If you are a home gardener and dealing with potatoes for the first time, then do not be alarmed if you notice fruits growing. These fruits are known as potato fruits/berries and there is nothing unusual about them. You must know that potato flowers are very common and sometimes the flowers can pollinate to produce the potato fruit. They happen to look like green cherry tomatoes originating mainly at the top of the plant. So, the question that is running through your mind right now is – Should I remove Potato Fruit?
We have provided the answer to this question next for your better understanding. We have also answered some other questions that might arise in your mind after noticing potato fruits. So, read on to find out more.
IS THE POTATO FRUIT EDIBLE?
Just like tomatoes, eggplants, tobacco, and peppers, potatoes belong to the Nightshade/Solanaceous family of plants. We are accustomed to eating the “fruit” of tomato plants. So, this might make you think that potato fruits are also edible. However, if you grow potatoes or came across potato fruits, it will be best to stay away from them. They are not edible. In fact, it is considered toxic or poisonous.
Solanine (a type of toxin) is present in high amounts in potato fruits. So, if you consume them, you might become ill. You should know that Solanine is also present in dug-up potatoes that have been left in the sun which results in the skin turning green.
On the other hand, like other nightshade plants, potatoes also form Glycoalkaloids which is another kind of toxic substance. They are present in the tubers but in a very small amount. Generally, a higher amount of Glycoalkaloids are present in the foliage and in the potato fruits. In a standard/commercial variety of potato, the potato fruits will have around 10 times more the level of this toxin compared to the tubers. Normally, the potato tubers contain less than 200 milligrams of this toxin/kilogram of tubers. This is the reason why you can have the tubers without falling sick. Glycoalkaloids content in the potato fruits might be around 177 milligrams/kilogram to 1350 milligrams (mg)/kilogram (kg) or more.
TASTE OF THE POTATO FRUIT
Potato fruits are very unpleasant to taste and have a bitter aftertaste. If you end up consuming Solanine present in the plant’s parts, then you might have to deal with issues like headache, abdominal pain, or diarrhea. If you eat too much of these berries, then you will feel all the negative effects as they contain Glycoalkaloids.
SYMPTOMS OF TOXICITY
At about 1 mg/kg of the consumer’s body weight, he/she will begin to experience the symptoms of toxicity caused by Glycoalkaloids. So, depending on the level of this toxin present in the berries, you can have around 1 to 10 ounces of potato fruits without developing the symptoms. So, if you end up consuming a few potato fruits, there is no need to worry as you might not face any symptoms. However, if you get affected then you might have to deal with vomiting and/or diarrhea for a few hours. If the problem still persists even after a few hours, then it will be best to consult an appropriate doctor immediately.
IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN
You might not be in serious trouble if you have eaten some potato fruits. However, it is important to state that things will be different in the case of children. Their body weight is lower than an adult’s as it becomes easier to “overdose” on these berries. This information alone should be enough to answer the question – Should I remove Potato Fruit?
ARE POTATO FRUITS GOOD FOR ANYTHING?
Potato fruits have seeds in them that you can grow. You can harvest the berries for seed after 6 months (minimum). Besides, often seeds from the potato fruit fall on the ground and rot and as a result, it germinates in that place.
SHOULD I REMOVE POTATO FRUIT?
So, you know that potato fruit is not edible and happens to be toxic. So, if you have children and/or pets and want to keep them safe from accidental eating of these berries, then it will be best to remove them from the plant. However, if there is no fear of accidental ingestion, then you can leave them as it is as the act of removing the berries is not a common practice.
Should I remove Potato Fruit?: Conclusion
There you have it; now you have the answer to the question – Should I remove Potato Fruit? So, it is safe to state that if you keep a close eye on the potato fruits, it will not cause any problems for you or the potato plant you are growing.
Related articles: When to Harvest Potatoes?