How to store potatoes, potatoes are generally harvested once a year, two in very mild climate areas. Fortunately, they can be kept for a long time, so that they are practically always available. Being one of the most loved and used vegetables in the kitchen, it is very useful to have potatoes all year round.
We must pay close attention to how to best preserve these tubers: incorrect storage can not only cause the vegetables to perish and sprout the tubers but also make the potatoes toxic, due to solanine.
Here are some useful tips to find the right place to keep the potato crop, controlling light, ventilation, and temperatures to make them last as long as possible. We also see some alternative possibilities for keeping this vegetable, from drying to freezing.
Where to store potatoes
It is not difficult to find the right place to preserve potatoes, let’s see the characteristics necessary to preserve them.
Containers or cassettes. Potatoes are best preserved by placing them in a wooden or plastic box (as long as it has openings), not too squashed together. The walls and top should be covered with fabric or newspaper to prevent light from hitting the tuber.
Ventilated environment. Air recirculation is essential for the preservation of potatoes because it prevents the formation of mold and rot.
Controlled humidity. If you keep the potatoes in a very dry environment they end up withering, losing quality. Excessive humidity is even worse because it causes tuber rot or early sprouting. A good humidity value is 70/80%. A home hygrometer capable of measuring these data costs a few euros and can be useful to know if your cellar is a suitable place to keep potatoes or not.
Keep the potatoes in the shade. Potatoes fear the light, which causes the tubers to turn green. Green is chlorophyll, it indicates an exposure of the tuber to the sun or to another source of light, where there are these patches, solanine has formed, a natural toxin that when concentrated makes the tuber inedible. If you notice green spots, you have to cut the affected part of the potato.
The right temperature for storage
Avoid too high temperatures. In the place of storage, it is better to keep temperatures below ten degrees. A rise in temperature can be interpreted by tubers as the advent of spring, a propitious time to sprout. The potato sprouts are not edible and must be removed.
Beware of frosts. The potato freezes at minus three degrees, once frozen it is no longer edible, in any case, you should never expose the potatoes to temperatures below four degrees. Particular attention must be paid to controlling the minimum temperatures if you store the potatoes in cupboards placed outside or in slightly heated cellars.
Do not keep potatoes in the refrigerator
Potatoes need a cool but not excessively cold place. The effect of the cold is to transform starches into sugars, aesthetically manifested in dark patches. This change worsens not only the aesthetic appearance but also the taste of the potato which becomes sweetish. Furthermore, the presence of excess sugars causes the formation of acrylamide during cooking (in particular frying), a toxic substance as a mutagen, potentially carcinogenic.
Store the potatoes from the garden
If the potatoes have been grown in the garden after harvesting, they must be left to dry, naturally in the dark. Once dry they must be cleaned of the earth before being put away in the boxes. For those interested in the discussion related to cultivation, I recommend an in-depth study on how to grow potatoes.
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How to prevent potatoes from sprouting
Potatoes are annual plants, with the arrival of spring a tendency to sprout is inevitable. The conditions in which they are stored can make them germinate ahead of time, in particular temperatures that are too high (above 10 degrees) facilitate the formation of sprouts. The ideal is to have a place at 8 degrees. If the sprout is formed, it is important that it be detached before it develops, so that it does not spoil the quality of the whole potato. It is therefore necessary to check the tubers often to avoid too pronounced germination.
Which potatoes keep best
There are many varieties of potatoes, each with its own peculiarities and different characteristics. In general, we can know that the earlier a potato is, the easier it is to sprout. For this, we can say that late varieties such as Kennebec, Desireè, Bafana, Majestic, Michelle, and Mozart are better preserved.
How to freeze potatoes
Potatoes cannot be frozen from raw. If you want to freeze you have to cook them. They can then be cooked in a pan, in the oven, steamed, or boiled. Once the potatoes have cooled, they can be frozen without any problem.
Dry the potatoes
The dryer is useful for storing potatoes for a long time. Dried potato flour can be used in soups or to make a puree, dried potatoes can also be used in vegetable cubes.
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