The way you store and prepare food can be extremely important. We know dairy belongs in the fridge to avoid expiration. We know chicken must be cooked all the way through to avoid salmonella poisoning.
But did you know there's a proper way to store potatoes? Unfortunately for one 8-year-old girl in Russia, she's been orphaned due to improper storage of the food.
Maria Chelysheva lost her mother, father, brother, and grandmother after one simple mistake when storing potatoes.
Law professor Mikhail Chelyshev, the girl's father, went to the cellar to get some potatoes for dinner when he almost instantly dropped dead. After a while, his wife, Anastasia, noticed her husband hadn't returned so she decided to go and make sure he was okay.
Anastasia dropped dead next to her husband.
Then, Maria's 18-year-old brother, Georgy, went to check on his parents. He also suffered the same, tragic fate as his parents.
After all three of the family members did not return, Maria's grandmother, Iraida, called the neighbors to plead for help. She didn't know what was happening, but she knew something was wrong.
Before help could arrive, Iraida also went to the cellar and died, according to police.
Maria also went to the basement and managed to survive, so how did she avoid the same fate as her family, and what caused their deaths?
When potatoes rot, they produce a toxin called solanine. This poison can be indicated by green skin, although this is not always the cause.
For the Chelyshev family, they had stored their potatoes in a damp, non-ventilated place which allowed them to rot. As time went on, the poison built up in the area, so when the family was exposed they immediately fell ill and died.
As for Maria, she can thank her grandmother for her survival. When Iraida went to the basement, she didn't close the door, which allowed the gas to dissipate. When Maria went down to the cellar, enough of the gas had cleared and she was able to survive. However, she is still haunted by the image of her family lying dead on the floor.
Relatives and friends are trying to support the young girl, but she is inconsolable.
How To Store Potatoes
- Store in a cool, well ventilated location
- Do no refrigerate
- Do not wash potatoes before storing them
- Avoid areas that reach high temperatures.