Where to store potatoes

Contents

How to store potatoes

There are several factors to consider when storing your potatoes to make the best of your spuds in terms of storage life and quality, check them out below:

First things first, you need to separate your potatoes so you know what you can use in the short and long term. If you spy any bruising or broken skin, use them up sooner and leave the unscathed potatoes for later on. Be sure not to wash your spuds before storing, the exposure to moisture invites rotting and greening to spread and will ultimately shorten the storage life.

Where should I store them?

You need to keep your potatoes in a dry, dark place. Exposure to light or moisture can bring on rotting in the skin. You’ll also need to allow your spuds to be well-ventilated so avoid any air tight containers or spots – a netted bag or wicker basket should do the trick. Be sure your potatoes are kept in cool conditions as it increases storage length. Kitchen cupboards or cellars are the ideal location as they tend to tick most of these boxes.

How long will they last?

Storing your potatoes in the correct way should see them lasting for several months, be sure to keep checking up on them as any rotting can spread if they are close in contact with each other. If you do spot any signs then you may need to throw them out. There are several ways to further elongate the lifetime of your spud! If you place your potatoes in a dark place on top of newspaper at a slightly warmer temperature the skin will thicken making it less prone to bruising and rotting.

Ask Dr. Potato

A:

A few years ago the University of Idaho published a report entitled Options for Storing Potatoes at Home that had a wealth of tips on what to do once you buy potatoes at the grocery store and bring them home. The tips for storing potatoes are especially important if you plan to make French fries or hash browns as each method suggested can affect the starch and sugar levels.

The key points to consider are:

Temperature –
Most homes store potatoes too warm and they will sprout prematurely or the skins will wrinkle on the potatoes. Ideal is 42-50 degrees F.

Light –
Exposure to light makes the potato skin turn green and taste bitter, so store them in a cool dark place.
The suggested home storage locations you might try include an extra refrigerator set at a higher temp (not an option for most), in a garage, in an insulated area in a cabinet (not so practical when temps are extremely hot or cold) and the recommendations for the easiest spots are in the house in an unheated area (under a sink, in a closet, spare room or basement) and in a dark location, or in dark colored breathable or perforated bags.

This Simple Trick Will Change How You Prep Potatoes

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As spring arrives, so does potluck season. We found one trick that will dramatically change your ability to make a batch of potato salad big enough for the entire office, Little League team, or church choir.

Normally preparing potato salad for a crowd (or mashed potatoes or potato soup or twice-baked potatoes) is always a bit of a chore because those dirt-grown gems need to be scrubbed before cooking. That usually means slaving over a sink and putting some elbow grease into making sure each of those little spuds is spic and span before cooking. Turns out, there is an easier way. According to the blog Heavenly Homemakers, when it comes to prepping potatoes for cooking, you can skip the sink entirely.

WATCH: 6 Mistakes You’re Making With Mashed Potatoes

Instead, load your potatoes in the top rack of your dishwasher. Set the machine to rinse only, make sure there’s no soap in the dispenser, and then shut the door and let the machine do its thing. Prep the rest of your meal while the potatoes get sparkly. When the rinse cycle is over your potatoes should be all prepped and ready to bake or boil, or in the words of Waffle House, scattered, smothered, covered, chunked, diced, or topped.

It’s a helpful tip that will save your hands—and your elbow grease—for the more exciting part of cooking with potatoes and will make it easier to bring your world-famous potato salad to any potlucks, holiday gatherings, or fundraiser dinners in your future.

It can seem as though when someone says to wash the vegetables. That you should literally wash them with soap. Potatoes and all produce needs to be rinsed off before cooking with them, but there is a difference between washing them with soap and cleaning them properly.

So should you wash potatoes with soap? Soap should not be used to wash potatoes because the smell of the soap can ruin the taste. Potatoes grow in the dirt and are not washed good enough commercially to be dirt free. Rinsing and scrubbing a potato is good enough to rinse it clean without using soap.

