Baked potato in foil can be deadly. I bet that you didn’t see this one coming. So how is it that one of the most delicious ways to cook a potato, and a favorite method while camping, can be deadly? It’s not as if the end result of a cooked potato is any different, or is it?
Many of us eat potatoes on a weekly basis. For many people they are an essential part of the diet. In fact, Ireland even went through a famine because of a shortage of the vegetable. They are delicious, full of wholesome goodness, and can be used in a variety of different ways. From mashed to baked, on pies and as fries and chips, they are incredibly versatile. The many different uses of the vegetable also highlights the many ways that they can be cooked. While the fried method has a high chance of delivering you to your maker earlier that intended, surprisingly baked potato in foil is deadly. But why?
Baked potato in foil can be deadly because of the way that it is cooked, as simple as that. When a potato is cooked in foil and left at room temperature it can develop Clostridium botulinum. C. botulinum is the bacterium that causes the toxic botulism. If left untreated, or treatment is delayed for too long, it can be fatal. So it isn’t some sort of chemical reaction with the foil that is the problem.
The reason this happens is all because of how the potato is grown and then cooked. C. Botulinum is a common soil dwelling organism. As potatoes are grown in the soil, they are directly exposed to it. It can also affect other soil dwelling foods, or those that come nto direct contact with the soil. Under normal cooking conditions, the bacterium is killed, and the food is safe to eat. When cooked in foil a couple of things happen. First, the foil traps moisture, which can prevent the potato from getting hot enough to kill off the bacteria. Sometimes, the heat can be warm enough to kill off competing bacteria, allowing C. Botulinum to thrive. The second part comes directly after cooking has completed. Leaving them in their foil jacket allows the botulism toxin to build up thanks to a low oxygen to oxygen free environment.
But there is one way that can lower the risk of baked potato in foil can being deadly. If they are removed from the foil and consume it immediately, the chances of the toxin forming are reduced. If you can not eat them, place them in a refrigerator.