If you notice that your potatoes seem to be sprouting or getting mushy before you have a chance to use them, maybe they have been stored improperly.
Properly storing your potatoes can have a significant impact on their shelf life. If stored in the appropriate conditions potatoes can last for weeks. Purchasing in quantities of “as needed” is the best method to avoid any waste, but if you do happen to have extras, here are some suggestions to elongate their shelf life.
If you are planning on using your potatoes within a week, leaving them in the hole-punched plastic bag they come in is fine, as long as they have air circulation. Making sure potatoes have access to sufficient air is fundamental to their shelf life as they are still alive, releasing carbon dioxide, even after being picked. When potatoes don’t have enough air circulation, the carbon dioxide they release causes them to decay. Transferring your potatoes into a cardboard box will guarantee they have enough air to breathe.
Light and temperature also have a significant impact on how long potatoes last in storage. Potatoes need a dark, cool environment to avoid greening, sprouting and decay. Potatoes stored in too much light may turn green. This shows the presence of solanine, which is bitter and can be toxic if eaten in quantity. Remove any green portions before cooking. The fridge may seem like an ideal location for storing potatoes, but a fridge’s temperature is a little too cold, as well as a little too humid. Too much moisture will accelerate rotting in potatoes and turn them mushy. A dark spot in the basement would be ideal for storing potatoes.
When storing your potatoes, separate any that have areas where the skin is broken to be used first. Potatoes with breaks in their skin will still not last very long even if stored properly and they can cause the others to rot as well. It is fine to use potatoes that have small sprouts, because they can easily be cut out, but when potatoes have large sprouts they may be bitter and should not be used.
Potatoes typically come in large quantities and when you only need a few, the excess often end up going to waste before you are able to use them. By taking a few minutes to properly store your potatoes you will ensure that they will have a longer shelf life, which will potentially reduce any waste.