Prepping a potato is always good before you are going to begin cooking. Because of the potatoes bumpy skin dirt can be trapped on the outside. Although Scrubbing the dirt off the potato is one step it is not enough to make sure the potato is cleaned.

Good Reasons to wash Potatoes

Potatoes are dirty and can have dust and germs on the outside. This can come from sitting in a grocery store or from being shipped on a truck.

Bacteria can also come from the very place the potatoes are grown. Animals such as birds can poop into the soil nearby or the water being used for irrigation can host bacteria. Even organic soil and fertilizer can still contain harmful bacteria.

Anyone who is susceptible and especially vulnerable to infection should take caution when handling raw produce. Washing hands and avoiding cross contamination is equally important for produce as with raw meat.

One good reason is to avoid eating any dirt that is still remaining on the potato skin. There is even a slight chance for small bugs to be on the potato.

Potatoes are among the most heavily sprayed vegetables. The dirt they grow in is treated with fungicides and the potatoes can soak up these chemicals. After harvest potatoes can sometimes be treated with pesticides.

Because there are so many ways to cook and eat potatoes. Some ways to prepare potatoes can lessen the worry about cleaning the skin as much. Such as peeling a potato first.

What if I’m going to peel the potatoes?

It seems pointless to clean the outside of the potato if the skin is going to be peeled off anyway. Right? Well that is true in a way. Since you will not be eating the part that might have dirt and bacteria. The risk is reduced, but while peeling you still are touching and handling the potatoes.

Any bacteria or nasty germs that may be on them is going to be in your hand. There is still good reason to wash the potatoes first. Peeling the potato can spread the bacteria onto the good parts. The potato peeler can collect nasty germs and will need to be washed with soap and hot water afterwards.

Every vegetable should be washed before handling and preparing. So it best to wash the potato first before peeling and after (unless you are going to boil them).

Potatoes that are peeled can start to turn black. So it is best to not leave them out for very long.

What If I’m going to bake the potatoes?

Even if you plan on baking the potatoes it still is a good idea to wash them first. Baking them in a oven will kill any germs but it will not remove dirt or any chemicals. Same goes with wrapping them in foil and grilling them. Heating up the potato does disinfect them but does not wash off any chemicals.

Heating up the chemicals could even be worse if it breaks them down or causes them cook onto the potato. I am not sure if this can really happen but it doesn’t sound good if it does.

Do You Have To Wash Potatoes Before Boiling?

Even if you are going to be boiling your potatoes. It’s a good idea to wash them first. Most of the dirt will come off when boiling but there still could be pockets where it will remain trapped. That is why a brush works so well to ensure the potato is free of dirt.

Especially if you are going to be boiling them in a soup. You don’t want any of the left over dirt from the potato in the soup. If you are boiling the potatoes then draining the liquid, its not as big of a deal.

Still it is recommended to wash your potatoes before cooking them in anyway. Check out what the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) has to say about washing potatoes.

Scrubbing Potatoes Without a Brush

If you do not have a vegetable brush handy you can use a paper towel to scrub a potato. Wet the towel with warm water and start rubbing the outside. Scrub the potato firmly but not too hard. The paper towel should not act as sandpaper removing the skin.

This will help remove a lot of the dirt off the potato. You will notice the paper towel becomes dirtier. If you going to be cleaning a bunch of potatoes you should use more than one paper towel. Depending on how dirty the towels get are each potato.

The paper towel will be strong enough to remove the “eyes of the potato easily”.

Should You clean all the Potatoes at once?

You should only wash and scrub the potatoes you are going to cook with right away. Unless you can properly dry them for storage. Otherwise any leftover moisture can create mold or bad odors from the potato.

Cleaning a Potato with Vinegar

Vinegar and the acetic acid will disinfect and remove dirt from potatoes. Vinegar when diluted with water is safe to drink as opposed to dish soap. So if you want to use some type of cleaning solution for washing potatoes vinegar is the safest choice.

Using vinegar to clean vegetables is good for removing bacteria. It is more effective than water but not much more than scrubbing. Using vinegar involves diluting vinegar with water and either soaking the vegetable or spraying it onto them.

