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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!
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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!