Who wants to run out of potatoes in the kitchen? Definitely not me. There is such a wide variety of ways to enjoy these delicious spuds that you will want to have them available at all times. You don’t want to run out of them and you don’t want to have to toss them out because they have gone bad, so you really need to know the best ways to store potatoes at home. You don’t want your taste buds to be disappointed when you feel for mashed potatoes, french fries, potato salad, scalloped potatoes, potato wedges……….. I could go on and on. With all those delicious things to make, it is important that we always have potatoes on hand.
How to store Potatoes
The first thing to know is that not all potatoes will store well for a prolonged period, so before you put them all in storage you need to inspect and remove all the potatoes that have soft spots, sprouts, mold, shovel damage, and pest damage. Only perfect potatoes are suitable for long-term storage.
Potatoes should be stored in a cool, dry, dark area.
Temperatures of 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal.
Ideal locations are in the basement, cellar or even in the garage.
If you don’t have any of these locations, don’t worry. You can go ahead and store them in your kitchen.
Store them in a crate, cardboard box or a bag that will allow them to breathe such as a burlap bag or a mesh bag.
What not to do
- Don’t wash them until you are ready to use them. – Washing will shorten their storage life. This is because washing adds moisture, which promotes the growth of fungus and bacteria. Just gently brush off the dirt and leave the washing until you re ready to cook them.
- Don’t put them in the fridge – The too cold temperature will cause the starch to turn to sugar and this can actually affect the flavour and texture.
- Don’t store them close to onions – This will cause them to sprout and go bad quickly
- As a matter of fact, don’t store beside other ripening fruits either because fruits and vegetables release ethylene gas as they ripen, and this can cause raw potatoes to sprout and soften more quickly. This is especially true in the case of bananas, apples, onions and tomatoes, as they release relatively large amounts of ethylene.
- Don’t expose them to too much light – When exposed to too much light or sunlight, the potatoes will turn green. The chemical compound that forms during the greening process is called solanine. If ingested in large quantities, it can make you sick.
- Do not store them in plastic bags – If you don’t have a mesh bag or burlap potato sack, and for some reason you have to use plastic bags, ensure that you punch holes all over the bag so that air can flow through.
Damaged potatoes will spoil faster. Make sure you separate the damaged ones from the whole ones.
The ones that are nice and smooth are the ones that will store the best.
Sometimes during harvesting, the potato might be damaged by the tool you are using to get it out of the ground. You might end up with a nice hole in your spud thanks to your gardening fork. These are not good for storage.
Or you might even end up with potatoes which have some of the skin peeled off. Not good for storage either.
If it has started to sprout, it is not good for storage.
If you end up with these damaged ones, make sure you eat them early as they won’t last too long.
Take care if you are reaping from your own garden. If you are purchasing your potatoes at the market just examine them well to make sure they are not damaged.
A little titbit
We mentioned that the potatoes can be damaged because of the skin stripping off.
Ever wondered what would cause the skin of the potato to strip off? After all, when you are handling your potatoes in the kitchen, it shows no sign of been able to strip easily.
Well, when the potato is just harvested, the skin is extremely fragile and if not handled carefully will strip off the potato. For the skin to become hardy, the potatoes are left to dry and cure. And no, your potatoes are not sick.
Curing potatoes – for you gardeners
- When you dig up your potatoes, spread them out and allow them to sit in a dry, cool place (50–65°F) for about ten days. This allows their skins to cure/harden, which will help them keep for longer.
- After curing, make sure you brush off any soil clinging to the potatoes, then store them
If you purchase yours at the market, you don’t have to worry your head about curing. You can safely assume that the potatoes are cured before they reach the shelves.
When should you throw out your potatoes….or not
If it has sprouted, but the potatoes are still firm, cut out the sprout and eat your potato.
If it has sprouted and shriveled up, toss it.
It is has a bit of green on the skin, cut away the green part and eat your potato.
If most of the skin is green, toss it.
Wishing you a constant supply of potatoes in your kitchen and happy eating.
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