Vinegar is a great way to disinfect vegetables but it will take longer and be slightly more expensive than using a brush that you can reuse. Make sure to rinse the potatoes well with straight water to remove any vinegar odor.

Washing Potatoes In a Dishwasher

Using a dishwasher an effective way if you need to clean a lot of potatoes quickly. This way is also way less labor intensive but it has to be done right. Remember no soap is needed. If you are using a home dishwasher this is easy, just make sure no extra rinse solution is present and do not add any dishwasher soap.

Place each potato individually in the racks, making sure they are not going to roll around. The setting you want to use is rinse only cycle. Do not use warm or hot water. This could cook or steam the potatoes slightly and ruin them.

This way is great for getting a lot of potatoes washed quickly but should not substitute scrubbing in most cases.

After they have gone through the cycle remove them right away and begin to dry them off. Find a good place to let them dry out while you begin to prepare each one however. They still can used for however way you are going to cook them.

What To Scrub Potatoes With?

There are specific scrubs to use for vegetables. Potatoes do not require special brushes. Look for vegetables brushes when shopping around. A brand new toothbrush would work but might be too small. Look for a brush with a wide grip and a big bristle surface.

Common Names for Vegetable Brushes:

  • Vegetable Brush
  • Vegetable Scrubber
  • Vegetable Hand Scrubber
  • Potato Scrubber
  • Potato Brush

Always make sure the brush is clean before using. Run some water to rinse the brush off and get it wet first.

Do all potatoes need to be washed?

The answer is yes, all potatoes are grown in the dirt and are susceptible to the same contaminants. Red potatoes, gold potatoes, russet potatoes and even Idaho potatoes should all be scrubbed and washed before cooking with them.

Organic potatoes can still carry fertilizers or herbicides on them but they are safer than non-organic potatoes. Even so organic potatoes should be scrubbed and rinsed properly just as much.

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“A quick rinse in your dishwasher lets you focus on prepping the rest of the meal, cutting your cooking time down dramatically,” the publication says.

But not everyone agrees. Although this method sounds faster, it would only save you time if you’re cooking potatoes for a large group of people.

Getty Images

Writing an article for, The Kitchn, Elizabeth Licata, explains that in many instances, a rinse cycle, taking between ten and 15 minutes, would take longer than washing potatoes by hand.

“Washing potatoes in the dishwasher could be useful if for some reason you needed to cook and wash a ton of potatoes all at once, like if you were making mashed potatoes for 100 people,” Elizabeth said.

“But when cooking for fewer than 10 people, using this potato-washing ‘hack’ seems considerably less efficient than just washing the potatoes yourself.”

She added: “This has got to be one of the weirder kitchen ‘hacks’ I’ve ever seen. Why would a person wash their potatoes in the dishwasher?”

What do you think of washing potatoes in the dishwasher?

Have you got a tip you want to share with us?

RELATED: How to clean a dishwasher

RELATED: Six items you should never put in a dishwasher

Potato Storing After Harvest: How To Keep Potatoes From The Garden

Potatoes can be harvested as you need them, but at some point, you need to dig the whole crop up to preserve before it freezes. Now that you have a whole bunch of spuds, how to keep potatoes fresh and usable? Storing garden potatoes is easy as long as you have the space and a cool location. You can do a few things before you dig up the taters to ensure that potato storing after harvest is more successful.

How to Store Potatoes

Proper storage of your crop begins with a few cultivation practices prior to harvesting. Severely reduce the water you give the plants for a couple of weeks before harvest. This will toughen up the skins on the potatoes. Make sure you let the vines die all the way back before you dig up the crop. The vines will turn yellow and speckled before they are completely dead, then they dry up and turn brown.

Waiting until the plant is dead ensures the maturity of the spuds. These pre-harvest treatments are crucial steps for storing potatoes from your garden.

