Sweet potatoes are tubular vegetables containing macronutrients like starch, fiber, and protein, as well as a variety of micronutrients like manganese, copper, potassium, iron, vitamin B complex, vitamin C, vitamin E, and provitamin A.
When you see sprouts growing, you might want to eat your sweet potatoes soon.
Sprouts drain nutrients, sugars, and water, resulting in dry, pithy sweet potatoes.
If the sweet potato has soft flesh and wrinkly skin, it might have just begun to go rancid and will start losing its nutrients.
Sprouted sweet potatoes will become mushy, brown, or black if left for too long.
You should never eat a sweet potato that has gone brown or black.
Caused by a fungus, Ceratocystis Fimbriata or black rot is known for causing death and sickness in cattle.
Some of the black rot might have spread into the flesh of the sweet potato.
Black rot is usually transmitted from the parent plant but can spread through the soil, equipment, or insects.
Consuming any mold or black rot can lead to terrible health consequences and should not be risked.
Sweet potato is a staple food in many parts of the world and is a drought-tolerant crop that has the potential to improve food security.
Sweet potatoes are particularly important due to their abundant bioactive components and high nutritional value.
They are an excellent substitute for regular potatoes and contain high levels of the powerful antioxidant beta carotene.
Like all other antioxidants, beta carotene is necessary for our bodies to balance the free radicals we accumulate from the ozone, smoke, radiation, industrial chemicals, and other air pollutants.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that, if left unchecked, can cause severe illnesses like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cancers, and heart disease.
Are Sweet Potato Sprouts Poisonous?
In addition, the young leaves of stem tips contain significantly higher levels of protein, beta carotene, vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, and iron than sweet potato roots.
The sprouts are an excellent green vegetable because of their high fiber and protein content and low oxalic acid content.
However, sweet potatoes that go bad can cause some severe illnesses.
Check the sweet potato by:
- Smelling it – Like all food, if the sweet potato smells bad, it is rotten and needs to be composted or discarded.
- Squeezing it – The sweet potato should be firm when you squeeze it, not mushy.
- Check the ends.
They are usually the parts to go mushy first.
Check if the color has changed – If the sweet potato is discolored, it should be composted or thrown away.
Look for mold – Molds can produce toxic chemicals like mycotoxins, trigger allergies, and cause breathing problems.
If mold is present, it can be cut away if the rest of the sweet potato is good.
Just cut deep enough and make sure the knife does not touch any mold.
Check for black rot – A dry, firm dark-colored patch, black rot is a dangerous infection caused by the fungus Ceratocystis Fimbriata.
It is a common cause of death and sickness in cattle spread through infected soil, equipment, or insects.
Never eat a sweet potato that has turned black or brown.
Consuming any black rot can lead to disastrous consequences.
When Not to Eat Sweet Potatoes?
Although sweet potatoes contain high levels of nutrients and minerals, they might not suit people taking beta-blockers, a medication prescribed by doctors for heart disease, because of their high potassium content.
People with kidney problems should keep track of how much potassium they consume.
Severe complications can occur, for example, if a person with impaired kidney function consumes more potassium than their kidneys can process.
In addition, sweet potatoes that have gone bad should be discarded. Inspect for unusual colors, holes, and mold.
Mold can grow on one or both tips of a sweet potato that otherwise appears to be healthy.
You can still save a moldy sweet potato by cutting the mold out.
Be careful to cut deep enough and not to let your knife touch the mold and spread it.
Wrinkly skin and softening flesh are the first signs that a sweet potato is starting to go bad.
Old sweet potatoes can still be eaten with the sprouts unless they are extremely mushy or have started to change color.
Never eat a sweet potato if it has gone brown or black.
Black rot is caused by the fungus Ceratocystis Fimbriata is one of the common causes of death in livestock.
Black rot is a dry, black patch that can form on the outside of a sweet potato.
As the fungus may spread into the seemingly unaffected flesh, black rot cannot be cut out.
A healthy sweet potato should have a uniform color.
It’s likely to have rows of dark, shallow depressions running up and down its length.
Good sweet potatoes are dry, smooth, dense, and heavy.
Are Sweet Potatoes Sprayed with Pesticides?
However, the amount of chemicals found in sweet potatoes is way below dangerous levels.
Regulatory agencies determine the maximum amount that test animals can take with no adverse effect.
This is known as the No Observed Adverse Effect Level, or NOAEL.
A safety factor of often 100 is then added to develop the maximum exposure that is safe for humans.
According to Professor Joe Schwarcz, director of McGill University’s Office for Science & Society, the procedure for registering a chemical for agricultural use is a well-thought-out process with extensive testing and research.
There is a lot of work that goes into determining safe levels for humans. And the amounts found in sweet potatoes are far below any level that would be considered dangerous.
In addition, sweet potato plants often contain glyphosate, a synthetic compound that is a herbicide often used against perennial weeds.
Glyphosate is a carcinogenic compound that can cause serious diseases if exposed to high levels over a long period of time.
To reduce the number of glyphosates, rinse the sweet potatoes under water and scrub the skin thoroughly with a vegetable brush or sponge.
It is not the water that removes any chemicals but rather the mechanical action of scrubbing the skin.
Although rinsing reduces the number of chemicals on the surface, it cannot remove that of those already absorbed by the sweet potato.
Do Sweet Potatoes Need to be Organic?
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) listed sweet potatoes in a list of 15 fruits and vegetables found to be lowest in pesticides.
The other foods lowest in pesticides are:
2. Sweet corn
5. Sweet peas
15. Sweet potatoes
Of course, organically grown fruits and vegetables are still healthier than non-organically grown.
Just like everything, buying organic or not is a personal choice that depends on price, priorities, and availability.
As organic food has higher production costs, the price of organic produce is about 10% to 40% higher than conventional crops.
EWG recently published a “Dirty Dozen” list of products that contain the highest amounts of pesticides and other chemicals.
The crops with the highest amount of pesticides are:
8. Sweet bell peppers
10. Cherry tomatoes
11. Snap peas
Whether you buy non-organic or organic produce, rinse it with water before consumption to remove any lingering pesticides, bacteria, or dirt.
Even if a product is labeled organic, it can also contain trace chemicals drifting in the air from surrounding non-organic farms.
In addition, contamination in the soil and water can spread to organic farms.
Scrubbing sweet potatoes with a vegetable brush or sponge under running water can help reduce pesticides, germs, and dirt.