Potatoes are one of the most delicious foods on the planet and can be used to make some amazing dishes (french fries, anyone?)…but they also harbor a darker side, if you're not careful. If you buy a bag of potatoes and let them sit for too long, they can literally kill you.
Back in 2014, an eight-year-old girl in Russia was orphaned after her family let a batch of potatoes sit for too long in their storage cellar.
Maria Chelysheva's father went to fetch some potatoes from the basement. When he didn't return, her mom went to fetch him. When she didn't come back, the young girl's teenage brother went to see what the matter was. He too failed to return. Shortly thereafter, Maria's grandmother called a neighbor for help but also went into the basement before anyone arrived. Her fate was the same as the others…
You see, potatoes are naturally toxic to humans. They contain compounds called glycoalkaloids, which are also found in the nightshade family of plants.
As potatoes rot, their glycoalkaloids concentration goes up and they transmute into a deadly gas. When Chelysheva’s family entered the cellar with the rotten potatoes, they all died because it was full of toxic gas.
Young Maria went looking for her family after they did not return. The only thing that saved her from the same fate was that her mom had left the door open, giving the gas a chance to dissipate.
(via Huffington Post)
That is just absolutely heartbreaking and terrifying. I used to feel bad about eating three or four baked potatoes at a time, but now I know I'm just doing it to save myself from future toxic gas exposure.