A consideration on how to store potatoes is curing. Curing is a process that will further toughen up the skin of the tubers. Place the potatoes where there are moderate temperatures but high humidity for ten days. Clean the potatoes after you dig them up and place in a cardboard box or open paper bags in a room that is 65 F. (18 C.) and humidity up to 95 percent.

After the spuds have cured, check them for damage. Remove any that have soft spots, green ends or open cuts. Then keep them in a cooler environment for long-term storage. Choose a dry room with a temperature of 35 to 40 F. (2-4 C.). Ideally, a refrigerator works well, but the crop may be too large to store in your fridge. An unheated basement or garage is also a good choice. Don’t store tubers where temperatures are likely to freeze, as they will crack open.

The length of time and quality of stored potatoes is influenced by the variety of tuber you plant. Red potatoes do not keep as long as the white or yellow skinned varieties. Thick skinned russets have an even longer life. If you tend to grow a variety of kinds of potatoes, use the thinner skinned spuds first.

Potato Storing After Harvest

The tubers can last for six to eight months when stored in cool temperatures. When storing garden potatoes in temperatures above 40 F. (4 C.), they will only last three or four months. The spuds will also shrivel and may sprout. Save a few of these for sowing in April or May. Don’t store potatoes with apples or fruit which give off gases that may cause them to sprout.

How To Cure And Store Potatoes For Long Term Storage!

Table of Contents (Quickly Jump To Information)

It’s the end of the growing season for tubers – and you’re probably wondering how to cure and store potatoes for long term storage.

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Curing potatoes is a simple process….and it is very necessary if you want your potatoes to stay edible into the winter.

By now, if you haven’t harvested your tubers, the green stems are likely drooping, and you’re itching to get your hands dirty and pull up those treasures you’ve waited all year to harvest.

And you should be excited – you’ve worked hard & should enjoy your haul!

Nothing is worse than working so hard – only to have the tubers rot because you didn’t properly cure and store potatoes for long term storage in the right conditions.

In this article, I will show you how to cure and store potatoes for long term storage so you can enjoy them in stews and combined with cheese and bacon all season. We’ll also cover how to prepare potatoes for storage after they’ve gone through the cure process.

This is a time tested process for how to cure and store potatoes for long term storage that our ancestors used!

How To Cure and Store Potatoes For Long Term Storage

After you’ve carefully dug up your potatoes, leave them outdoors in the sun (and away from hungry critters) for an hour or so to dry.

Don’t wash them – just let them dry. Washing them could result in dampness or mold.

If they’re still excessively dirty after they’ve dried, use a soft brush and gently sweep off clumps of dirt. Only do this if you must – any sort of brushing runs the risk of damaging your potatoes and they won’t last in long term storage.

At this point, you should examine your tubers – if any show signs of damage, such as a tear in the outer skin or holes, eat them right away.

The potatoes will heal some damage as they cure, but ones with excessive damage might not store well, so it’s simplest to just consume them ASAP.

Want to know more about growing herbs? Click here to learn more about my book, Herbs In Your Backyard.

How to Cure and Store Potatoes for Long Term Storage Tip: Keep Out Of The Light

To cure and store potatoes for long term storage (up to 7 months), the next step is to allow them to dry for a longer period, 1 – 2 weeks, this time out of the light.

Have you ever seen potatoes with green skin? These are potatoes that have been allowed to cure too long in the sun. After enough time, the skins are no longer edible.

Sunlight causes potatoes to produce solanine, which turns potatoes bitter and is poisonous. So, it’s critical to store them out of the light once they’ve completed the first cure.

Allow the potatoes to cure in a dark place where temperatures are about 55 degrees. For the first 2 weeks, the humidity should be close to 85 percent.

To ensure the temperature and humidity are adequate while you cure potatoes, use a thermometer like this one. It has both a humidity and temperature gauge, and it’s cheap enough – it’s a sound investment.

I’ve found it’s best to lay the potatoes out during this phase – you want the air to circulate around them so they finish drying. It’s important they form a thick skin, which stands up to the storage process better.

During this time, the potatoes are also “healing” wounds that occurred earlier in the the cure process. This, also, allows them to withstand the long time in storage and remain fresh.

