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What Is the Best Way to Store Potatoes?


          
            Spread of fresh unpeeled potatoes

Potatoes are arguably the most versatile vegetable you can get. They’re great baked, au gratin, scalloped, mashed, hashed, fried, stewed, as chips, and in plenty of other ways. Not to mention, you can have them with any meal of the day.

What’s more, potatoes have a nice long shelf life — up to two months when stored correctly. This means you can stock up on your favorite variety from the local farmers market or grocery store without worrying too much about creating food waste or nutrient loss.
 
Want to learn more about storing potatoes the right way? Then Keep reading!

The Science Behind Your Favorite Pantry Staple


While potatoes are “cut off” during harvest time, they continue to breathe. This means they continue to live on the grocery store shelves and in your home until you decide it’s time to cook them up. 
 
How is this possible, you ask?
 
It’s simple: Oxygen binds with the sugars in potatoes and gets respired from the roots as a mixture of carbon dioxide and water. 
 
Essentially, this means that the starchy veggie gains significant moisture content over time. However, that moisture content ends up being the potato’s demise as it spuds in an attempt to re-root itself.
 
Additionally, potatoes contain small amounts of solanine. Solanine is an alkaloid commonly found in the nightshade family, which includes tomatoes and eggplants. Solanine is also considered toxic, increasing when potatoes and other vegetables in the same family are exposed to the light turning the flesh green.
 
That’s why it’s recommended to always store your potatoes in a cool, dark place.

How to Tell If Your Potatoes Have Gone Bad


There’s a fine line between a potato that’s on its way out and one that should be thrown away immediately. 
 
For example, if you see that your potatoes are beginning to grow spuds (or sprouts), they may still be salvageable. 
Spuds will crop up as an attempt for the potato to grow, and they’ll feed off its sugars and starches. The spuds will be very short if the potatoes have only recently sprouted. In this case, you can remove the spuds and cook the potato as usual. Just don’t eat the actual spuds, as they’re latent with solanine.
 
So, how do you know when you should give up on your potatoes altogether? Look for the following signs:
 
  • Multiple bunches of long, dark spuds
  • Dark spots speckled all over
  • Shriveled, mushy skin
  • A moldy or musky smell

 
You’ll know your potatoes are still good if they’re blemish free, have tight skin, and are firm to the touch. They’ll also retain their earth smell — not a moldy one.

What Is the Best Way to Store Potatoes?


The first step in storing your potatoes properly is doing a fresh check at the grocery store. Make sure they’re firm and smooth to the touch, free of bruises or sprouts. 
 
Once you’ve determined the potatoes are fresh, you can take them home and follow these storage steps to ensure they keep for as long as possible:

Store Them in the Right Container

When you bring your potatoes home, you will need something to store them in. The best potato container for potatoes allows air to flow freely, such as a bowl, mesh bag, or basket, like a metal potato bin
 
If you’re pressed for pantry space, you can also opt for a wall-mounted produce basket, which works for all kinds of produce.
 
It’s important to avoid closed containers. This would include airtight storage containers and resealable plastic bags. Sealed containers will trap moisture and cause the potatoes to get moldy and spoil much faster.

Keep Them Away From Light

Whether it’s natural sunlight or bright bulbs, the light will cause the potatoes to turn green. This doesn’t mean you have to hide your potatoes completely, but it’s best to store them somewhere that’s mostly shadowed. 
 
This would include a dark corner of the kitchen, shelving that’s away from direct sunlight, the pantry, or a well-ventilated cabinet.

Make Sure They’re Kept in a Cool, Dry Place

Potatoes keep best in dry atmospheres and at temperatures ranging from a cool 45˚F to 50˚F. This means you’ll want to avoid the refrigerator (and freezer) and opt for a more garage-like atmosphere. 
 
Of course, the garage isn’t always a practical option, so if you plan to store your potatoes in the kitchen, keep them away from the stove, heater, and vents. With a room temperature of around 68˚F, potatoes in the kitchen will last for about two to three weeks — don’t wash them until you’re ready to use them!

It’s Best to Store Them Alone

It’s also important to store your potatoes away from vegetables and fruits that release high amounts of ethylene gas or moisture. 
 
Apples, avocados, pears, and apricots release a lot of ethylene gas, while onions are another root vegetable with high amounts of moisture. When stored together, onions and potatoes produce ethylene gas, which causes them to go bad quickly.
 
They don’t have to be kept at separate ends of the kitchen, just don’t throw them in the same basket, and try to keep your produce containers a few inches apart in an area with good circulation.

Storing your potatoes properly will increase their shelf life and help them retain their vitamin content. All you need is the perfect spot and the right storage container that’s both functional and fits your decor — and we have just the thing. Shop our home storage options and more today!

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