The humble potato-a dinner table staple around the world-has a nasty little secret: those green spots can make you sick.
Irish immigrants were the first to introduce potatoes to New England, where they quickly became known as "murphies."
Savvy cooks will scan their spuds for traces of lime-colored patches under the skin or on the eyes, which signal the presence of a toxic alkaloid called solanine. Although modern crops now have very little of the toxin, it can still give you a stomachache, or in larger quantities, cause a skin rash.
Potatoes are not only one of the most popular and versatile of starches, they are also a rich source of vitamin C and potassium. So don't toss sickly spuds, just trim away green spots, black marks and eyes. Those with rotten patches, holes or bruises, however, should be thrown out.
When serving potatoes, make sure you choose the right variety to complement the menu and the cooking method: