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Why You Should Never Store Potatoes in the Fridge

If there’s one vegetable we can all stock up on, it’s potatoes. From classic russet potatoes to sweet potatoes, these vegetables come in many equally delicious varieties. Apart from that, potatoes are the ultimate do-it-all vegetable. But we don’t need to tell you that, you surely have a handful of favorite recipes that include potatoes already.

Possibly best of all, though, a bag of potatoes will stay fresh for months - if stored properly, of course. So you can definitely buy them in bulk and let potatoes be your ultimate fallback when the fridge is empty but you’ve got dinner to cook. But how can you prevent potatoes from spoiling in just a week? Follow these storage tips!

How long can you store potatoes?

potato storage tips red and yellow potatoes in a box

Potatoes don’t have a set expiration date. It is determined by how you store them. A fresh bag of potatoes can be safely consumed anywhere from several weeks to many months, depending on the storage conditions. Potatoes stored at higher temperatures (above 55°F or 13°C), for example, tend to spoil more quickly than those kept in the cold, but more on that later.

How do you know if a potato has gone bad?

It’s usually super easy to determine a potato that’s gone off. On one hand, spoiled potatoes can develop soft brown spots, and they smell terrible. On the other hand, overly dry potatoes look wrinkled and feel soft to the touch. Lastly, green spots or sprouts also indicate that a potato is past its prime.

Related Article: Sprouted Potatoes - Can They Be Safely Used in Cooking?

How do you choose potatoes at the store?

When you purchase a bag of potatoes at the supermarket or the farmer’s market, it’s important to pick the freshest ones. If you purchase potatoes that have already been in questionable storage for months, they won’t last you more than a few weeks, if that. So the first step of optimal potato storage actually starts at the store:
  • Look for tubers that are free of shovel damage, blemishes, signs of pest damage, and soft spots.
  • The skin should be firm and plump, with no green coloring.
potato storage tips potatoes in netted bags

How do you extend the storage time of potatoes?

Follow these simple rules, and your potatoes will last you for months.

1. Check potatoes before you put them into storage. Any potatoes with cuts or any other minimal imperfections should be used up quickly. Only fresh and healthy-looking potatoes are good for extended storage.

2. Avoid washing potatoes right away. Washing potatoes will make them spoil faster, so only wash potatoes right before using them.

3. Store potatoes in a basket or netted bag. A plastic bag is the worst way to store potatoes because it traps moisture and promotes sprouting or spoiling. In order to keep the potatoes as fresh as possible, keep them in the netted bag they come in or put them in a well-ventilated basket or even a paper bag. Air circulation is key for long-term storage.

potato storage tips yams

4. The cooler and darker, the better. Potatoes grow in a dark and cold environment, and you should keep them in the same conditions if your goal is to store them for a long time. According to The Kitchn, the optimal temperature for storing potatoes is 45-55°F (8-13°C), so an unheated part of your basement or a garage is usually a good choice.

Warm or humid conditions will make potatoes sprout or go off. But even if the only place you can store potatoes is in your kitchen, we recommend that you choose the coldest and darkest location possible. A pantry or a closet are all good options, as long as they’re not near a stove or any other heat source.

5. Sort potatoes on a regular basis. Every time you’re cooking with potatoes, develop the habit of removing the ones that feel soft or started sprouting. This way, the spoiled potatoes don’t cause a chain reaction and the rest of the tubers don’t go bad.

potato storage tips potatoes in a mesh bag

6. Never put potatoes in the refrigerator. Temperatures below 45°F (8°C) will change the molecular structure of potatoes. Yes, you read that right. The starches in the potatoes will start transforming into sugars, and the resulting potato will have a mushy and much-too-sweet taste. So even if your kitchen is way too warm for perfect storage, avoid putting tubers into the fridge.

7. Don’t mix potatoes with other fruits and vegetables. You may have heard that it’s good to store potatoes next to onions or apples because they absorb moisture. This is simply untrue. What’s more, both onions and apples (along with other fruits like avocados, bananas, and pears) produce ethylene gas, which speeds up the ripening process of all nearby produce. So don’t be surprised if potatoes start sprouting or going bad very quickly if you store them next to ethylene-producing fruits and vegetables. To extend the shelf life of your potatoes, keep them away from other fresh produce.

That’s all you need to know to extend the shelf life of potatoes! Under these conditions, your potatoes will last you for several months.

Share these useful tips with family and friends!

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