Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about how to store potatoes, we’ve got right here.
From french fries to alcohol, farm feed, and fuel, one of the most versatile vegetables on the planet is the potato. Fall is the most common harvesting season.
What do you do with those novelty varieties you bought at the farmer’s market? Not ready to cook them but afraid they’ll spoil?
We’re sharing the best ways to store those lovely taters.
Let’s jump in!
What is the Best Way to Store Potatoes at Home?
“Po-ta-toes! Boil ’em, mash ’em, stick ’em in a stew. Lovely big golden chips with a nice piece of fried fish,” says Sam in Lord of the Rings. The versatile potato is a tuber – the starchy, bulbous part of a plant’s root that stores nutrients in the ground.
Properly storing potatoes can help extend their shelf life and retain their vitamin content. A few basic things should help keep your spuds fresh for your favorite recipe.
First, keep your spuds away from the light but not in a sealed container. A cool, not too humid, not too dry place is best, and not the fridge. Keep them away from the stove or microwave as they give off excess heat.
There are mixed messages about freezing raw potatoes. Some say yes, you can do it for up to a year, while others say no. On the other hand, everyone agrees you can freeze the cooked tubers.
Raw storage could mean a pantry, a cool basement, or a climate-controlled garage in your house. You may be tempted to stuff them somewhere in an RV with your other veggies. This is a no-no because other fruits and vegetables may cause the tubers to age faster.
What Is the Best Container to Store Potatoes In?
When storing spuds, it’s best to avoid closed and airtight storage like resealable plastic bags or containers. These trap moisture. Mold will grow, and the potatoes will spoil faster.
Ironically, the best way to store tubers is in a paper bag or open basket. Keep them loosely together, so they get air. A cardboard box you can tuck away is an inexpensive way to store your spuds. Mesh bags hanging from a hook or a lovely basket will do too.
Spuds like an optimum storage temperature between 43-50⁰ F (6-10⁰ c) to help extend their edible life. The same goes for your RV. Your rig’s climate-controlled interior is better than exterior or upper storage compartments, especially in warm, humid weather. Put them somewhere low and dark, away from the sun’s heat.
How Do You Prepare Potatoes for Storage?
Prepping spuds for storage starts at the market. To begin, pick the freshest. Look for sprouts or bruises that indicate age and mishandling. They should be smooth and firm.
If the potatoes are green, they’ve been exposed to light for too long. This may change the texture and taste of your favorite spud. And, although it seems counterintuitive, don’t wash them until you’re ready to use them.
It’s pretty simple. Choose your container and location, then leave the potatoes there.
If you’re going to freeze your raw spuds, blanching them is one way to go. Another is to let them air out for 24 hours and then pop them straight into the freezer.
How Long Can You Store Different Types of Potatoes?
Over 200 varieties of potatoes are available in the U.S., and thousands worldwide. If all conditions are right, your favorite can last in storage for up to three months. Homesteaders who use root cellars can conserve their tubers for several months.
We separate potatoes by many factors. One is their texture, which gives a good indication of how long you can keep them.
You’ll get the most storage success with starchy (floury) tubers. These include the well-known russets and Idaho, which can last a few to several months under the right conditions.
Starchy potatoes are also low in moisture, and the flesh is fluffy and absorbent. They’re ideal for baking, frying, boiling, and mashing. This is because the fibers separate easily after cooking.
Yellow and fingerlings are two of the popular waxy spuds. They contain less starch and more water and sugar than other varieties.
These potatoes don’t store as well, lasting only a few weeks. However, they hold their shape better after cooking.
Yellow potatoes pair well with boiling and roasting recipes because of their subtly sweet yet rich buttery flavor. Fingerlings are excellent as a garnish or appetizer.
Some spuds fall in the middle between starchy and waxy. These all-purpose spuds hold their shape better but do lend themselves to a nice mash. White and purple varieties fall into this grouping and can last up to two months.
White potatoes have delicate skin that’s more edible if left on. Low in sugar content, they have a mild flavor. Useful in many cooking methods, grilling especially brings out a full-bodied taste.
Purple spuds are vitamin-rich due to their deep pigment. They have a mildly earthy taste.
To best preserve their color, cook them in the microwave. The purple or blue hues of these tubers are an eye-catching complement to any meal. They taste good too.
Let’s not leave out the holiday staple, the sweet potato. Though it’s technically not a potato. The delicious red-orange tuber is in a different plant family than the ones previously mentioned. However, they’re great for both savory and sweet dishes.
Should You Eat Potatoes That Have Sprouted?
Spud’s growing eyes! Yep, we noticed that too.
How do you know if your store-bought potato has exceeded its edible life? Look for spots, discoloration, softness, or mold. If the potato is wrinkly and bendy instead of firm, it’s time to toss it.
There are wide varieties and colors of potatoes. However, green is not okay. Spuds exposed to light begin to make chlorophyll, which is okay. The bad part comes when light also allows glycoalkaloid toxins to grow. Use the green chlorophyll as your safety indicator and place those in the compost.
Tubers don’t need dirt to sprout. All it takes is dark and wet to start growing, which is why you need a dry space.
Some people don’t like sprouted potatoes, but you can eat them. Simply remove the sprouts and other brown spots before cooking.
So, Is It Easy to Store Potatoes for Months?
You can easily store potatoes at home for up to three months. Storing the raw spuds in an airy container in a dark and relatively dry climate will keep them until you’re ready to cook them. We’re relieved to know these delicious staples can last!
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