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Old 06/22/09, 01:02 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Western North Carolina
Posts: 84
HELP! Bitter new potatoes

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?

Thanks, Megan
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Old 06/22/09, 04:40 PM
garden guy
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: AR (ozarks)
Posts: 3,516
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.
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Old 06/22/09, 07:12 PM
Wisconsin Ann's Avatar
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: South Central Wisconsin
Posts: 13,635
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? did you prepare them? Is it possible that something got into the bowl/pan/butter/whatever?
"A good photograph is knowing where to stand. - Ansel Adams
(and a lot of luck - Wisconsin Ann)
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Old 06/22/09, 10:15 PM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: NW Minnesota
Posts: 474
Did the plants look healthy, without much bug damage? A few years ago my potato plants had severe bug damage and the tubers were off-flavor after boiling.
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Old 06/22/09, 10:28 PM
MELOC's Avatar
Master Of My Domain
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 7,220
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.
this message has probably been edited to correct typos, spelling errors and to improve grammar...

"All that is gold does not glitter..."
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Old 06/23/09, 08:47 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 500
Originally Posted by MELOC View Post
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.
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Old 06/23/09, 02:15 PM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: ok
Posts: 78
Copied this pretty interesting.

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.
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Old 06/28/09, 07:04 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Western North Carolina
Posts: 84
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.

Thanks again for all the responses.
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