What causes green spot on pota­toes?

When stor­ing spuds prop­erly, a cool place is best

The Hamilton Spectator - - FOOD - SUSAN SELASKY

Q: What causes the green spot on pota­toes?

A: That can be a com­mon oc­cur­rence with pota­toes. The green tinge means that they have been ex­posed to light or very cold or warm tem­per­a­tures.

Ex­po­sure to light means that they make chloro­phyll, which turns them green. When this hap­pens, an al­ka­loid called sola­nine — a bit­ter toxin — de­vel­ops. Eaten in large quan­ti­ties, sola­nine can be toxic. You need to cut or scrap any green parts of the potato flesh or skin and dis­card those pieces. The other parts of the potato are us­able.

Be­cause of this, it’s im­por­tant to store pota­toes prop­erly. A cool, not cold, dark and dry place is best. The ideal tem­per­a­ture is around 8 C. But a pantry is fine, too, as long as it’s not too warm.

Don’t store pota­toes in the re­frig­er­a­tor be­cause that causes their starches to con­vert to sugar. And be­ing stored in too warm an area causes them to shrivel.

Most sources say not to store onions and pota­toes to­gether be­cause both emit gases that cause them to spoil. Also, don’t wash pota­toes be­fore stor­ing. This can cause them to de­cay too soon.

There are plenty of potato va­ri­eties , but some of the best for potato salad are the thin­ner skinned, waxy types: Yukon Golds, new pota­toes and red skin.

Bak­ing pota­toes are a lit­tle too mealy for salad.

I al­ways use this method for mak­ing potato salad from the Food Net­work’s Ina Garten: slightly un­der­cook the pota­toes, and drain them in a colan­der.

Place the colan­der over a large pot, and cover the colan­der with a clean kitchen towel. Let them sit for 15 min­utes, and the pota­toes will steam and con­tinue to cook. This recipe is from “Potato Salad” by Deb­bie Moose (Wi­ley, $16.95).

Tar­ragon-Lemon Potato Salad MAKES 6 SERV­INGS

2 pounds new pota­toes ½ cup chopped cel­ery 1/3 cup chopped fresh Ital­ian pars­ley ½ cup sour cream ¾ tea­spoon chopped gar­lic ¾ tsp grated lemon zest 1 tsp (or more to taste) lemon juice 2 ta­ble­spoons dill pickle rel­ish 1½ tsp dried tar­ragon or 4 tsp fresh (or to taste) ¾ tsp salt ¾ tsp freshly ground black pep­per

Prepa­ra­tion time: 15 min­utes; to­tal time: 45 min­utes (plus chill­ing time)

Place the pota­toes in a large pot and add enough cold wa­ter to cover them. Cover the pot with a lid and bring to a boil.

Cook un­til the pota­toes are pierced eas­ily with the tip of a knife, 15 to 20 min­utes.

Drain and let cool un­til you can han­dle them. When cool, cut them into quar­ters or halves, de­pend­ing on the size of the pota­toes.

In a large bowl, toss to­gether the pota­toes, cel­ery and pars­ley.

In a small bowl, stir to­gether the sour cream, gar­lic, lemon zest, lemon juice, dill pickle rel­ish, tar­ragon, salt and black pep­per.

Pour the dress­ing over the pota­toes and toss to coat. Cover and re­frig­er­ate for sev­eral hours or overnight.

Per serv­ing: 136 calo­ries (13 per cent from fat), 2 grams fat (1 g sat­u­rated fat), 23 g car­bo­hy­drates, 5 g pro­tein, 359 mil­ligrams sodium, 7 mg cholesterol, 60 mg cal­cium, 3 grams fi­bre.

AN­DRE J. JACK­SON, TNS

There are plenty of potato va­ri­eties, but some of the best for potato salad are the thin­ner skinned, waxy types: Yukon golds, new pota­toes and red skin.

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