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Foods -- Vegetables

What causes a blackened area inside a baked potato?

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When cut open, a baked potato may contain a black area when no discoloration was noticed prior to cooking. The black compound is ferric dichologenic acid that is formed from a reaction between iron and chologenic acid. It is harmless. Citric acid, naturally present in potatoes, usually prevents the reaction. It is likely to appear more often at the stem end of the potato. A cool wet growing season favors the accumulation of chlorogenic acid. If there is a problem with the same batch of potatoes turning gray in preparing mashed potatoes, add 1/4-teaspoon cream of tartar per pint of cooking water.

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, and Carolyn J. Lackey, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., Professor/Food and Nutrition Specialist, North Carolina State University (August 2004)

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