Potato peels: when they can be eaten and how to use them in the kitchen

In the kitchen, food is never wasted and, thanks to a few small tips, it is often possible to use food waste to create creative and delicious dishes. Vegetable peels, in particular, are rich in important nutrients, in some cases even in greater quantities than the ingredient itself; this also applies to potato peels. But can you eat potato peels? And when is it best to avoid it? Here are some rules for eating potato peels and some useful tips for using them in the kitchen.

By Cookist
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In a cuisine that is attentive to sustainability, we try to produce as little waste as possible and to exploit all the ingredients available, in their various parts; so we began to understand that the peels can be eaten, also because they usually maximize the benefits of their food. This also applies to potatoes, which contain most of the nutrients in the part between pulp and peel; but is it possible to eat potato peels? When does it get dangerous? Here is everything you need to know about potato peels; when they can be eaten, what precautions to take to make them and how to use them in the kitchen in creative and anti-waste ways.

Potato peel: when can we eat it?

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Potatoes contain a substance called solanine which, when consumed in large quantities, is toxic to humans. Solanine is an alkaloid thanks to which potatoes defend themselves against infections, insects and fungi; potatoes at the right point of ripeness contain a level of solanine ranging from 8 to 25 milligram per kilogram, a quantity that is not harmful to human health. In fact, solanine poisoning occurs only in very high quantities; for a man weighing about 70 kilograms, more than 2 kilograms of potatoes with a high level of solanine would be needed to have a principle of intoxication.

Having said this, however, it is good to remember that sprouted, green, or particularly ripe potatoes (those with wrinkled skin, so to speak) develop a higher quantity of solanine than potatoes at the correct point of ripeness; the potatoes must in fact be harvested ripe and eaten within 5 months of their harvest.

If you want to eat the potato peel, therefore, we recommend that you always choose organic potatoes, for two reasons; the first is that you will be sure that no chemical fertilizers or pesticides have been used on those potatoes which would accumulate especially in the peel; the second is that organic potatoes develop a lower level of solanine, about 30% less.

In short, you can only eat the peel of potatoes when you are sure of certain elements:

when you are sure that potatoes are in season and have been harvested for no more than five months; to check it, just read the label that should show these data;

when you are sure that potatoes have not been chemically treated, better if organic therefore;

when potatoes have been stored away from light and heat sources;

when potatoes do not have green and/or spoiled parts, sprouts or wrinkled skin;

How to use potato peels for your recipes

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Once you have checked the integrity of your potatoes, you can decide how to use the peel in the kitchen, for creative and delicious recipes that will surprise your diners. Here are some ideas to experiment.

1. Fried potato peels

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The simplest way to use potato peels in cooking is to fry them. Fried potato peels, in fact, can become an element of a delicious aperitif or serve as an appetizer. You can fry them as they are, then drain them on absorbent paper, or create a tasty batter with water, flour and salt, adding your favorite spices, and dip them in before cooking them in plenty of hot oil. Once ready, serve your fried potato peels accompanied with the sauces you love the most.

2. Baked potato peels

Of course, for those who prefer lighter cooking, potato peels can also be baked. Remove the peel with a sharp knife or potato peeler, trying to break it as little as possible; in this way you will get some "curls" of peel. Once this is done, place the spirals in an oven already heated to 180 degrees C (356 degrees F), on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, and cook the peels for 10 minutes or until they are golden.

3. Potato peel omelette

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You can really put anything in an omelette, including potato peels. A perfect all-round preparation for when you have few ideas and little time in the kitchen; to make it you just need to lightly fry the potato peels in a pan and then proceed as a normal omelette. If you prefer, you can also add other vegetable peels, always sautéing them first; those of the carrots will be fine, and also the outer part of the leek coarsely chopped, or onion scraps.

4. Pan-fried potato peels

With potato peels you can make a tasty side dish in a few minutes, simply by cooking them in a pan; an ideal preparation to accompany meat dishes, such as a chicken salad or baked chicken legs. To make this fast side dish, just brown a finely chopped onion in a pan, then add the potato peels, adding salt and finishing with spices or aromatic herbs, then blend with white wine over high heat and then lower the heat, cooking with the lid on for another 10 minutes at the most.

5. Potato peel boats

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A recipe to be made with new potatoes or with classic potatoes. If you have to use the pulp for some other recipe, boil them with all the peel and then dig them; once you have done this you can use the hollowed out potatoes as you do with baked potatoes, so stuff them with the ingredients you prefer. A delicious appetizer and very simple to make; it will be enough to put the potato peel boats in the oven for 5 minutes with the grill on to complete the preparation.

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