Potatoes can be a delicious, versatile food that may be used for countless tasty recipes. From mashing them to baking them to slicin’ ’em up and frying them, there are endless ways to enjoy the oh-so-delicious spud.
Unfortunately, potatoes can also be extremely dangerous — and you’d never know otherwise. If you’re storing potatoes in your home, you may actually want to throw them out, as one Russian family should have done before it was too late.
You’d be hard pressed to find someone out there who doesn’t love this savory side dish in at least one of its infinite forms. Yet, for as yummy as potatoes are, they can also be downright dangerous.
All that starch isn’t exactly nutritious, and you’ll have a tendency to use lots of butter and other fatty ingredients (bacon, anyone?) when you’re preparing them — but that’s not even the biggest health threat.
There’s one specific thing everyone needs to worry about when it comes to potatoes, and if you have a bag of them that’s been sitting in your pantry for a long time, you’re at risk…
In 2014, an 8-year-old girl from Russia named Maria Chelysheva lost her entire family without warning. It all began when her father went to the basement to get ingredients for dinner.
About fifteen minutes went by, and he still wasn’t back upstairs. Concerned, Maria’s mother walked into the basement to see what he was doing, but she never returned, either.
Adriane Dizon / Flickr
Tragically, the same thing happened to Maria’s brother. Finally, the grandmother called a neighbor for help, but by the time they arrived, she had already suffered the same terrible fate.
As it turns out, potatoes contain glycoalkaloids, a chemical compound that is also found in poisonous nightshade plants. That makes potatoes naturally toxic under the right conditions…
Not only can they become poisonous when they’re consumed, but they can release a deadly chemical into the air — which was exactly what the Chelyshevas all breathed in upon entering the basement.
The Chelyshevas’ Exposure to this deadly compound, even for such a brief period of time, ended their lives. Maria, herself, almost died as well when she went to the basement to look for her relatives…
Luckily for her, the concentration of the gas had dissipated after her mother left the door open. Nevertheless, by the time Maria did find her family, they were beyond resuscitation. Her life was never the same.
Even now, warnings about the dangers of rotten potatoes are not widely publicized. Potatoes, like any produce, has a shelf life. The only exception here is that when potatoes go bad, they can be lethal — and they aren’t alone.
It’s strange to think that something can be safe to consume one day and be deadly the next. It’s definitely important to know when certain foods expire, as potatoes aren’t the only item that can harm us if old…
No one wants to take a huge gulp of milk only to discover it’s gone rancid, so always refrigerate it properly. Milk is generally good up to a week after its expiration date, but give it a whiff if you’re unsure.
Expired eggs can harbor salmonella, so you never want to take your chances. If you’re unsure about an egg’s quality, place it in water. If it sinks, it’s still safe to eat. If it floats, toss it out!
Everyone loves outdoor grilling, but you need to take precautions when preparing meat. You should consume any type of raw meat within two days of purchase to be on the safe side.
Meat can last for months in a freezer, though, but only for a certain amount of time. Ground meat lasts about three months, pork lasts for six, and red meat can hold for up to 12 months.
You can safely enjoy yogurt for up to 10 days after the sell-by date. After that, the live bacterial cultures that help preserve it begin to die, so keep an eye on it!
Baby food should never be consumed after the sell-by date. That’s because it loses its nutritional value and it can do far more damage than good. It’s never worth the risk when your child is involved!
Once a bottle of ketchup is opened, it will last about a month in your pantry and up to eight months if refrigerated at the proper temperature. Burgers and fries, anyone?
Cottage cheese actually grows mold as it ages, so keep an eye out for that if it looks like it’s past the expiration date. The product usually holds for 10 to 14 days beyond the date.
Everyone loves classic peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! Just make sure the peanut butter you’re using isn’t more than three months older than the expiration date on its label.
Morning toast just isn’t complete without a tasty fruit spread. Luckily, jellies and jams can last up to an entire year in the fridge without spoiling. If it has been an entire year, however, check it before using.
Some people choose to keep butter in their fridge while others leave it out so it stays soft. If left out, it can last for several days, but if refrigerated, it can last up to three months past its sell-by date.
Don’t let the name fool you — sour cream isn’t spoiled when you purchase it. It can last up to two weeks after the expiration date, but because it’s dairy, give it the ol’ sniff test first.
If you’re a fan of mustard, then you’ll be glad to know that you can keep on enjoying it—unless your bottle is more than eight months past its sell-by date.
Food packaged in airtight cans can safely be consumed years after the expiration dates pass. However, if the can is dented, swollen, or rusted, you should toss it out immediately.
Stale chips and crackers are a turnoff to anyone’s appetite, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re unsafe to eat. Trust your sense of smell to see if the products have turned.
Don’t dress your greens without checking the label! Salad dressing can last up to three months past its expiration date in the fridge, but definitely give the date a second look before you use it.
Good news, pickle fans: the mere act of pickling food allows it to last a long time. Whether they’re dill, bread and butter, or sour, pickles will hold for one to two months past their sell-by date in a fridge.
Frozen food can last for months—even years!—in a freezer without its safety compromised. It may develop freezer burn, but it should still be safe to eat.
What’s a sandwich without a healthy slathering of mayo? If unopened in a pantry, this product is good for about a month after the sell-by date and four months if opened and refrigerated.