There has been an ongoing debate about whether or not it is safe to store potatoes in the refrigerator. Many people believe it is forbidden due to the potential formation of toxic substances. However, this is not entirely accurate. In reality, storing potatoes in the refrigerator, or more precisely at a cold temperature of about 5 degrees Celsius, accelerates the conversion of starches in the potatoes into sugars. This increase in sugars can actually enhance the flavor of the potatoes, with no effect on the caloric content as the starches and sugars are identical in this respect.
Interestingly, before we even purchase potatoes from grocery stores, they are already stored at the temperature of a refrigerator. This is particularly beneficial when making potato chips. The extra sugars in the potatoes allow the chips to cook and brown faster. However, this can also lead to the formation of toxic substances known as “acrylamides” if the chips are burnt. It’s important to note that this is not specific to potatoes. Any burnt carbohydrate, such as toast, can produce acrylamides. However, as long as the potatoes are not fried to the point of burning, the ratio of starch to sugar doesn’t cause any adverse effects and can even improve the taste.
According to the global website for food quality, there used to be an assumption that storing potatoes in the refrigerator could lead to an increased amount of toxic acrylamides. However, we now know that the difference is negligible, so there is no risk in storing potatoes in the refrigerator.
Another important factor to consider when storing potatoes is light. Exposure to light can cause the formation of “phytoalexins”, which are toxic substances that potatoes produce to protect against insects. These harmful substances, which can be identified by a green color in the potato skin, can be removed by peeling the potato. However, it is recommended to discard smaller potatoes with green skin. Furthermore, potatoes should be stored in a cool, dry, and dark place. A perforated plastic bag does not provide adequate ventilation and can lead to the potatoes rotting quickly.
Potatoes and Diarrhea
Potatoes are rich in potassium, making them an ideal food to consume after episodes of vomiting or diarrhea, which can cause the body to lose this essential mineral. Some of the minerals found in potatoes are transferred to the cooking water during the cooking process. Therefore, for those who are unable to eat due to vomiting or diarrhea, drinking the water in which the potatoes were cooked can be a good option.