Due to their versatile nature, potatoes can be used to make all types of dishes. They are a favorite for people from all cultures across the world.
Potatoes not only supply you with carbohydrates and fiber but are also a rich source of potassium. Some people love them mashed while others prefer to bake them.
Given that you will need a constant supply of potatoes throughout the year, you must store them properly. This will not just prevent waste but will also extend the shelf-life of the potatoes.
In this write-up, we discuss the best way to store potatoes to stop them from spoiling before you use them. Read on for detailed information:
1. Keep Raw Potatoes in a Cool Place
The temperature at which you store potatoes will determine how long they will remain fresh. To prevent the potatoes from spoiling, store them at a temperature of 6°C (43°F) to 10°C (50°).
At that temperature, potatoes will remain fresh for months. The temperature in the refrigerator is colder than this.
Places where you will find this ideal temperature is in sheds, garages, basements, and cellars.
At this temperature, it is impossible for potatoes to form sprouts. Usually, when shoots appear, it is clear that the potatoes are getting spoiled.
In one study, it was established that storing potatoes at these ideal temperatures can extend their shelf life by more than four times.
Not so for those who save them at room temperature. When stored at lower temperatures, the vitamin C in the potatoes remains intact.
In another study, storing potatoes at cold temperatures was found to have the effect of preserving the vitamin C content by up to 90 percent.
However, when stored in warmer temperatures, potatoes lose their vitamin C content by at least 20 percent.
Simple and clear. Keep your raw potatoes at a temperature slightly more than that in the refrigerator, and you will not just extend the shelf life, but you will also keep the vitamin C content intact.
Anything below or above the ideal temperature, the potatoes will spoil after a brief time. This is the best way to store potatoes in their raw form.
2. Store Raw Potatoes in A Dark Place
When the light of any form hits the skin of potatoes, it triggers the production of chlorophyll, thus turning them green.
It doesn’t matter if it is fluorescent light or sunlight. The surfaces of the potatoes turning green is not a big issue.
However, when overexposed sunlight, potatoes produce solanine, a toxic chemical.
Thus you could be forced to throw away the potatoes due to the high levels of solanine.
Potatoes with high amounts of solanine are bitter and may make your mouth or throat get a burning sensation if you are sensitive to the chemical.
When consumed by humans in large amounts, solanine can be toxic resulting in diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
In a few cases, death is also likely to occur. But you don’t have to eat potatoes with high solanine content.
You can quickly get rid of it by peeling off the upper 1/8th-inch of the outer peel of the green-looking potatoes.
3. Avoid Storing Raw Potatoes in the Freezer or Fridge
The best way to store potatoes is in cold temperatures but not in a freezer or refrigerator. At shallow temperatures, potatoes tend to sweeten due to the cold.
At freezing temperature, some of the starch in the potatoes is turned into reducing sugars.
The issue with lowering sugars is that they are a precursor to carcinogenic substances called acrylamides formed when potatoes are cooked at high temperatures.
To ensure that the reducing sugars remain at low levels, you should avoid freezing or refrigerating the potatoes.
But there are other reasons you shouldn’t store uncooked potatoes in the freezer or refrigerator. When frozen, the water in the potatoes expands to form crystals, which break down the structure of the cell wall.
Upon defrosting, the potatoes will turn out mushy and virtually unusable. The air in the freezer may also make the potatoes turn brown. After all, freezing does not in any way inhibit the actions of the browning enzymes.
When should you store potatoes in a freezer? First, you should cook the potatoes. Partial or full cooking is enough.
Upon baking, the browning enzymes are deactivated thus making it impossible for the potatoes to take on a brown color.
4. Store Raw Potatoes in Ventilated Bags or Boxes
To extend the shelf life of your potatoes, put them inside airy bags, boxes or containers, and store in a cold dark basement.
You may use anything from perforated brown bags to cardboard boxes. This storage method can guarantee that your potatoes will remain fresh for between 4 and six months.
If you have some brown bags, you can perforate them using a paper punch. Make sure that the distribution of the holes is as even as possible.
This will allow for the air to circulate from one end to the other, once you put the potatoes inside. You may secure the opening of the brown bags by folding it down.
Pick a dark, cold, and dry place and store your potatoes there. The alternative is a cardboard box. Only that you should maintain proper ventilation by adequately perforating it.
5. Wrap Raw Potatoes in a Newspaper
This is perhaps the best way to store potatoes for people who live in places with hot and humid climates.
When stored in newspapers, potatoes can breathe. The papers also insulate potatoes from the effects of the warm temperature in the surroundings.
Thus the potatoes can remain in good condition for between 6 and eight months.
In each sheet of newspaper, you can store some 4 to 5 medium-sized potatoes. To prevent bruising, wrap small batches of potatoes in a paper.
You can then keep the potatoes in a cold, dry, and dark place such as the basement or cellar.
You may also want to put the potatoes you have just wrapped in newspapers into a plastic container. If you have a lot of potatoes to store, an old laundry basket is good enough.
