Potatoes are enjoyed all over the world in many forms, but a lot of people ask can I eat potato leaves? If you also want an answer to this question, you are in the right spot.
Read on to learn are sweet potato leaves are edible, how to make better use of them, and what makes potato leaves poisonous. Let’s dive into the details!
Can I Eat Potato Leaves: Revealed!
The potato leaves can be divided into two categories. The normal and the sweet ones. Let’s learn about the edibility of both.
1. Normal Potato Leaves
Normal potato leaves are not recommended to eat due to the presence of solanine and glycoalkaloid poison. This can lead to vomiting and diarrhea.
4 Parts Of Normal Plants Considered Toxic
The listed below parts of normal potato plants are known to be toxic:
- The leaves and stem: The highest levels of toxins may be found in the leaves and stems of the potato plant.
- The sprouts: Tubers with sprouts have very high amounts of toxins which make them toxic to humans.
- The fruits: It is strictly forbidden to eat potato fruit as they are highly toxic due to the presence of the alkaloid solanine. They look like tiny green cherry tomatoes.
- Green potatoes: The improper storage of potatoes causes them to become green. This shade of the potato tubers comes from chlorophyll, which causes a high concentration of solanine and chaconine. So for this reason it is not safe to eat green potatoes.
For further insights, check out this video to learn the differences between the sweet and normal varieties.
What Makes Normal Potato Leaves Poisonous?
Potato leaves contain the chemicals solanine and chaconine. These are toxins generated by potato plants to repel predators and disease-causing organisms. They also protect from being consumed by wild animals.
- The toxins can be found throughout the plant.
- They are in abundance mostly in green potatoes, potato leaves, and stems.
- The concentrations of these hazardous compounds in potatoes vary depending on the cultivar, weather circumstances, and harvest season.
- It is emphasized to stay away from them.
2. Sweet Potato Leaves
All parts of the sweet potato plant, including the leaves, stems, and tubers, are safe to eat. They have a wide range of potential methods of ingestion. This is because sweet potatoes are not a part of the nightshade family.
You can eat sweet potato leaves raw, however, the bitter taste may put some people off. There is a technique to prepare them that mitigates their natural harshness and bitterness.
8 Perks Of Sweet Potato Leaves
The leaves of sweet potatoes are an excellent source of nutrients and healthful meals. Let’s learn about their advantages below.
- Loaded with vitamins: The leaves of sweet potatoes are loaded with beneficial nutrients such as vitamins A, C, K, and B.
- High mineral count: Calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium are just some of the minerals that may be found in abundance in these foods.
- Loaded with Antioxidants: The antioxidant content of the leaves of sweet potatoes is rather high, making them useful for the prevention or postponement of cell damage.
- Nutritional: They are an excellent source of protein, carbs, and fiber.
- No Cholesterol or Fat: They contain little to no cholesterol or saturated fat.
- Omega-3 acids: The body’s tissues, such as the heart, lungs, blood vessels, immune system, and hormone synthesis, benefit from omega-3 fatty acids.
- Healthy hearts: Sweet potato leaf consumption protects against inflammation, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
- Controlled blood pressure: A diet reduced in salt has been shown to reduce blood pressure.
Here is a helpful video that will explain all the perks of sweet potato leaves in detail.
Easy Preparation Method Of Sweet Potato Leaves
How to best prepare them is discussed below:
- The sweet potato leaves should be boiled for 7 minutes in salted water after being coarsely chopped.
- Take out the sweet potato leaves and rinse them in cold water.
- You can use them in dishes by chopping them into finer pieces.
Sweet potato leaves are the only non-toxic greens from the morning glory family.
Alerting Results of Consuming Potato Leaves on Your Well-Being
Eating potato leaves can cause solanine toxicity. While the number of reported cases of potato leaf poisoning is unusual, they are nevertheless severe enough to justify caution.
If you consume more than 20 mg of solanine, it will be considered dangerous. You or the child might still get sick if you eat them by accident and experience symptoms such as:
- Discomfort in the digestive tract, including heartburn, soreness in the throat and abdomen, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
- Issues with the skin, including an itchy neck or extreme sensitivity.
- Having Trouble Breathing.
2 Best Ways To Use Potato Leaves
Since it is not advised to eat potato leaves, here are some alternatives:
You may boost the nutritional density of your compost pile by using the leaves of the potato plant. Too many potato leaves might cause the compost to rot quickly, so only add them in small amounts.
2. Pest Control
The leaves of the potato plant can be utilized to ward off pests. Glycoalkaloids found in them are poisonous to several pest herbivores.
Is potato leaves good for health?
Potato leaves are not good for health as they contain poisonous chemicals, so you should not eat potato leaves. However, sweet potato leaves are safe to eat.
What are the benefits of potato leaves?
There are no benefits to eat potato leaves, however, sweet potato leaves are very healthy as they are high in vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 acids. Do not eat them raw, as they have a very bitter taste.
What type of potato leaves are edible?
It is safe to eat sweet potato leaves as they are edible, however, the chemicals in regular potato plants make potato leaves poisonous.
What is the nutrition of potato leaf?
There is no nutrition data on the leaves of potato plants since they are inedible, but the leaves of sweet potatoes are very nutritious because they contain a lot of vitamins, and minerals, are low in calories, and are loaded with antioxidants.
Is it safe for pets to eat potato leaves?
Potato leaves should never be fed to your pets. For that reason, it is important to dispose of the leaves in a location where they cannot get them by mistake. Please call your local vet instantly if they have accidentally swallowed them.
Summing it up, you can eat potatoes and enjoy them in many different forms, but the same cannot be said of normal potato leaves as well as potato fruits and stems. They contain a lot of harmful chemicals, like solanine, that make these parts toxic. In addition, you should not eat green potatoes as they contain the same harmful chemicals.
Sweet potatoes, however, are a very good alternative as their leaves are very nutritious and edible. But it is advised to boil them or cook them first, as they have a very harsh taste.
After going through all the facts, what’s your take on eating potato leaves? Share your opinion in the comments down below.
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Hello! I’m Jessica Zander, a garden coach and consultant based in the Boston area (zone 6b), offering virtual consultations across the country and Canada.
I’ve been passionate about gardening since the early 1990s, and in 2022, I launched You Can Do It Gardening to empower individuals to feel more confident in their gardening endeavors.
Following a 30-year career in nonprofit finance and operations, I transitioned out of that field in mid-June of 2023 due to the growing demand for coaching services. Interestingly, my years of presenting financial statements to boards and finance committees proved to be valuable experience for teaching people about gardening! I enjoy sharing skills, providing guidance and suggestions, and collaborating efficiently with clients to make significant improvements to their outdoor spaces, both small and large. I also regularly teach at the Arlington Continuing Education and Cambridge Adult Education.
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