Options for Storing
Potatoes at Home
> I have looked through your website and have a question
for which I was unable to find an answer. >How should potatoes be stored
in the home, and what is the expected storage life of a potato?
If you don't have a root
cellar or an extra refrigerator, spuds will keep fairly well in a cool
basement or garage. You must protect them from freezing and keep them out
of the light so they don't turn green. Green potatoes are not good to eat
because they may contain solanine that can be toxic in high quantities.
If stored at warmer temperatures, they will sprout sooner. Stored at temperatures
cooler than 45F some varieties such as Russet Burbank convert starch into
sugars and that will cause the potatoes to "fry dark". This means at the
high temperatures used in deep-frying the sugars caramelize and the french
fries look burned. These are OK to eat but the appearance is not good and
they tend to absorb more oil. However, if you are baking, boiling, or microwaving
these spuds you probably won't be able to taste the "cold sweetening".
And in fact, if you are not making french fries you can store potatoes in
your kitchen refrigerator.
> We are in Ohio and find that stored in the kitchen, the potatoes
have a tendency to sprout rather >quickly. If you could suggest
what optimal storage conditions are, I would be grateful.
> Thank you, > RC
Potatoes store better if you don't wash them. They should be dry and
free of debris. For in-home storage, a root cellar is preferable but an
"extra" refrigerator set at slightly higher temperature than normal would
be excellent. Ideal storage conditions for Russet Burbank are 45 F (7.2
C) and 95% relative humidity. You should be able to increase the humidity
in a refrigerator with open pans of water. High humidity will decrease shrinkage
and keep the potatoes nice and firm. Since potatoes are living organisms
they "respire" or produce carbon dioxide so allow some air circulation around
your potatoes and open the door often. Potatoes sealed in a container without
adequate fresh air will become more susceptible to soft rot.
Now, eat your potatoes! Don't try to keep them too long since they will
begin sprouting 60-120 days after harvest or sooner depending on the variety
and storage temperature.
> Due to extremely cold weather, our potatoes froze in their
Must they be discarded or can they be salvaged in some way?
Sorry to say but
your potatoes won't be any good after freezing.
is a big problem in potatoes. Do yourself a favor and
while they are still frozen or you will have a big
>What chemicals and what are the proper application methods
for a home
to use to prevent sprouting in stored produce?
There is no
chemical licensed for home use on potato
However, potatoes have a natural dormancy period
in which they do not sprout. This natural dormancy
period may last
from 35-175 days after harvest. The length of dormancy
depends on variety
and storage temperature. For example, Russet Burbank
dormancy is around
135 days when stored at 48F, 145 days at 45F and 175
days at 42F. So
you can successfully store potatoes at home for several
worrying about sprouting. Eat your potatoes early and often
and sprouting shouldn't
be much of a problem. At refrigerator temperature
will be even further delayed. However at those colder
will be converted to sugars and will result in "cold
and dark looking, caramelized french fries.