It is the season of greens, root vegetables and winter squash. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a great deal on potatoes at the Farmers’ Market or grocery store in the coming weeks. Mature potatoes (the kind you find in the fall) are well-known for their long shelf lives, making them ideal to keep on hand for soups, casseroles and baked potatoes.
In keeping with my “how to store XX food” trend, let’s discuss the best way to store potatoes.
In the dark. Sunlight causes potatoes to take on a greenish color. Green potatoes not only taste bitter, but can also be toxic. So keep them in the dark, and cut off any green parts before you cook!
In a cool pantry, entryway, basement or garage. Ideally, potatoes should be kept between 45 and 50F. Refrigerator temperatures are usually lower than this, and these cooler temperatures make the starch break down into sugars. But if they are stored in too warm of an area (like room temperature), the potatoes will more quickly sprout and decay. So choose an area of your home that is cooler or less insulated to store your potatoes.
Unwashed. A thin layer of dirt actually helps protect the potatoes from bruising and therefore from decay.
In a humid but well-ventilated area. A humid environment will keep the potatoes from drying out and shrinking. Ventilation will allow the potatoes to “breath” and slow down decay. Studies at the University of Idaho have shown that plastic produce bags with holes in the sides are a great cheap and easy option. The bags allow just enough fresh air in while still preventing the potatoes from drying out. Do not use airtight containers.
Away from onions. Both potatoes and onions release gases in storage that causes the other to go bad.
What food do you want to know how to store?
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