All over the world, potatoes are known as a staple food. Some say that the potato is simply a filler with no nutrients, but they are wrong. Potatoes are actually full of essential nutrients like carbs, fiber, Vitamins C and B6, and minerals like potassium and magnesium.
You may also be surprised to know that when potatoes are stored the wrong way, the vitamins will deplete, and the potato will rot faster than usual. Not to mention that it is a waste of your potatoes. Keep reading to learn how to store potatoes properly, extend their life in your kitchen, and enjoy them longer with all the vitamins included.
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How You Can Properly Store Potatoes:
There are various ways of properly storing potatoes, depending on how long you want to store potatoes or depending on how much space you have to store them. Let’s talk about all the ways you can store potatoes.
1. Storing Potatoes in A Cooler, Dry Place
The best way to store potatoes is to keep them unpeeled in a cool, dry, and dark place without any moisture. The ideal temperature for storing potatoes is 43-50°F. This delays any sprouting and spoiling. For the longest life, you should store potatoes in your basement, cold cellar, or even your garage. You should never store them in the fridge because there is too much moisture.
Plants use sunlight to grow. In the same way, if stored potatoes are exposed to light, they will produce chlorophyll, and the color will change to green. Long-term exposure to sunlight can cause the potatoes to develop a toxic chemical known as solanine.
This increases shelf life from weeks to months. Additionally, storing potatoes at the ideal temperature will preserve the vitamin content and flavor of the potatoes, which is the biggest reason that you properly store potatoes.
2. Store Potatoes in Open Bowl without Washing
Moisture is usually the cause of spoiled potatoes. When storing potatoes, try to keep them dry because the moisture will invade, bringing bacteria and fungus with it. Don’t worry about washing them before storage. You can do that before you cook them.
Don’t make the mistake of storing potatoes in a container or and Ziploc bags. As stated, a closed package will induce moisture and which in turn leads to spoilage. Airflow will prevent moisture accumulation and increase the shelf life of potatoes. You should store the potatoes in open bowls or zipper bags in a dark place to keep them fresh and last longer.
3. Storing Potatoes In Water
It may seem odd, but you can store raw potatoes in the water. However, this is not a good way to store them for the long term. This is only good for a couple of days, not for weeks or months.
You have likely noticed that potatoes discolor very quickly after you peel and slice them. This is because an enzyme in the potato, called polyphenol oxidase, reacts with the oxygen to turn the color brown.
Storing potatoes in the water will prevent this, but only for a day or two. But after one day, they will absorb water and turn tasteless. You can use this technique when you want the potatoes to cook tonight or tomorrow, but not for longer.
4. Store Mashed Potatoes by Vacuum Sealing
The benefit of vacuum sealing is the long-term storage of about one week. You can vacuum seal raw potato slices, cooked potatoes, mashed potatoes, or even fries. But, it is best to avoid vacuum sealing of raw potatoes, since the moisture inside will spoil the whole potato.
Then how can you preserve potatoes? You can preserve the mashed or cooked potatoes with a vacuum sealer. Use this procedure when you want to store the mashed potato:
- Prepare your desired dish of mashed potato.
- Turn them into patties, like small flat cakes.
- Freeze the patties on a cooking sheet.
- Use a vacuum sealer to seal air from the frozen patties.
By this method, your potatoes will be fresh for about a week, and you can enjoy the taste and nutrients of potatoes in your favorite dishes. Plus, you can freeze it to save it for even longer.
How Long Can Potatoes Be Stored?
Potatoes can be stored for a much longer time than other vegetables. But this is only if you store them properly and in the right conditions. Otherwise, the potatoes will start rotting and could become a hazard.
Potatoes may become mushy and can transfer diseases when you eat these infected ones. Even you can become unconscious by inhaling the smell of rotting potatoes. But if you store potatoes in a cool and dark place, they can even go long for about two to six months.
Your major purpose in storing potatoes is to have them on hand whenever you want. Storing them also saves you from the hassle of having to buy them so often.
How Can You Tell If A Potato Has Gone Bad?
Whether it’s mishandling or improper conditions, potatoes can rot or spoil. It’s natural for potatoes to sprout when they’ve found moisture or sunlight. Here’s how to tell if your potatoes have gone bad:
- Has dark spots/eyes on the skin
- It’s super soft or mushy
- Has wrinkles or sprouts
- Has a foul odor
If your potatoes have any of these signs, you should throw them out immediately. Not only will they taste bad, but they’re also not good for your health, either.
Mistakes To Avoid When Storing Potatoes
There are a few mistakes you can make while storing potatoes. But for the sake of making sure you can store potatoes and keep them for a long time, here are some of the most common mistakes that you must avoid when storing potatoes.
- Don’t wash the potatoes for storage.
- Store them in an open place, not in closed bags.
- Don’t store them in sunlight.
- Don’t store raw/cooked potatoes in the freezer.
- Cure homegrown potatoes before storage.
- Don’t store potatoes with other fruits and vegetables.