Various foods can be toxic if not cooked, and potatoes generally have a much more appetizing texture when cooked.
Today we will look at whether you can eat undercooked potatoes.
Potatoes are virtually always cooked before being eaten, so I’ll explain what happens if you eat undercooked potatoes, whether it’s possible to get food poisoning from potatoes, as well as, what ‘potato poisoning’ is, and what happens if you eat a bad potato.
What Happens if You Eat Undercooked Potatoes?
In the course of cooking potatoes, it’s common that larger potatoes won’t be fully cooked all the way through.
And potatoes can cook at different speeds based on where they’re located in an oven, or pot of boiling water.
So, sometimes parts of a potato can be undercooked and you may be wondering what happens if you eat undercooked potatoes.
Most people find cooked potatoes the most delicious to eat.
However, this is generally because we’re very used to eating cooked potatoes.
So, when you take a mouthful of mashed potatoes or bite into a baked potato it’s not what you expect, and your first reaction can generally not be a positive one.
However, if you’re fully expecting to eat raw potatoes or undercooked potatoes, and you’ve specifically cooked them this way it doesn’t come as a surprise.
Much like if you accidentally put salt instead of sugar into a hot drink.
However, there are various savory hot drinks that people enjoy drinking.
The fact that you expect it to be sweet makes you go ‘ew’ and you spit it out.
And if you’re anything like me you’ll want to remake the drink.
Whereas, if you’re fully expecting a reasonably salty cup of soup, you would welcome the salty taste.
The same is true of undercooked potatoes.
They have a much different flavor and texture to cooked potatoes.
So, when you’re expecting cooked potatoes, and they are instead undercooked it can be off-putting.
Raw potato is used in special recipes but it’s most common to cook them
There are various recipes where potatoes are intentionally served raw.
These include salad that is made by grating the potato. Or cut it into long thin slices.
And a salad dressing is added to the top.
Technically, you can add other vegetables as well.
Maggie Zhu at Omnivores Cookbook provides a recipe for Chinese potato salad, which is made mostly of undercooked potato.
Here’s a video that shows how it’s made:
How to tell if potatoes are undercooked?
Undercooked potatoes are identified by keeping track of how long they cook for, feeling the texture of the potatoes using a fork.
Boiled potatoes cut into 2 inch (5 cm) or smaller chunks take about 10 to 15 minutes to boil.
In the oven, potatoes cut into this same size take about 45 min to an hour to cook on medium heat.
When cooking potatoes, keep track of how long they have been cooking by using a timer on your phone, or the timer on your stovetop.
f you cook them for less time than that it’s very likely they’ll be undercooked.
As potatoes are cooking you can remove a piece or a whole potato using tongs, or a spoon.
You can also usually poke it with a fork to remove it, but it’s usually more difficult.
Potatoes will cook from the outside in.
So the exterior can be soft and cooked.
Whereas, the interior is still hard and not yet cooked.
Therefore, you should poke it with a fork.
Or cut it in half and poke the interior with a fork.
If the fork goes in quite easily they are fully cooked.
If it’s difficult to push a fork in and it feels more like poking a fork into a raw potato then they aren’t quite ready yet.
You can also taste test an entire piece of potato but it’s generally far too hot, and you’ll burn the inside of your mouth.
Can You Get Food Poisoning from Potatoes?
Both raw, and cooked potatoes are perfectly fine to eat.
Various diseases can infect potatoes and turn them black.
And many people are aware that you should avoid green potatoes so I thought I’d answer whether potatoes can give you food poisoning.
Brown areas can occur due to the potatoes beginning to rot.
Eyes that develop on the surface of the potatoes can also create brown rings on the inside of the potato even though you remove them from the surface.
Black areas inside the potato are known as black heart.
Black heart develops in potatoes as they are growing, or when they are stored.
Black heart can also appear dark brown. Potatoes naturally oxidize to the air after being peeled or cut.
This makes them turn light brown in color.
It’s perfectly fine to eat potatoes that have turned brown because of their contact with the air.
However, if you cut into potatoes and they already have black or brown areas in them, these areas should be removed.
Or, discard the whole potato.
Generally, it’s a safer bet just to toss the whole potato as there is a risk that some of the toxic areas is still in the part of the potato that isn’t brown or black.
As potatoes have been stored for a long time they can begin to get soft, and many people wonder if it’s OK to eat soft potatoes.
I covered this topic in this article about whether soft potatoes are safe to eat.
What Happens if I Eat a Bad Potato?
There are various signs that a potato is bad, such as it having brown or black areas, the skin being green, or the texture of the potato turning soft.
Here’s what happens if you eat a bad potato.
Potatoes can develop mold that starts off as small black spots on the surface.
These then turn into white and green colored molds before getting larger.
Over the mold consumes the flesh of the potato and it shrinks.
Here’s a time-lapse video of mold growing on a potato:
Potatoes will generally keep for a week or two in the pantry before they start to become soft and develop sprouts which are called ‘eyes’.
In a cool, dark, dry place they can keep for 6 months or more.
Once, they develop eyes that can still be edible.
And the eyes can be removed using a knife.
An option to keep potatoes for longer is to freeze them.
You freeze raw potatoes, baked potatoes, or boiled potatoes.
However, it changes the texture, and when defrosted and reheated or cooked they have a grainy mouthfeel.
The best method to freeze potatoes is to make them into mashed potatoes, hash browns, or tater tots and then freeze them.
Most people report that preparing them as mashed potatoes and then freezing them gives the best results when they’re defrosted.
I provided detailed instructions for how to do that in this article about if you can freeze whole potatoes.
What Is Potato Poisoning?
Getting food poisoning from potatoes can happen for a range of reasons.
But, is generally quite uncommon provided you don’t consume rotten potatoes or potatoes that are soft
. Here’s what potato poisoning is and how to avoid it.
If the gas from rotten potatoes becomes concentrated, for example, if they’re kept in a bag, a cupboard, or a basement, it is very dangerous.
It can cause a person to become unconscious.
And under continued exposure can cause death according to Michigan State University.
After rotten potatoes are removed the smell can continue to linger.
Washing it with dish soap can help but generally doesn’t remove the smell to linger, and given that it is very unpleasant people often wonder how to get rid of it.
In case you run into this issue I summarized the best ways to get rid of it in this article about how to get rid of the rotten potato smell.
If you cut into a potato and discover that the part of the interior is hollowed out and is black or brown in color you should discard it.
Also, if you notice any mold growing on potatoes you should discard them.