was a stress response of the potato to insect attack (after several conversations with poison control and cooperative extension, plus some online research). We don't know the variety but I did go ahead and dig them all up. I wasn't counting on a big harvest and it wasn't a big loss for us. Next year I am going to taste test a SMALL bite before eating our taters...I guess a little extra vigilance won't hurt us.