Learn How to Store Potatoes

Potato heart
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Tired of tossing rotten potatoes? Learn how to store them properly, and they'll stay fresh weeks – if not months – longer.

What You Need:

  • Potatoes
  • Cardboard boxes, paper bags or mesh bags

Here's How:

  1. Inspect all potatoes for soft spots, sprouts, mold, shovel damage and pest damage. Only perfect potatoes are suitable for long-term storage.
  2. Place the potatoes in a cardboard box, paper bag, mesh bag or basket to ensure good ventilation. Plastic bags won't allow them to breathe, and will shorten their shelf life considerably, so remove them from their plastic bag, if they came in one.
  1. Store your potatoes in a cool, humid and dark place (45-50° is the ideal temperature range). If you have an unheated basement, that's the ideal spot for your potatoes. An insulated garage or shed may also work during the winter months. Just don't make the mistake of sticking your potatoes in the fridge. The too-cold temperature will turn the potato starch into sugar.
  2. Check on your potatoes regularly, and remove any that are soft, shriveled or sprouted, so they don't cause more potatoes to go bad.

Expected Shelf Life: 4-6 months, under optimal storage conditions

Tips:

  1. If your potatoes are homegrown, allow them to cure before you store them. Here's what you do to cure them.
  2. Do not wash potatoes until you are ready to use them.
  3. Keep your potatoes away from other produce, to prevent flavor transfer and premature ripening. It's especially important to keep your potatoes away from onions. They both release gases that ripen the other one. This makes those combo potato and onion storage boxes are an all-round bad idea. 
  1. If you haven't bought or grown your potatoes yet, pick potatoes that are known to store well. Some potatoes just hold up in storage better than others. Here are some good "keeping" potatoes to consider growing or buying.
  2. Follow these tips to keep your potatoes from sprouting prematurely.
  3. If you grow your own potatoes, it's especially important to store them properly. Store-bought potatoes are usually sprayed with growth inhibitors that slow down their sprouting. Your potatoes won't have that advantage (though most gardeners would say that's no advantage at all).
  1. Aim to store no more potatoes than you can use during the fall and winter months. Once spring arrives, those potatoes are going to start sprouting. Of course, if you're a gardener, sprouted potatoes aren't a problem at all. Just cut your potatoes up, so there's an eye on each piece; allow them to harden off; then, plant them in your garden. If you're growing varieties that you love, this is a great way to keep them going year after year, without added expense.

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