After this phase of the curing potatoes process is complete, move the potatoes to a dark storage area where temps are cooler – no more than 40 degrees F. A cellar in your home – or a root cellar if you’re so lucky – is a perfect spot.

The consistent temperature is important; if temps are higher, your potatoes might sprout eyes or even start to shrivel.

To store potatoes for long term storage, once they’re dry, 6-inch bins with slatted sides like these are a good option. The air can still circulate, and saves space. Just be sure critters can’t get into the bins.

Another option that’s recommended is to use perforated plastic or paper bags. These allow the potatoes to “breathe” while you store them.

If any of your potatoes sprout eyes while they’re in your store room, double check the temperatures and light. If you spot mold or notice shriveling, check the humidity as well. If you cure and store potatoes for long term storage in just the right conditions, your potatoes should store for quite a long time – up to 7 months.

Now you know how to cure and store potatoes for long term storage!

In my book Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide To Backyard Gardening, I show you how to build cold frames and raised beds so you can start growing your own food. You can get it on Amazon here. If you buy directly from me, you save 20% off the Amazon price and get the digital version for free.)

More Organic Gardening Tips:

  • 10 Ways to Use Banana Peels in the Garden
  • Growing Potatoes is Easy in Containers
  • Growing Potatoes Indoors
  • 5 Pro Tips to Use Coffee Grounds in the Garden

Maat van Uitert is a backyard chicken and sustainable living expert. She is also the author of Chickens: Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock, which was a best seller in it’s Amazon category. Maat has been featured on NBC, CBS, AOL Finance, Community Chickens, the Huffington Post, Chickens magazine, Backyard Poultry, and Countryside Magazine. She lives on her farm in Southeast Missouri with her husband, two children, and about a million chickens and ducks. You can follow Maat on Facebook here and Instagram here.

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How are potatoes stored?

Potatoes en route to the storage facility.

The processes required to store potatoes properly.

Within the storage facility, potatoes undergo the following processes:

  1. Drying
  2. Cooling or heating
  3. Curing
  4. Storage proper

Each of these processes are controlled by the AgroVent systems BV Multiserver.

The potato drying process

The aim of drying potatoes is:

To remove outer moisture from the potato, whilst retaining inner moisture.

Potato humidification, during the drying process!

A dehydrated potato which has been improperly dried.

Potato drying is a very delicate process, because the aim is not to dry the inside of the potato, but just the skin and the dirt stuck to it.

Please note: It is better to store potatoes which are still slightly dirty from the field. This fine layer of earth will protect them. Potatoes are brushed when they leave the storage facility, not when they enter.

It is better to dry them at approximately 25° Celsius, and at approximately 85% relative humidity. In extreme situations, the air needs to be humidified during the drying process, to avoid results like the potato in the photo to the right.

Please note: It is better to store potatoes which are still slightly dirty from the field. This fine layer of earth will protect them. Potatoes are brushed when they leave the storage facility, not when they enter.

We call the potato “dry” when it no longer has visible moisture, and feels cool, rather than moist.

Curing potatoes

Potato curing is a process in which the potatoes are kept for between 7 and 10 days at 15° Celsius, with around 95% relative humidity.
In these conditions, the potatoes have the chance to self-cure any small wounds in their skin which may have occurred during harvest, transport and handling. This curing process is carried out to improve their storage capacity: The less open wounds they have, the lower the risk of infection during storage.

In order to cure them effectively, a well-controlled humidification system is essential.

A word of warning

If there is any chance of a Phytophthora (late blight), the curing process must be interrupted and the potatoes must be moved as quickly as possible to somewhere with their required storage temperature.

The process of lowering the temperature of potatoes

Once they are dried and cured, the process of lowering the storage temperature of the potatoes begins. This must be done in such a way that the potatoes lose as little weight as possible. To achieve this, the temperature must be lowered gradually.

It can be lowered by no more than 0.3 to 0.5° Celsius per day.

