Potatoes are a member of solanaceae . . . the nightshade plant . . . family. They make a toxin which is a neurotoxin called solanine . . . a relative of strychnine. Solanine tends to concentrate in the areas of the potato that are exposed to sunlight. They turn green because the light exposure encourages the production of chlorophyll. The chlorophyll is harmless but it indicates a concentration of toxins so be ware.
The production of solanine is a defensive mechanism . . . it prevents them from being eaten by predators. Solanine poisoning causes nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, burning of the throat, cardiac dysrhythmia, headache and dizziness . . . and if you consume enough of it . . . death, hallucinations, and paralysis.
I was always taught that when you see patches of green on potatoes as you peel them, cut out the green parts entirely and discard them. Others say you should discard the whole potato. To prevent the production of solanine in potatoes, always store them in a cool (not cold), completely dark place.
The eyes have it . . . solanine and lots of it. They are indeed very poisonous to eat . . . so don’t! Make sure to remove the eyes from a potato before eating it and discard any potatoes that have started to sprout . . . unless you plan to plant them. The leaves and stems of the potato plant are also naturally high in glycoalkaloids, so ingestion of these parts of the plant must be avoided at all costs.
Green potato chips . . . poisonous? Only slightly. Let’s just say you’d have to eat a whole heck of a lot . . . like a chip per dollar of our national debt a lot . . . of them to get sick and you’d probably get sick from just eating that many potato chips, in general.
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