Potatoes are starchy tubers of the plant Solanum tuberosum, a root vegetable native to the Americas and the plant is a perennial in the nightshade family, Solanaceae. You can prepare your potatoes in several ways; skin-on or peeled, whole or cut, with seasonings or without.
You may therefore pose the question can you eat undercooked potatoes? No, you shouldn’t. They require proper cooking to swell the starch granules. The flavor and texture of eating an undercooked potato are unappealing. Also, they contain resistant starch which is indigestible by the body. Thus they cause digestive issues and may contain harmful compounds such as solanine.
Therefore, you can ensure your potatoes appear well-cooked to prevent specific risks.
How to Tell if Your Potatoes are Undercooked
It is easy for you to check whether your potatoes are undercooked. Pierce them with a fork which should smoothly go through and slide off easily. However, it is not advisable to use a knife since it is sharp and can cut through food. When making a boiled potato dish such as mashed potatoes, this technique is best to use.
How Can You Cook Undercooked Potatoes?
Sometimes, it is inevitable to have several undercooked potatoes. Do not worry for you can rectify this and have your perfectly cooked dish. Several techniques used, which are quick and efficient. They include;
- Add a bit of cream or milk to your potatoes and cook them for a while on low heat until the lumps are entirely soft.
- For your cut or uncut potatoes, simmer them in a pot of water for 12-15 minutes. Time for simmering varies in the size of your potatoes.
- Another option is to microwave them, which keeps them in their original shape without getting lodged unless in large quantities. If they are still hot from cooking, they take a short time to cook thoroughly.
Therefore, cooking helps your potatoes reduce the starch as the heat successfully breaks it down. It would be best to avoid undercooked potatoes since consuming the starches as mentioned above, put you at an enormous health risk.
Is Eating Undercooked Potatoes Bad for Me?
Undercooked potatoes contain glycoalkaloids that can prove toxic when you consume them in high doses. Symptoms that may arise due to its consumption include, increased sensitivity, itchiness, drowsiness, cell disruption, vomiting, pain in the abdomen and diarrhea. In some cases, it may lead to headaches, flushing, confusion and fever.
However, cooking, baking, boiling or microwaving your potatoes can considerably reduce glycoalkaloids concentration hence making them fit to eat.
Therefore, undercooked potatoes are bad for you and your loved ones.
What are the Benefits of Eating Potatoes?
1. Potatoes have a Wide Variety of Nutrients
Potatoes often are packed with various nutrients, and minerals such as; one medium baked potato of 173 g include:
- Calories 161
- Carbohydrates 36.6 g
- Protein 4.3 g
- Fat 0.2 g
- Fibre 3.8 g
- Vitamin C 28% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6 27% of the RDI
- Potassium 26% or the RDI
- Manganese 19% of the RDI
- Magnesium 12% of the RDI
- Phosphorus 12% of the RDI
- Niacin 12% of the RDI
- Folate 12% of the RDI
The nutritional content can be different depending on the variety and how you prepare and cook your potatoes. For instance, when you deep fry your potatoes, the content of fat and calories will be higher.
2. Potatoes Contain Antioxidants
Potatoes contain compounds like flavonoids, carotenoids and phenolic acids which act as antioxidants in the human body. They accomplish this by neutralizing potentially harmful molecules, commonly known as free radicals.
During the accumulation of free radicals, there is a risk increase of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Colored potatoes can contain three to four times the amount of antioxidants found in white ones, making them more effective at neutralizing free radicals.
3. Potatoes Improve Digestive Health
Resistant starch may also improve digestive health since it becomes food for gut bacteria that is beneficial to the body when it reaches the large intestines. The bacteria digest it and transform it into short-chain fatty acids.
When digested, resistant starch turns to butyrate, reducing inflammation in the colon, strengthening the colon’s defense, and reducing colorectal cancer risk. Moreover, it helps patients with bowel disorders such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
What are Other Uses of Potatoes?
The most common use of potatoes you might know include eating. Other than this, other uses arise from potatoes such as;
- Brewery plants can use them in the production of alcoholic beverages such as vodka.
- You can use them as animal feed. – Potatoes that are blemished or too small may not sell in the market but suitable for livestock feed. Other farmers prefer to steam them before feeding their livestock which is efficient than raw.
- Industries can use potato starch as a thickener. The food industry can use it as a binder or a thickener for soups and sauces. The textile industry can use it as an adhesive and aiding in the manufacture of paper and boards.
- Their skin, along with honey, can work as a remedy for burns. In India, they have experimented using the thin outer skin layer to protect burns while healing.
Various Potato Preparation Methods
You can prepare your potatoes in different ways such as:
- Potatoes that are cooked first and served cold such as potato salads and potato chips.
- Boiled and usually peeled, then mashed with milk or yoghurt and butter include mashed potatoes.
- Whole baked potatoes.
- Boiled or steamed potatoes.
- French fried potatoes.
- Cut into cubes and roasted or scalloped, diced or sliced and fried such as home fries.
- Grated into small thin strips and fried such as hash browns.
- You can cook them as a stew with visible chunks such as potato stew.
- It would be best if you did not eat undercooked potatoes since they contain chemicals that can be toxic, causing health problems.
- While cooking your potatoes, make sure to use a fork to tell if they are fully cooked.
- You are more likely to experience itchiness, vomiting and other symptoms if you consume undercooked potatoes. Glycoalkaloids will contribute to your symptoms since it is a toxin found in undercooked and raw potatoes.
- Potatoes can prove beneficial to your health by being a source of nutrients, antioxidants and aid digestion.
- Besides eating, you can use potatoes as animal fodder, thickener in soups and also used as burn remedies.
- You can prepare potatoes in different ways to make several dishes such as hash browns and mashed potatoes.