Can You Eat Sweet Potato Leaves?
Irish vs. Sweet Potato Toxicity

Do you love potatoes? But what about their leaves? You need to know whether you can eat them or not!

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Jimena Bolívar

June 13, 2021


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Sweet Potatoes vs. Irish Potatoes

Do you love potatoes? So do I! But not all potatoes are the same. Whether we talk about the delicious vegetable or its leaves, not every type of potato can be eaten.

Sweet potatoes and their leaves are not toxic. Whereas Irish potatoes consist of Solanine, a poisonous chemical that should not be consumed.

You can find sweet potatoes and Irish potatoes in every nook and cranny in the world. Sweet potatoes are relatively easier to grow than their Irish counterparts. You can grow and harvest sweet potatoes all year round.

From Asia to the Americas, these varieties are grown on many farms, and so, you need to know which one has edible leaves!

What Can Make a Potato or Its Leaves Toxic?

External factors can make vegetables and their leaves toxic to eat!

A potato with leaves

Potatoes contain Solanine in both the body and the leaves. This alkaloid chemical is produced by the plant due to sunlight and may cause poisoning.

While Solanine is perfect for potatoes to shield from pest attacks, it can be dangerous when eaten.

Side effects of Solanine

  • Stomach pain, leading to diarrhea in extreme cases.
  • Fluctuating heartbeats.
  • Difficulty in breathing.

All the above symptoms may cause respiratory disease, eventually leading to death!

Do Sweet Potatoes and Their Leaves Contain Toxic Solanine?

You can count on sweet potatoes to be healthy and safe!

Sweet potatoes do not contain Solanine. Consuming both the vegetable and its leaves is safe. Sweet potato leaves are rich in minerals.

Sweet potatoes belong to the family of morning glory plants. You’ll find these plants safe and healthy to consume. In this species, all parts of the plant are non-toxic and can be eaten straight away.

Although you can safely eat a sweet potato and its leaves, it’s tradition to cook them before eating. All over the world, you’ll find sweet potatoes are either boiled or fried before putting them into a dish or eating them directly.

All in all, sweet potatoes are easy to grow. You can extract the leaves even before the tuber has grown to the maximum size.

PRO-TIP

You can store Sweet Potato Leaves!

Do you have many sweet potato leaves at home? You can either freeze or dehydrate the leaves to preserve them. Rinse the leaves well using ice water; make sure they’re dry before you freeze them.

What Makes Sweet Potato Leaves Healthy?

A few simple cooking steps to eat your sweet potato leaves!

A sweet potato underground with leaves on top

Sweet potato leaves consist of a variety of nutrients that make up a healthy diet.

Did you know that sweet potato contains nutrients similar to Spinach? Here is a list of what sweet potato leaves have in store for you:

  • Vitamins (C, E, K)
  • Folic acid
  • Carotene
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Oxalic acid

All the above nutrients will help you enhance your heart health. Not just that, but the rich vitamin K will promote bone health and protect against fractures for menstruating women too.

As for Oxalic acid, you’ll find it in Spinach too. But since sweet potato leaves have lower levels of this acid, you can eat them raw!

HEALTH FACT

Sweet potato leaves can be used as cures!

Do you have metabolic or skin issues? You can use sweet potato leaves for a healthy metabolism. They are good for treating rashes and other skin infections.

How Can You Eat Sweet Potato Leaves?

You can eat sweet potato leaves in so many ways!

Potatoes placed with a cup of tea

Sweet potato leaves have a bitter taste. Although the leaves of sweet potatoes can be eaten raw, the bitter taste may be removed by boiling and cooking.

You can use olive oil along with your sweet potato leaves. The best way to eat your sweet potato leaves is to cook them in boiling water. Don’t stop cooking until you see the leaves wilting. You can use the leaves as toppings on soups and other foods or even as dressings in sandwiches.

Here are some ways to eat sweet potato leaves:

  • Raw
  • Boiling and cooking (to remove the bitterness for a more Spinach-like taste)
  • Make an infused tea out of the leaves
  • Add them to your juice
  • Chop the leaves and cook them with garlic and butter

You can use sweet potato leaves as toppings or dressings. You may also cook them along with other ingredients to add a Spinach-like taste. And, of course, to add a nutrient and healthy punch to your meal!

Do Irish Potatoes and Their Leaves Contain Toxic Solanine?

Irish potato leaves are a big no for eating!

Irish potatoes and their leaves contain high levels of Solanine. However, the potato can be eaten, but the Irish potato leaves are inedible.

Are you thinking of eating Irish Leaves? Well, forget about it because they are highly toxic! It is in the leaves of these potatoes that you’ll find the most excellent solanine levels.

Irish potatoes belong to the family of nightshade plants. These plants produce high levels of Solanine when exposed to sunlight. Whether an Irish potato has high or low levels of Solanine, it is inedible in both cases.

WARNING!

Concentration of Solanine

Solanine is present in both the Irish potato and its leaves! Although Solanine is primarily found in the leaves of Irish potatoes, you should avoid eating the potato itself too.

PRO-TIP

Green spots!

You can detect Solanine on Irish potatoes. If you see a bunch of green spots on the potato, it has high levels of Solanine.

Can You Decrease Irish Potato Leaves Toxicity?

It is impossible to decrease Irish potato toxicity!

Irish potatoes with green spots can be boiled or fried to lower solanine levels. However, it is impossible to do the same with leaves.

If you still see green spots on your Irish potato, you’ll need to boil or fry it more. Those spots are a clear indicator of Solanine. Even if you see just a single spot, you’ll need to get rid of it by preparing the potato.

WARNING!

Green spots on Irish Potato

Never eat an Irish potato if you’re unable to get rid of all the green spots on it, even after cooking.

WARNING!

Cooking Irish Potato Leaves

Are you thinking of cooking Irish potato leaves? It won’t be useful as it is impossible to decrease the toxicity of Irish potato leaves.

How Can You Distinguish Irish and Sweet Potato Leaves?

Sweet potato and Irish leaves look different!

A man inspecting leaves cultivated on soil ground

Sweet potato leaves come in various shapes that are green or yellow-green, sometimes slightly purple. Whereas Irish potato leaves

Sweet Potato Leaves

Shape: Many shapes: heart, kidney, spear, triangular and circular. Color: Green, yellow-green, and sometimes slightly purple.

Irish Potato Leaves

Shape: Heart-shaped leaves. Color: Light green.

There’s a punch here to Irish potato leaves. Although you can’t eat them, they can give you signs of potential infections like other plants’ leaves do. These include fungal diseases, problems in plant growth, and pest attacks.

Final Word on Irish vs. Sweet Potato Toxicity

Irish potatoes and their leaves are highly toxic due to Solanine. You can boil or fry Irish potatoes to get rid of Solanine, but it is not recommended, and for leaves, it is impossible to do so. It is safe for you to eat sweet potatoes and their leaves, but it’s best practice to cook before eating. Also, if you’re eating the potato with its leaves, don’t forget to trim the green spots!

Are you eager to learn more about edible succulents? Have a look at why you should be eating the aloe vera.

I Love Eating Aloe Vera. This is Why You Should too!

Read to find out more about the aloe vera plant as a food, if it can be eaten and reasons why this could benefit you.

Jimena Bolívar Picture

By Jimena Bolívar

Easy Succulents Founder

My name is Jimena and I'm the the founder of Easy Succulents! I'm fascinated by this wonderful plants and I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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Jimena Bolívar Picture

Jimena Bolívar

Easy Succulents Founder

My name is Jimena and I'm the the founder of Easy Succulents! I'm fascinated by this wonderful plants and I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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