I bought potatoes today in a different store then I normally do. When I came home I saw that the potatoes look like they are 'shedding', and I can peel of pieces of skin. Is this normal for some kind of potatoes? I'm not familiar with this with the potatoes I normally buy. They feel and smell normal. Also they have normal color, no 'bad' spots and when cutting one in half it also looks fine. Are this potatoes just an other kind then I'm used to, or is there something wrong with it? I bought 'regular' waxy potatoes from some supermarket.


2 Answers 2


This is perfectly normal for waxy potatoes; their skins are soft and easily scraped off, especially if freshly harvested and handled roughly. I saw it just the other day with a batch of new potatoes fresh from the CSA. The potatoes were just fine.

If you see this with thick-skinned, starchy potatoes it may be a sign of fungus, especially if accompanied by dried out or roughened patches. Green colors in the peel are also a problem, because they indicate exposure to light and an elevated level of the toxin solanine. Solanine can cause upset digestion and headaches if consumed in quantity. Don't eat potatoes that are very green.

  • Does that mean that I normally have less fresh potatoes?
    – Lotte Laat
    Commented Jun 9, 2012 at 16:33
  • 1
    No, it means yours were handled gently when freshly harvested, or that they're varieties with thicker skins.
    – BobMcGee
    Commented Jun 9, 2012 at 16:47

BobMcGee indicates that the thickness of the skin is determined by the handling or the variety. Although variety can determine the thickness, handling cannot make the skin thicker or thinner. Handling may cause the thin skin to come off, but it won't cause it to be thin in the first place.

The thickness of the skin within a variety of potato is determined by how long the potatoes were left in the ground after the plant dies. If the potatoes are harvested while the plant is still alive, they will have an exceptionally thin skin that will peel off easily. You can peel them by rubbing the surface with your fingers. This is almost always the case with "new" potatoes and is true across varieties from reds and pontiac to yellow yukon and russet.

Thicker skins result from leaving the potatoes in the ground after the plant dies (from a frost for example) for days to weeks. The potatoes stop getting nutrient from the plant and thicken their skins to insulate themselves from the elements. Producers allow the potatoes' skin to thicken because it improves their lifespan.

Thick or thin skins with a scaly texture have been infected with a fungus and should be peeled a little more deeply than usual. It is typically the result of the soil having too high a pH.

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