Potatoes make me sneeze
So we all know that cuttings onions can make you cry, but cutting potatoes makes me sneeze. I've always noticed it a little, but tonight was like a full-blown allergic sneezing fit as I was dicing some reds for dinner. Sometimes it's worse, other times I don't experience it at all. I really only noticed the correlation recently (probably cuz such a thing never entered my mind as a possibility). Or maybe I'm just a freak.
Anybody else ever had this happen to them? If so, are certain varieties worse than others? I may have to investigate scientifically ...
I am allergic to several raw fruits and vegetables. In addition to problems eating them raw I also have reactions to handling them raw. I get asthma, aand sometimes a runny nose, from peeling potatoes and have to do it under running water. My hands itch afterwards if I forget to use food prep gloves. I have noticed less or more reaction at times but never checked whether it was from different varieties or not.
Not at all freakish. Potatoes are a member of the nightshade family (which also includes tomatoes, peppers and eggplant). Vegetables in the nightshade family contain oxylates -- fairly common allergens that are also known to aggravate inflammatory conditions (like arthritis).
re: GG Mora
Ahhh, science! Thanks. I figured it should be fairly common given the prevalence of food allergies. I've always had slight reactions (tingling in the mouth) to certain apple varieties. This seems to happen much more often with fruit that's not quite ripe (peaches and plums come to mind as well as apples in this respect). Related possibly?
Yes, raw potatoes is in the raw carrots/hazelnuts/birch allergy family, although I've known people to have sensitivity to one and not the other!
I too have had, in the past, severe reactions to peeling raw potatoes, or slicing them. Certain varieties seem to be worse than others to me -- such as russets and reds causing swollen eyes and mouth itching -- whereas long whites and Yukon Golds cause less of a reaction.
One thing I've learned over the years is to be very very careful about touching your eyes with your fingers after peeling or cutting potatoes. That will increase the likelihood of a big reaction.
To remedy this (and I've found my sensitivity has declined over the years, thank goodness -- I had my throat practically close up once when I was peeling potatoes for Thanksgiving when I was a teenager) I ALWAYS peel potatoes under running water in the sink. If you're not peeling the potatoes, but rather dicing, slicing, or grating them, what works best for me is to keep the cutting board right by the sink, and to rinse my hands after every potato or so. Also, I don't work over a huge pile of cut raw potatoes -- I take them off the cutting board and put them in a bowl away from the work surface. This seems to help.
I've never had any reaction to a cooked potato, however -- whatever allergen is in there is apparently destroyed by cooking.
Also, if you notice a particular variety (the reds you described) cause more of reaction than others, you can try switching another variant.
Peeling potatoes makes me sneeze, too, and has for years. Russets seem to affect me the most. The reaction is almost immediate -- within 5 minutes, maybe.
It's very inconvenient to need to sneeze while preparing food, and equally inconvenient to need to blow my nose when my hands are wet. I run out of the room, sneeze a few times, dry my hands, blow my nose, wash my hands, return to the kitchen, peel a few more potatoes, run out of the room, sneeze a few times, etc., etc..
The thing is, potatoes are one of my favorite foods! Figgurs, eh? :-)
dave146 at burtonsys.com