Newly harvested potatoes in Maine are popping out of the bottom with skins trying like they’ve a case of teenage zits.
Like raised pimples on human pores and skin, white bumps on potatoes develop out of pores — referred to as lenticels on greens — on the tubers’ pores and skin. Relying on the variability, they’re extra evident on some spuds than others.
The unpleasant growths are simply the newest signal of how moist this summer season has been. Crop consultants say these bumps — also called “water spots” or “water scabs” — are completely pure when circumstances are as damp as they’ve been.
In one of the best state of affairs, the scabs depart you with an unpleasant potato that received’t final lengthy in storage. Within the worst state of affairs, they’ll promote the expansion of human disease-causing micro organism and different pathogens.
“The tubers have tailored to develop beneath the bottom the place there may be much less air obtainable,” Gregory Porter, professor of crop ecology and administration on the College of Maine, stated. “When the soil will get saturated there may be much less [oxygen] and extra water, and the widespread response from the potatoes is that the lenticels will enlarge.”
The lenticels are what permits the potatoes to breathe by changing some chemical gasses into oxygen, stated Ibrahim Kutay Ozturk, potato plant pathologist with the College of Maine Cooperative Extension.
“Throughout moist seasons, generally tubers must work further arduous,” Ozturk stated. “Subsequently the lenticels are swollen as much as ease fuel trade.”
It’s often fit for human consumption a potato that has enlarged lenticels, Porter stated. However you must look at it fastidiously first.
Enlarged lenticels can let in pathogens or bacterias that rot the potatoes flesh. As soon as a potato begins to rot or spoil, it might probably harbor micro organism that trigger salmonella, listeria or botulism, if eaten.
The longer the potato is out of the bottom and in storage, the better the chance for these pathogens taking maintain.
“I’d suggest not storing these tubers for too lengthy,” Ozturk stated. “And devour them rapidly.”
There will likely be indicators that the potato is unsafe to eat.
“When they’re in storage, you might begin to see infections and darkened spots on the potatoes,” Porter stated. “That’s the micro organism damaging the tissue.”
Earlier than consuming that potato, you could trim or reduce off any areas of discoloration or decay.
Enlarged lenticels do lower the general storage lifetime of your potatoes, however Porter stated it might probably assist in case you allow them to dry a number of days within the open earlier than storing them.