Got a big a harvest of garden-fresh potatoes to feast on this season? Or did you fail to resist the surprisingly low price tag in the farmer’s market and ended up buying a lot more than you can eat?
The good news is that potatoes will last a lot longer than most other fruits and vegetables, even if you leave them out on the kitchen counter. However, once they start developing eyes, they lose some of their fresh flavours.
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Instead, we have some handy ideas on how to store potatoes and keep them fresh for months!
Idea #1: The Conventional Approach On How To Store Potatoes
The conventional approach is to store potatoes in a cool, dark place where the temperatures will stay between 43 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. But it’s not so straightforward; a little preparation is required before you’re ready to store it. Follow the steps, and you’ll have fresh potatoes stocked up for months:
Step 1: Sorting
Give the potatoes a careful inspection and only select the perfect ones for longterm storage. Those with sprouts, cuts, or signs of pest damage are separated. These not-so-perfect potatoes that you have separated from the lot will need to be consumed within a few days. The rest of them are ready for the next step.
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Step 2: Curing
Brush off the dirt from the potatoes taking care not to puncture the skin. The skin of freshly harvested potatoes is softer and can be easily scraped off. Remember not to wash them as moisture will lower their shelf life.
Now spread them out over newspapers in a dark, dry place. Avoid placing them in contact. Leave them here for over two weeks. Curing the potatoes through this step will harden their skin and prepare them for longterm storage.
Step 3: Storing
Finally, the potatoes are ready for storage.
Choose a container that allows proper ventilation; cardboard box, basket, or paper bag are all ideal for storage. Plastic bags aren’t a good option since they won’t allow air to reach the potatoes and lower their shelf life.
My favorite way to store potatoes is in plastic crates, milk crates are perfect for this and last a lifetime:
Now place the container in a cool, dark place for storage. You can cover it lightly to further prevent any light from reaching the potatoes. Cut some holes on the cover to allow air circulation around the contents of the container.
Step 4: Check and maintain
Much of the work is done. However, don’t leave your potatoes unattended for too long. Remember to inspect the contents every couple of weeks to check for any sprouting or rotting. Remove any pieces that are going bad to prevent them from spreading the damage.
Stored in this way, potatoes can last for up to 8 months.
Idea #2: Bury the in the ground
Another easy technique on how to store potatoes is to bury the potatoes in the ground right after you harvest them. You can bury them in the same field that you were growing potatoes after you’ve cleared it. Follow the steps:
- Dig deep holes in the ground.
- Place one potato in each hole.
- Cover the potatoes with soil.
The potatoes will stay fresh all through the fall. That’s when you’ll have to dig them up. After digging them up, you can choose to store them using the conventional method, and extend their shelf life another 7 to 8 months.
Note: You may wonder why to harvest them at all if you have to bury them back again. Why not leave them in the roots and harvest when you’re ready to consume? This isn’t a good idea because the potatoes are attached to plants that will start dying. As the plants die, the roots and tubers will also start to rot.
Idea #3: Raw slices in water
Once you have peeled the potatoes and sliced them, they quickly start to lose color upon exposure to air. The best approach to preserving their color and flavor once they have been peeled and sliced is to keep them in water.
- Place the potato slices in a bowl.
- Fill the bowl with water, just enough to cover all the slices completely.
- Place the bowl in the fridge and use the potatoes within 24 hours.
Potatoes stored in this way will need to be consumed on the same day. Leaving the slices in water beyond 24 hours will turn them soggy.
If you want to store sliced potatoes for longer, vacuum pack them. Vacuum-packing potatoes and storing them in the fridge will keep them fresh for over a week.
Additional storage tips
Here are some additional tips to make the most out of potato storage and help them last longer:
- Don’t wash
Store them without washing; just clear of the excess dirt. Wash the potatoes only when you are ready to use them.
- Don’t store with other produce
Store the potatoes away from other produce. Many fruits and vegetables release ethylene as they ripen, which speeds up the ripening of other produce. This can cause potatoes to soften and produce sprouts sooner than usual.
For this reason, store potatoes away from other produce, especially apples, bananas, tomatoes, and onions, since they produce large quantities of ethylene gas as they ripen.
- Choose varieties that store well
If you haven’t yet grown potatoes or bought them from the farmer’s market, it’s a good idea to choose those that store well. If you plan on storing them for months, try to find varieties that respond well to storage. Some kinds of potatoes are much better for storage than others.
- Basements and Root Cellars
Potatoes can be stored easily in a root cellar or subterranean basement because clay walls maintain temperatures in the ideal range for potatoes. Underground rooms are also notoriously humid, which is a mixed benefit for potatoes. If you’re concerned about the moist air, however, a tiny fan that keeps the air circulating will help.
Potato storage crates can be anything from cardboard boxes to burlap-lined potato baskets. Containers that allow for some airflow, such as baskets or boxes with open slats, are ideal. A small laundry basket layered with newspapers and covered with a thick towel to keep light out is another good option.
- Indoor Storage
If you live in a warm region where basements are uncommon, you can keep your potatoes indoors, where it is air-conditioned, at least until the temperature cools enough to use an unheated garage.
You can use the cold floor of a coat closet in such a case. Sort the potatoes into paper bags by kind and size, place them in potato storage crates, and cover them with a towel.
You can also sort potatoes in boxes and containers under your bed. This is also a good option if your basement is stuffy and hot throughout the summer.
Tips to Keep Potatoes Fresh for Longer
There’s a reason potatoes are supplied in stores by the sack full: they can be served in a number of ways and, unlike other vegetables, can be stored for weeks or even months. You can extend the life of your potatoes even further by taking a few extra actions right away.
- Choose High-Quality Potatoes:
Look for potatoes that are devoid of blemishes, black spots, or soft patches, and have even-textured skin with shallow eyes and no green. Potatoes with flaws are more likely to deteriorate in storage.
- Keep Good Air Circulation:
When selecting a potato container, choose one that allows for good ventilation and does not readily trap moisture within. Wire baskets, paper bags, netting bags, or even an open bowl, as long as it isn’t too deep, are some examples of suitable containers to use for potato storage crates.
- Keep Them Dry
While it may be tempting to clean your dirty potatoes before storing them, avoid them. Moisture may easily become trapped on the skin and in the eyes of potatoes, creating an overly moist environment that leads to a musty odor and faster aging. Keep them in their original packaging and only wash them when you’re ready to use them.
- Cure Them Before Storing
Curing them before storing them extends their shelf life significantly. Curing potatoes involves holding them for two weeks in a warmer environment (usually about 60 degrees Fahrenheit) with high humidity levels.
- Keep Them Rotating
Check on your potatoes and rotate them every time you reach for one to avoid bruising. Check for any potatoes that are about to go rotten and use them up before adding additional potatoes to the bottom.
Choosing the right way to store potatoes will help you extend shelf life and also reduces food waste. Follow these tips and enjoy your garden’s produce or wholesale purchase for months. Imagine the satisfaction of enjoying your harvest through the winters as fresh as they were when you stored them. All it takes is a little bit of time and effort to store them properly and maintain your stock. In this article I have covered everything you need to know about how to store potatoes, Please let me know if you have any other ways of how to store potatoes and I will update this article.