Are Potato Leaves Edible?

You’re likely here because you’ve heard conflicting views when it comes to eating potato leaves. But what’s the truth? Well, technically they’re both correct…

Are Potato Leaves Edible?

Sweet potato leaves are edible, but the leaves from Irish potatoes are poisonous. Make sure you know what type of potato you own before eating the leaves.

As we just mentioned, the leaves of the potatoes can be eaten if they are from a sweet potato plant. Sweet potatoes, or Ipomoea batatas, have edible stems (stems should not be consumed raw), flowers and leafstalks that can both be cooked as vegetables in many recipes around the world.

They grow on vines with long aerial roots.  These roots can be used for medicinal purposes like treating bacterial infections, coughs, lung problems and even heart disease. The tubers themselves below ground level do not taste good, but contain poison to inhibit pests from eating them.

Background Information On Potatoes

Both Irish and sweet potatoes are members of the nightshade family.

The Irish potato, or Solanum tuberosum is grown primarily for its edible root, which is called a “potato.” Potato plants are grouped together as both male and female flowers on separate vines. They grow separately from one another in order to prevent cross-pollination.

Irish potatoes were introduced into Europe by Spanish explorers who brought them back from South America. Here they had been cultivated for centuries before Europe made contact with the Americas. There are actually several different varieties of potato, including: white, blue (Peruvian), yellow, green (Japanese) purple, and red.

What Makes The Leaves Of Irish Potatoes Poisonous?

Irish potato leaves are toxic because they have solanine –  a toxic alkaloid that is used to deter the affects from the sun.

The solanine can even be found on the potato itself, which is why you should cook an irish potato before cooking.

Solanine is toxic to all animals. In fact, it can cause heart issues, abdominal pain, vomiting, and even respiratory failure.

What Makes The Leaves Of Sweet Potatoes Edible?

The leaves of sweet potatoes are healthy and safe to eat. Sweet potato varieties differ from Irish potatoes in that they do not have solanine levels high enough for the plant’s own protection, which is why they developed a more delicate skin.

With so many nutrients, some people believe that the leaves may be one of the most nutritious parts of any plant. And because these plants grow separately from one another in order to prevent cross-pollination, eating its leaves will not cause you stomach upset or other side effects.

Sweet potato leaves contain micronutrients, like potassium and iron. They also provide necessary vitamins, such as vitamin A. The leaves are even higher in these nutrients than the root of the plant.

Sweet potato leaves are also great for  detoxing, and their high vitamin A content makes them wonderful for skin health.

How to Enjoy Sweet Potato Leaves?

Once they’re clean, cook your potato greens like any other green vegetable — sautéed in olive oil until tender or steamed until soft.

You can also use a microwave oven to quickly soften up tough potato leaves without adding too many additional calories: just wrap the washed and trimmed leaves tightly together on a piece of wax paper then nuke it for 45 seconds per side (total time is one minute). And finally, if these steps sound intimidating, there’s always an easy way out via munching.

Final Thoughts

So, there we go! You’re now an expert when it comes to which potato leaves you can eat.

Potatoes can be grown for multiple months out of a year simply by planting them in containers. This allows them to be moved indoors during cold weather (and back outside when it warms up).

Sweet potatoes need about four to six weeks from seeding until harvest time – which means you have plenty of opportunities to eat their leaves!