All You Need to Know About Storing Potatoes
Anyone who enjoys cooking eventually has to learn about storing potatoes. After all, the best vegetable, fruit, or tuber (in the case of the potato) is a fresh one. How fresh you keep your ingredients will determine, ultimately, how good your food tastes, so it is imperative to learn how to store potatoes and keep them usable. This article will educate you on how to store your potatoes so they stay fresh longer and add that great potato flavor to your next dish.
Why is storing potatoes important? Why can't you just put them anywhere? The reason is because a potato, as mentioned above, is a tuber. Tubers are living plants, just like a flower or a tree outside. It is capable of growing, sprouting, and spoiling, depending on how you keep it. You do not want it to do any of these things, so figuring out the best way to store potatoes is a must. A potato that spoils can quickly turn toxic, making it dangerous to consume. It is best that you do not let your potatoes get to this state.
Part of keeping potatoes from ruining is protecting them from excessive temperature. If your potato is too hot, then will either wilt or will begin to sprout and grow. If it is too cold, then the insides will lose their flavor and freeze. This is why you should not store them in direct sunlight, or in the refrigerator (the cold will convert the starch into sugar). If you want to keep them for a few weeks, then storing them at 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. At room temperature, they should last a week. Too much below or above those marks will ruin your tubers.
Many people will advise you to wash your potatoes before putting them away. This should not be done, however. If you wash your potato, it will be damp. Storing potatoes that are damp will inevitably cause the potato to rot away and decay, so wait until right before using them before you wash them. Also, while this may seem obvious to some, do not peel your potatoes before storage. Wait until you need to prepare them for cooking a meal before you peel them.
The best all-around location in a house for storing potatoes is in a root cellar. A cellar is dark, usually dry, and free from sunlight. Plus, with the right equipment you can control the temperature and humidity as to make the ideal storing conditions for your potatoes. If you do not have a cellar, then your cupboard, pantry, or kitchen cabinet will work – as long as the kitchen is not routinely frigid or scorching hot. Before putting them away, put your potatoes in a plastic bag with holes in it or a burlap sack (to allow air to circulate around them). Be careful that you do not store potatoes and onions together. These two foods will create gases in reaction to each other that will ruin both batches. So, store your onions elsewhere.
What should you look for when storing potatoes? First, check to make sure you do not store any green potatoes, or ones that have become shriveled. Next, ensure that your potatoes do not turn green or shriveled during the storage process. Third, constantly check for dampness, mildew, or other signs of rotting and get rid of those potatoes immediately.
Putting your potatoes into storage is not difficult, nor does it take a lot of time. Anyone who enjoys cooking fresh potatoes and using them in their meals should learn the best ways to store the potatoes, as listed above. If you do these things, then your potatoes will be mouth-wateringly fresh for some time.