Potatoes are one of the staple foods in America and in many other countries. Since they are consumed in so many different ways, these edible tubers--also known as Solanum tuberosum--are cultivated in various parts of America. However, the shelf life of potatoes after they are harvested and kept at room temperature is barely a few weeks. Therefore, it is very important that potatoes are stored in a proper manner. When they are not stored properly, they start sprouting, which can be harmful when eaten.
Store at Home
When you purchase or harvest potatoes, you have to store them appropriately. Potatoes consist of a considerably longer shelf life than other vegetables. But, if they are not stored appropriately they begin to sprout, dry out, or get damaged in a few weeks.
With the right storage, potatoes can actually last a few months. There are seasonal changes which can also affect their storage, so you need to be a little careful in the winter and spring.
- The main ingredient of potatoes is starch which gives it its taste and color. But if these tubers are not stored well, the starch begins to break down, diminishing the nutrition value. Keep them in dark places with a low temperature and good air flow.
- The temperature used to store potatoes for a longer duration can be about 4 degrees C, and 7 to 10 degrees C for a short term. However, when these temperatures are lower than 4 degrees C, the starch converts to sugar which in turn alters the taste.
- Also remember that the best way to store potatoes is to keep them away from light. So, when you store them at home, make sure you keep them in dark places, cover them, or simply keep them in a box with air holes. Their nutrition and taste diminish with light.
- Store them in paper sacks with either open necks or air holes. You can use this in the winter, because paper sacks keep moisture away. Keep checking the potatoes, as they might end up rotting if any moisture enters the bag.
- Do not refrigerate raw potatoes, since they "sugar" and lose flavor. To freeze potatoes, you will first have to cook them. Place them in airtight bags and then put them in the freezer. You can recook them whenever desired.
You can try these methods to keep the potatoes away from damage and sprouts for as long as possible.