Why are potatoes often bitter?

Like my heart?

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Maybe you are more sensitive than most to the solanine in the potatoes? If nobody else finds the potatoes as bitter as you, this might be an indication.

There are other foods besides potatoes in the "nightshades" group so you could see if they also taste bitter to you (and not to others).

As well as potatoes you could test peppers, paprika, tomatoes and aubergines/eggplants.
I actually have wondered if it's me and not the potatoes. I definitely don't have issues with the other nightshades - once in a while I get a bitter eggplant but very rarely. The only other food I have this problem with is zucchini/courgettes but that seems it could be related to how fresh they are.

I've never been tremendously "into" potatoes, so maybe it's a personal physiology thing that has gone to a new level. And good to point out that so far I don't have any reality checks, as when I cook at home it's usually just me.

And indeed! I do usually try to buy "local" potatoes, which some indicate are just crap? I'll look for some french potatoes next time and see if I notice a difference.
Sir Percy B

Alsatian potatoe link...
Thanks for the link, but did it not occur to you that the reason they are so expensive at the Market in Munich is because they are imported from France. The reason they cost 1.99 kilo here in Germany is because they are most probably 1 of the 3 german varieties I previously mentioned.
Guess so. The stinky cheese that costs 11 Euros a kilo in France goes for 30 odd at the same market...

Alsatian potatoe link...
FL my French isn't the best but isn't that just a site for potatoes grown in Alsace and all the potato recipes there are in the area? I didn't see anything mentioning a variety.

And indeed! I do usually try to buy "local" potatoes, which some indicate are just crap? I'll look for some french potatoes next time and see if I notice a difference.
Where are you based? I've certainly had no problem finding nice potatoes here but then again I don't buy vegetables in the supermarket. Although there isn't the same selection of floury potatoes (which, apparently, Irish people tend to prefer, whereas Germans seem to be more fond of the waxy ones) here, I can still usually get some at my local market.
germans tend to prefer a more yellow flesh type potato.
My 70-something year old father in law had an explosive rant a couple of years ago when he purchased some potatoes that turned out to be white. He could not believe his eyes. Potatos are yellow! I've bought potatoes all my life and they should be yellow!!!

I think he was mostly annoyed because they spuds were floury, and hence fell apart when he followed his Bavarian potato salad recipe that calls for boiling potatoes for as long as it takes to wander off and potter round a bit in the garden.

Anyway, original question - bitter spuds? No idea, but let's be honest, the predominate taste when eating potatoes should be the taste of butter. For mash, I personally use a 50/50 mix of spuds and butter for example. That's all spuds are for ever here; vehicles for delivering more butter into your belly.
I don'think I have ever had a "bitter" potato,can a potato be bitter? and like the Don says butter and salt
I had some the other day and also thought they tasted bitter. Then read this thread. Maybe it is the latest potato disease. A few years back they were all rotting from the inside. That seems to have passed.
Coming from a company that specializes in internal quality grading of fruit and vegetables I can tell you that French potato farmers grow cosmetically good looking potatoes for the public, and have smaller patches on their farms for the potatoes the farmers actually eat which are not so pretty but taste better.

In Germany it is every man for himself and not a lot of investment is pushed to ensure a good potato is produced for the consumer, where as in the UK the farmers work together to ensure the price is constant and if they don't get that price they all work together to stop the supply to the supermarkets etc, this keeping the price good and more money back to the famrer to ensure the potato is a product they invest heavy in to see the consumer happy.

As for the bitter taste,it sounds like it is your taste buds and not the product if you have tried different varieites and all give you that bitter taste, but also could have something to do with the chemicals used to protect the plant from all the possible diseases that can occur in pototoes like ZC which can stunt the growth of the potato and increase the sugars so when fried it can burn giving acrylimide which can cause cancer. In CA if you buy a burnt fry now, you can sue the supplier.

We haven't experienced bitter potatoes but have had some that tasted very sweet and I suspect they had been stored improperly somewhere along the way.
garry entropy
I got some sickly sweet ones recently, frost damage I think.
Yes, frost or just very cold temperatures. They tasted ghastly.
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