You can then place the plastic bucket in a cold, dry, and dark basement.
6. Avoid Washing before Storing
Potatoes will come with all sorts of dirt, given that they are grown in the ground. It is easy to understand why you would want to clean off the dust before storing. But they won’t last longe.
When you wash potatoes, you add moisture onto them. This encourages bacteria and fungus to grow.
The best time to boil potatoes is just before you use them. You can use a vegetable brush to scrub them and remove all the dirt and pesticides that could be lingering thereon.
7. Keep Raw Potatoes from Other Produce
The best way to store potatoes is away from other vegetables and fruits. As they ripen, a lot of fruits and vegetables tend to release ethylene gas. This is what softens the fruit and increases its sugar content.
If you store potatoes close to fruits and vegetables, the ethylene produced is likely to soften and increase their sugar content.
The biggest culprits include tomatoes, onions, apples, and bananas, which tend to release ethylene in large amounts.
If you are storing potatoes and these fruits in the same room, keep each of them on opposite ends of the floor.
8. Before Storing Homegrown Potatoes, Cure Them
It is not always true that you will buy your potatoes from your local market. If you grow your potatoes, you have to cure them first before storing. That’s the only way to ensure that the shelf life is tremendously extended.
To cure your potatoes, start by storing them at high temperatures of about 18°C (65°F) and 85 to 95 percent humidity for some two weeks.
You may want to use a space heater or a slightly open oven in a small dark closet. Place a bowl of water in the closet to maintain the right levels of humidity.
The purpose of curing potatoes is to allow the skins to thicken and get any slight injuries healed. This reduces the likelihood of the potatoes decaying while still in storage.
Once the potatoes are cured, you should keep them in a cold, dry, and dark place. You can be sure of having fresh potatoes for a long time to come.
9. Store Slices of Diced In Fresh Water for One Day
Exposing peeled potatoes to air can make them discolored and somewhat brown.
Raw potatoes contain the enzyme polyphenol oxidase, which undergoes oxidation when exposed to air. The effect is the flesh of the peeled potatoes turning brown.
To prevent discoloration, cover the peeled potatoes in at least 1 inch of water. Keep them in a refrigerator until the time when you will need to use them.
The water prevents the oxidation of enzymes in the potatoes, thus stopping the browning process.
Don’t leave the potatoes in the water for more than 24 hours. They could end up absorbing too much water so that they become not only soggy but also tasteless.
This is the best way to store potatoes you intend to cook in less than 24 hours. To store peeled raw potatoes for longer, vacuum packing is the best technique.
First, remove air from the container and then tightly seal it. That way, you can keep potatoes for up to 1 week.
10. Refrigerate Cooked Potatoes for a Couple of Days
This is perhaps the best way to store potatoes in their cooked form. Refrigerating potatoes for 3 to 4 days is enough.
Only that you could end up with a gummy or watery affair due to the changing shape of the potato starches.
Refrigerating after cooking is also known to lead to resistant start, a carbohydrate type that cannot be digested or absorbed by humans.
If you have blood sugar issues, refrigerating cooked potatoes can be beneficial to you, given that this method decreases the food’s glycemic index by up to 25 percent.
Eating these potatoes don’t lead to such a massive spike in the blood sugar levels.
Did you know that resistant starch is also high for the maintenance of good gut health? Gut bacteria helps ferment it leading to the production of short-chain fatty acids.
This helps maintain the health of the lining of the large intestines.
While refrigerating cooked potatoes is the best method to store them, it shouldn’t be done for more than four days. To avoid possible food poisoning and spoilage, the frozen potatoes should be consumed within a few days.
11. Freezing Cooked Potatoes for At Most One Year
You are likely to be planning to eat your cooked potatoes for the next few days. To give them longevity, store the potatoes in the freezer.
While in the fridge, baked potatoes are not prone to any form of browning. During the cooking process, the enzymes that cause discoloration are destroyed.
Freezing potatoes increases their shelf life by up to one year so long as there are stored in an airtight container. Put the potatoes in a storage container or plastic bag.
Before sealing, press out all the air. According to research findings, you can store frozen cooked potatoes for at most one year without significantly compromising quality.
Before you remove and eat the potatoes, first keep them in the refrigerator overnight so that they can defrost.
To prepare the potatoes for eating, heat and serve. Defrosting in a fridge gives the potatoes a better texture than when dome in a microwave.
To extend their shelf life, you have to know the best way to store potatoes. From the preceding discussion, uncooked potatoes should be stored in a cold, dry, and dark place.
Only make sure that the air circulation is adequate. Storing raw potatoes in a refrigerator is a no-no. Peeled and sliced potatoes are prone to browning and so should be covered in water and stored for up to 24 hours.
The alternative method is vacuum sealing, which should be used to store the potatoes for longer. If you are dealing with cooked potatoes, you may want to refrigerate them for up to 24 hours.
However, you may increase their shelf life by putting them in an airtight container before freezing for a whole year.