Very important::
Do not, under any circumstances, increase the temperature during this process. If a potato is cooled down, it “thinks” that winter has arrived, but if it suddenly warmed, its germination mechanism awakens, because the potato “thinks” that spring has come around again.

Multiserver

The air used for refrigeration must have a sufficient cooling capacity, but the temperature of the cooling air must not be more than 2° Celsius colder than the potatoes. During this entire process, the air that is used must be moist enough (close to 85% relative humidity).

This potato cooling process, during which a delicate balance of doors, condensers and humidifiers constantly monitor the temperatures and humidity, all fully automated by the Multiserver.

The process of storing potatoes and the different temperatures during storage

Storage itself is, in fact, the easiest thing to do.

It involves constantly keeping the potatoes: at the right temperature for their final use; at 90% relative humidity; at a regularly checked CO2 level; and in total darkness.

All of this also requires using the turbines as little as possible.

The final destination of the potato determines its storage temperature.

The different cold storage temperatures for potatoes depending on the final destination of the potato.

Potatoes to produce

crisps (chips)

Stored between 7 and 10° C.

Potatoes to produce

chips (fries)

Stored between 5 and 6° C.

Potatoes for

fresh consumption

Stored between 4 and 7° C.

Potatoes stored for

Seed potatoes

Stored between 4 and 5° C.

Potatoes to produce

starch and flakes

Stored between 4 and 5° C.

When potatoes are chilled to below 5 to 8° Celsius, their starches become sugars, known as reducing sugars.

These reducing sugars are the main cause of the brown discolouration, bitter taste and limpness of chips and fries if the potatoes are reheated incorrectly after storage.

This is known as the Maillard reaction.

The Maillard reaction is worth knowing about, because it can help to avoid poor quality crisps and chips.

The process of increasing the temperature of potatoes at the end of storage.

Once the storage period is over, the temperature of the potatoes must be increased, for two reasons:

  1. To give the reducing sugars the opportunity to reconstitute the starches and avoid the Maillard reaction.
  2. To avoid produce condensation when leaving the storage facility

This process of increasing the temperature of the potatoes at the end of the storage period is almost the opposite of the process of decreasing their temperature.

Once again, this process is fully automated by the Multiserver.

Potato germination during storage.

Potatoes stored below 5° Celsius do not sprout.

Potatoes stored above 5° Celsius do sprout.

The higher the storage temperature, the more chance of germination, which creates serious problems resulting in significant losses.

There are a number of commercial products in the form of gases and powders which can combat tuber sprouting.

To find out more information, please visit:

  1. CIPC Sprout Inhibitor

Most information on this topic is in English or Dutch.

Tips For Storing Potatoes, Onions, and Garlic

The beauty of root vegetables is that many of them will keep for a long time. This is especially true of veggies like potatoes, onions, and garlic. If you grow your own root crops and want to store the leftovers from your harvest, here are some timely tips on how to successful do this.

Potatoes
There are three things that are key to storing potatoes for the year: Curing them, storing them at the right temperature, and keeping moisture under control.

When you harvest your potatoes, the first thing you should to is rub away any dirt. Never wash potatoes that you plan to store because this can introduce too much moisture.

To cure the potatoes, lay them out in a cool, dry and dark place. Keep temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees, and let the potatoes rest for about two weeks. This curing process will make the skins tougher, which helps the potatoes keep longer.

For long-term storage, place the potatoes in a cool, dry and dark area where temperatures won’t fall below freezing or rise above 60 degrees. They’ll keep best between temperatures of 35 and 40 degrees. Make sure that your storage container is well ventilated — a crate, a cardboard box with holes punched in it, or any sort of container that will allow for any excess moisture to evaporate. Keep the container covered to keep light out and your spuds won’t spout.

Onions
First of all, it is important to note that some onions keep better than others. If you want to keep onions over the winter, choose the varieties with a strong, hot flavor rather than sweet onions. Sweet onions tend to only keep for a few weeks.

When the onions are ready to harvest — that is, when the stalks start to fall over in late summer or fall — the first thing you’ll need to do before storage is cure the onions. You’ll need a dry, warm spot (75 to 85 degrees) to cure them.

