Q. I used to work with a fellow who grew up in Idaho and at one time worked in a potato processing plant. He told me that the potatoes were immersed in chemical(s), and this concerns me. As I recall one of the reasons for using the chemical(s) was to inhibit the growth of the potato eye.
Can you enlighten me as to how potatoes are processed and what chemical(s) are used before the potatoes are shipped to grocery stores?
A. The chemical your friend was referring to is called Sprout Nip and is applied to potatoes in storage. It is perfectly safe. Potatoes, once harvested, have a tendency over time to try and revert back to the potato plant by growing sprouts. This typically occurs about 120-180 days after harvest. This occurs naturally. To knock down the growth of the sprouts they mixed a chemical diluted with water into the atmosphere as a vapor form where the potatoes are stored. It is not something that potatoes are immersed in or dipped in. This mist is sufficient to curb the growth of the sprouts for a while. If you ever buy potatoes and leave them out at room temp for a week or two you’ll find that they may start to have “peepers” which left alone will grow into sprouts. One ad I saw in a growers based magazine said Sprout Nip is applied as a fog or emusifiable spray, and one gallon treats 66,000 pounds of potatoes. That’s pretty diluted! Sprout Nip has been used on potatoes since 1952 and is considered one of the safest applications know for vegetables.
The potato skin is one of the best parts of the potato to consume for its nutritional value…and especially flavor!
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