Should You Eat Raw or Undercooked Potatoes?

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Eating raw vegetables is something that is seemingly ever more popular by the day. Whether it’s onions, carrots, tomatoes or a wide variety of other vegetables, people seem to be constantly preaching the health benefits of eating them raw. However, the same cannot be said for potatoes in most cases. Whilst, there are some proponents of eating raw or undercooked potatoes, there are ultimately very few. So, should you eat raw or undercooked potatoes? 

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Eating Raw Potatoes: Should You Do It?

When debating whether it is safe to eat raw potatoes or not there are a few factors that come into play. Whether it’s conventional wisdom, new diet ideas or simply how they taste there is quite a bit to consider. Don’t worry though the main arguments around the subject are broken down below: 

How Does Raw Potato Taste?

Raw potatoes are considered quite unpleasant to eat by most people. This is because they are not only incredibly bitter but also very starchy. Additionally, they also have something of a crunchy yet chalky texture.

Naturally, this contrasts quite significantly with the delicious tastes associated with cooked potatoes. The reason being that much of the starch is broken down when potatoes are cooked, leading to the flavours and textures we all know and love.

Should You Eat Raw or Undercooked Potatoes?

Why Do Some People Eat Raw Potatoes?

Uncooked potato is not a great source of nutrition for the body, in fact, it can act as a source of antinutrients which are commonly seen as bad things to ingest as they disrupt the bodily process of acquiring nutrition from other foods.

However, the resistant starch that raw potatoes are abundant in whilst making them quite unpleasant tasting can actually be potentially beneficial. This is because they can act as an excellent source of food for the beneficial bacteria within your gut. 

These microbes have a crucial role in your body as they can help prevent or reduce the risk of you developing certain diseases. Some of the diseases that these microbes help protect against include:

  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Diabetes
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

Whilst the benefits of this starch can be seen when raw potatoes are consumed the same isn’t true with cooked potatoes. This is because when cooked most of the starch with the potatoes will be broken down and lost.

Do Raw Potatoes Contain Toxins?

Potatoes like tomatoes are a part of the nightshade family. As a result, they will, like tomatoes contain a toxic compound called solanine. As such similarly to how green tomatoes can poison you the same is also true with raw potatoes. 

Ingesting a small amount of solanine isn’t likely to immediately poison you. However, even in small doses, it can cause you to have headaches or gastrointestinal pain. The latter of which is further exacerbated by how raw and undercooked potatoes disrupt digestion.

A sufficient dosage of solanine can lead to solanine poisoning though. Some of the immediate symptoms of which can include:

  • Dizzyness
  • Breathing Difficulties
  • Diarrhoea
  • Stomach Ache
  • Headaches

Additionally, the consumption of particularly large amounts of solanine can lead to even more severe symptoms. Some of which can include:

  • Central Nervous System Damage
  • Cramps
  • Paralysis 

Eventually, in a large enough dose, this can even be fatal.

Should You Eat Raw or Undercooked Potatoes?

Should You Eat Raw Potatoes?

In small amounts eating potatoes can potentially provide some benefits by feeding beneficial microbes in your gut with starch. However, eating potatoes that are uncooked also interferes with the absorption of nutrition by the body, can cause digestive problems and can potentially poison you, especially if you eat green potatoes. 

Ultimately, for a fibre rich starchy food, you are best eating sweet potatoes or brown rice instead. Naturally, these should always be cooked before consumption but will provide much of the same benefits as raw potatoes without the risks.

Is It Bad To Eat Undercooked Potatoes?

We’ve now established that eating raw potatoes is overall something likely to do more harm than good. However, is the same true for eating undercooked potatoes as well?

Well if pressed to eat one or the other, the undercooked potatoes would likely be the healthier and far safer option.  

Despite this though you are still best off avoiding eating undercooked potatoes as they can lead to digestive problems. Additionally, undercooked potatoes taste bad, especially cooked potatoes and may confer the downsides of eating raw potatoes if consumed in excess.