If the weather is supposed to be dry for the next two to four weeks, you can simply pull the onions out of the garden and lay them down right where you pulled them. If you are expecting rain, move the onions indoors, onto your porch or into the garage. Lay them out in a single layer and wait until the stalks dry out.

Once dry, you can trim the stalks back to about one inch and then store the onions in a well-ventilated container or mesh bag. As you are trimming stalks, make sure to discard any onions that still have some green in the center of the stalk — these onions won’t keep very long. As with potatoes, your onions can be stored in a cool, dark place. Ideal temperatures for long-term storage are between 35 and 40 degrees.

Garlic
Curing and storing garlic is very similar to onions, but with a couple of extra steps. As with onions, wait until the garlic stalks fall over at the end of the growing season, then pull the bulbs and lay them out to cure. Once cured, unlike onions, you won’t need to cut off the stalks. Instead, use the stalks to braid heads of garlic together, making a long garlic rope. Once this is finished, you’ll want to choose a cool, dry place to store the garlic, just as you did with the onions.

The advantage to garlic braids is that you can hang them, so you won’t need to worry about choosing a well-ventilated container. If you are worried about your garlic braids sprouting from light exposure or collecting dust all winter long, you can use paper lunch bags to make covers for your garlic braids. Simply cut a hole in the bottom of the bag, then thread the unbraided remainder of the stalks through the hole, and your garlic will stay safe throughout the winter.

The biggest challenge to keeping your root vegetables through the winter is finding a cool place that doesn’t dip below freezing. In milder climates, you can store your crops out on the porch or in an unheated garage. Otherwise, you may need to invest in a fridge that is designed for root crops or store your root veggies in a cool cellar.

You’ve just brought home a fresh bag of Creamer potatoes and want to make sure they keep fresh until you’re ready to cook with them. There are two common battles that you may face when storing potatoes—potatoes growing sprouts and potatoes turning green. So, what’s the best way to store your potatoes to keep them fresh and delicious?

Hold the sprouts

Maybe this has happened to you before: you’ve just returned from the grocery store with a fresh bag of your favorite potatoes, and you want to make sure they stay fresh. You lovingly place them in the cool and dark corners of your pantry…and then immediately forget you ever bought them.

Time passes, you begin to have that feeling like you’ve forgotten something, and then the next time you organize your cupboards you realize what’s happened. Your beloved potatoes have started growing strange coral-like clusters that don’t look entirely edible. In fact, they look more like they belong at the bottom of the ocean than in your stomach.

After quickly tossing them out, you vow that the next time you bring home a bag of spuds you will keep them out of the dark.

When you purchase your next bag of potatoes, you opt to keep them in a well-lit spot in your kitchen. “They shall not be overtaken by sprouts this time!” You declare triumphantly, as you relish in your victory over the tiny aliens emerging from your produce.

When green is not your best color

As the days pass, you start to notice your potatoes shape-shifting again, but this time they’re not sprouting, they’re changing color. What was once a healthy and earthly hue is now a vibrant, borderline offensive shade of green. “What is the meaning of this strange metamorphosis?!” You demand of the heavens, crying out in anguish. How are you supposed to find victory in this eternal potato battle between light and dark?! Where is the happy medium? Will you ever enjoy potatoes again?!

If this speaks to your battle-weary soul, fear not. As it turns out, there are perfectly natural and logical explanations for potatoes sprouting limbs and looking like they’ve been infused with plutonium. And what’s more, there’s a perfectly realistic way of storing your spuds.

Why do potatoes sprout?

Fun fact: Potatoes don’t actually need soil to sprout—they just need favourable environmental conditions. So, if you keep your potatoes somewhere that it’s cool, dark, and they have access to moisture, they will joyously begin to spread their sprouts and grow in the shadows. The more sprouts that grow, the more depleted their nutritional value becomes.

Why do potatoes turn green?

If you’ve ever kept your potatoes in a brightly-lit place, you may have experienced this. When potatoes are exposed to too much fluorescent light, they will turn a surprisingly vibrant shade of green. This happens because of chlorophyll being produced inside the potato, which isn’t necessarily bad, but it can also cause toxins like glycoalkaloids to reproduce. When this happens, it’s best to just find your nearest compost bin and let them move onto a better life in the soil.

How to store potatoes and win the eternal battle of light and dark

The answer is easier than you might think—and doesn’t require you to become a self-proclaimed warrior against potato-kind. Turns out storing your potatoes in a cool, dark, dry place is ideal! A temperature of around 38°F or 3°C is the ideal way to keep your potatoes cool and out of direct light until you’re ready to cook them. Here’s a quick breakdown on understanding the ‘Packed-On’ dates on our bags.

This is especially true for Little Potatoes, which come pre-washed and ready-to-eat. Keep your potatoes in a visible spot in your pantry, so you don’t forget they’re there. By keeping those spuds in your sights you can turn them into something delicious the whole family will enjoy. Learn more about where our Little Potatoes come from here.

Ready to get cooking?

You can find all our favorite recipes at our Recipe Center. Not sure where to start? Try our Chicken Pot Pie Soup for a hearty family dinner recipe. Or, if you’re looking for something a little lighter, try our Herbed Potato Salad for a fresh and tangy side dish.

Storing food safely – potatoes

About acrylamide

Acrylamide is a chemical found in starchy foods that have been cooked at high temperatures. These include crisps, chips, bread and crispbreads. It was first discovered by scientists in Sweden in 2002.

Acrylamide causes cancer in animals and so might also harm people’s health.

Acrylamide is produced naturally

Acrylamide is produced naturally when starchy foods are cooked at high temperatures. From the research available so far, it seems that boiling food doesn’t produce acrylamide.

It isn’t possible to stop acrylamide being produced or to remove it from foods once it has been produced. Therefore, research is being carried out to find out how the levels of acrylamide produced in food can be reduced.

home-cooked foods compared to processed foods

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has carried out research including tests on pre-cooked, processed and packaged foods, plus chips that were prepared from potatoes and cooked by the researchers. High levels were found in the home-cooked foods and in the processed foods.

Cooking and storing potatoes

If you want to help reduce the amount of acrylamide in your diet, here is some advice on cooking and storing potatoes.

Potatoes should be kept somewhere cool and dry but not in the fridge. This is because putting potatoes in the fridge can increase the amount of sugar they contain, this could lead to higher acrylamide levels when the potatoes are roasted, baked or fried at high temperatures.

Additionally, research carried out by the FSA has shown that if you are making your own chips, they contain less acrylamide when they are cooked to a lighter colour than chips cooked to a darker colour.

You can also reduce acrylamide levels by soaking potatoes in water for 30 minutes before frying them. But remember excess water should be dried off before putting the chips into hot oil. If you are using frozen chips, the levels of acrylamide are lower when the cooking instructions on the packaging are followed.

Continued research in to acrylamide

The FSA has carried out its own research, which confirmed the original findings of the scientists in Sweden who discovered acrylamide. The FSA has also played a significant role in contributing to European and international efforts to find out how acrylamide forms in food.

Although some studies have already been carried out, further research is needed to work out how best the issue might be resolved. As part of the international efforts to investigate acrylamide, the FSA is continuing to fund research.

The FSA’s research includes projects investigating acrylamide in the UK diet, the effect of home cooking on acrylamide, how it is formed, and how levels can be reduced. The main aim is to minimise the amount of acrylamide present in food.

Legal limits for acrylamide in food

There is no general limit set for acrylamide in food because levels of this sort of chemical should be kept as low as is reasonably practical. There is a legal limit set for acrylamide from plastics used in contact with food, such as packaging, so that acrylamide from this source should not be found in food at levels at or above 10 parts per billion.

The FSA is working with the food industry to increase knowledge and understanding. As part of the international effort, the food industry is also carrying out research to find ways of reducing the levels of acrylamide in food.

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