Should You Eat Raw or Undercooked Potatoes?

Eating Undercooked Potatoes Whilst Pregnant

When pregnant, naturally you must be incredibly careful about what you are ingesting since unforeseen complications may occur otherwise. Naturally then an undercooked potato or indeed a raw potato is something to avoid eating. Some of these risks include the following:

  • Glycoalkaloids such as solanine are commonly found in raw potatoes. Amongst other issues, listed above they can also lead to diarrhoea. This can be dangerous to both the mother and fetus due to causing dehydration.
  • Green potatoes are particularly dangerous, either eaten raw or cooked as they will contain large amounts of toxic substances. The consequence of doing this may result in congenital disabilities.
  • There’s also the increased likelihood of suffering food poisoning as the immune system of pregnant women tends to be weaker.

How To Fix Undercooked Potatoes

If you have undercooked your potatoes you may be concerned about what you should do. Naturally, after reading the above information you will be hesitant to eat them, but does that mean that you have to throw your undercooked potatoes away? 

Fortunately not. If you’ve got some undercooked potatoes on your hands, things can still be salvaged. The best ways to fix undercooked potatoes are as follows:

  • Microwave Them: if your potatoes seem undercooked then a simple solution is to microwave them for approximately twelve minutes. However, if they are still hot before microwaving, you may be best trying them for half this time initially.
  • Boiling: If initially boiling your potatoes they can simply be reboiled again. However, if using large potatoes it might be wise to cut them in half or even in quarters in some cases. Doing so will ensure that the potatoes cook all the way through.
  • Use Milk And Cheese: This is particularly useful when making mashed potatoes. Simply mix these in and cook your potatoes on low heat as high heat may not cause them to cook all the way through.

Identifying Undercooked Potatoes

If you’re uncertain about how to identify whether your potatoes are undercooked or not, don’t worry there is a good way of testing this. 

Simply get a fork or a thin wooden skewer and attempt to pierce the potatoes with it. If you’re able to do so easily with little resistance then your potatoes are cooked. If not they will need a little more time.

When doing this though it is important to that you don’t use a knife. This is because a knife will pierce a potato much more easily and therefore give an incorrect impression of how well cooked your potatoes are.

How To Use Undercooked Potatoes

Are you looking for some ideas of how to avoid letting your undercooked potatoes from going to waste? If so then consider the following options for what to cook with them:

  • Make chips/fries
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Grilled Potatoes
  • Potato Salad
  • Dauphinoise Potatoes
Should You Eat Raw or Undercooked Potatoes?

Now We Know Not To Eat Undercooked Potatoes

Unlike say green tomatoes, you should not eat potatoes that are undercooked or indeed uncooked potatoes. This is because the high levels of both starch and solanine can cause a multitude of health issues.

If you do inadvertently undercook your potatoes though, you can always recover the situation with by microwaving, boiling or slowly heating after mixing with some milk and cheese. Although, they may also be used to make something entirely different if you are bold enough to do so. You never know, you may even discover a new recipe.

FAQs – Eating Raw And Undercooked Potatoes

What happens if you eat undercooked potatoes?

Undercooked potatoes can cause digestive problems, potentially cause food poisoning or even lead to solanine poisoning if eaten in excess. As such, it is best to avoid eating them.

Is it safe to eat slightly undercooked potatoes?

Eating undercooked potatoes is not guaranteed to make you ill. However, they can potentially cause food poisoning or even lead to solanine poisoning if eaten in excess. With this in mind, it is inadvisable to eat them.

How do you tell if potatoes are undercooked?

To determine if your potatoes are undercooked, get a fork or a thin wooden skewer and attempt to pierce them with it. If you’re able to do so easily with little resistance then your potatoes are cooked. If not they will need a little more time. Don’t do this with a knife though as it will pierce a potato much more easily, therefore giving a false impression of how cooked the potatoes actually are.