Potato Storage – How To Store Potatoes At Home!

Certainly, potatoes are well cut off upon harvest. However, these vegetables continue to breathe and live anyway. When oxygen from the environment mixes with the sugars present in potatoes, they get respired from the roots. Storing potatoes in a dark, cool place decelerates hugely this unavoidable decomposition. Plus, it protects potatoes against sprouting and sweetens the roots. So, potato storage is important!

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When you store potatoes in areas warmer than the ideal temperature, they will begin to sprout. However, the colder temperature is not better either. When you keep potatoes at cold temperatures like in your refrigerator, the metabolism changes in a complex way that results in the breakdown of starches to sugars.

Meaning that potatoes stored in the fridge will taste sweeter with time. However, when you cook them, they are more likely to turn into an unappetizing brown shade. While you should not refrigerate potatoes, they will still stay longer when stored in a dark, cool place. The temperature should be somewhere around 50 degrees Fahrenheit with 90-95 percent humidity.

So, a perfect place can be a humidity- and temperature-controlled root cellar to store your potatoes. All you need to do is toss potatoes down there, along with some carrots, turnips, and onions. Your potatoes will be great for weeks, if not the entire winter season. Now, it is time to learn about some factors to successful potato storage!

Significant Factors to Successful Potato Storage

potato storage

The critical environmental factors involved in preserving potatoes and preventing usual potato diseases are humidity and temperature. Also, adequate unobstructed air movement is necessary for maintaining constant humidity and temperature across the pile and for preventing extreme shrinkage from decay and moisture loss.

So, here are some factors that need to be considered if you are wondering how to preserve potatoes:

Control Temperature

Low temperatures can improve sugar formation. If you maintain storage temperature below 45 degrees for longer, amassed sugars do not reconvert readily to starch. Reducing sugarconcentrations can result in unenviably darkened fries and chips. Some varieties overhaul better from a low temperature than the rest.

Generally, the optimum storage temperature to process potatoes is 45 degrees approximately for a long time. The storage temperature is 40 degrees to store fresh market potatoes. One can store seed potatoes at lower temperatures, such as 38-40 degrees, for effective sprout control and weight loss.

Raise the storage temperature prior to removal. This is because cold potatoes may easily shatter or bruise during handling. Plus, they are brittle. Before you remove them from storage, you need to raise the temperature to somewhere around 50-55 degrees.  Sometimes, this can be done by eradicating ventilation. This enables the heat to accumulate from tuber respiration. However, forced ventilation of warmer air and heaters are necessary more frequently.

Heal Wounds

Cuts and bruising can happen during handling and harvest. It is critical to healing wounds for minimizing the entry points for menacing organisms of diseases. At the initial storage phase, the temperature is quite critical as healing advances rapidly at 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit temperature. For achieving wound healing, this temperature and high humidity facilitate the suberin layer formation in 3-5 days. Complete wound healthy or cell regeneration happens beneath this layer within 10-20 days based on the potatoes’ condition.

When you place potatoes in storage, fast cooling results in more ever-threatening organisms in tubers. This is because the entry points stay unhealed. Also, rapid cooling without sufficient air can result in potato damage and blackspot.

Stop the Growth of Disease Organisms

The population of most potato disease organisms elevates when the temperature is somewhere between 40 degrees and 80 degrees. Low temperatures reduce the chances of disease incidence throughout storage. As many potato storage diseases usually take place in the soil, they get transported to storage with tubers. Thus, it is important to heal the exposed areas for minimizing pathogen penetration. Not just that, but it is also important to lower temperatures after storage to reduce disease spread within the infected tubers.

So, it is significant to employ careful handling and harvesting techniques for minimizing cutting, skinning, and bruising. If field frost harm or diseases are apparent, then rapid temperature lowering without the curing and healing period may be significant for preventing breakdown. However, you should not store damaged potatoes for a long time.

Avoid Sprouting and Respiration

Like living organisms, potato tubers react and respiration surges when the temperature increases. If respiration rises, then the tuber loses weight. Also, lower temperatures maintain dormancy. That’s why temperatures should be lower without falling quality otherwise. For longer storage periods encompassing 3-5 months, based on the potato variety, sprout inhibitors can be used for potatoes but not the seed.

Air Movement and Humidity

You need to maintain a 95-percent relative humidity all the time. It is essential to have high humidity for optimal wound healing throughout the curing period. Also, high humidity is important throughout storage for minimizing weight loss in tubers. If the relative humidity goes down below 90 percent, tuber weight loss increases rapidly.

During the curing time, air movement is not much necessary. This is because the moisture and heat produced by potatoes can provide an ideal environment for healing wounds. However, you should not allow the formation of condensation during storage. If that happens, then it is necessary to have proper air circulation.

Afterward, air movement is necessary for maintaining wanted humidity and temperature throughout the pile. Also, this may need passing humidified air, refrigerated, or heated air across the storage pile.

Usually, air per ton of potatoes between 10 cfm to 20 cfm is optimum. However, the precise amount basically depends on the outside air’s temperature that’s being brought it. Also, warmer temperatures need more air.

Maintaining uniform humidity and temperature is the main role of air movement. Sporadic air movement can perform this task too. The point is to carry out accurate, continual monitoring. Clods and dirt are issues that can affect the air movement seriously across the pile. They form a barrier that can slow down the movement of air and prevent air from getting into some areas. So, remove them immediately before you store your potatoes.

Important Tips for Potato Storage

potato storage

If you do not have a cellar, then the following tips can help you with potato storage. As a result, you get sweet, dry, and happy taters!

Potato Storage Begins at Stores

When you buy potatoes, look for the ones that do not have any bruises or cuts. These potatoes spoil quickly than others. Buy potatoes that have smooth skin. Also, the ones having shallow and few eyes.

Do Not Wash Them Yet

There is no need to wash your just-bought potatoes as soon as you arrive home. Do not do this. This is because the dirt that you see on potatoes protect them and keep them from spoiling prematurely.

Keep Them in Cool Places

You should store potatoes between 45 degrees and 55 degrees Fahrenheit. However, you should never keep them in your refrigerator. If you store them below 41 degrees Fahrenheit, then starch will convert into sugar. This creates a bit of sweet taste and affects cooking performance. The average temperature of a refrigerator is 35 degrees Fahrenheit.

Also, if you keep potatoes above 55 degrees Fahrenheit, they are going to dehydrate quickly. You should remember that potatoes are around 80 percent water. The ideal storage space for potatoes is a cellar. In case, there is no cellar, then cupboards away from the heat sources like oven can work.

Storage Technique is Key

It is fine if you store potatoes in a retail bag. However, they can hold up better if you get rid of the bag. Place potatoes in a well-ventilated bowl or basket. This can allow them to breathe.

Keep Them Away from Light

As they are living organisms, potatoes can reproduce themselves. Excess light like indoor light or sunlight can wake up potatoes. As a result, the skin of potatoes turns greenish. This is quite normal. However, the green skin gives them a bitter flavor. They are safe to eat. All you need to do is to peel off this green part and cook as you like.

Keep Them Separately 

It is better to keep potatoes separately from onions. This is because onions emit ethylene gas. The gas hastens the ripening of potatoes. So, keep onions away!

Look for Sprouts

Sometimes, potatoes start sprouting from the tiny eye indentations, which is quite normal. If this happens, then pick them off and your potatoes are all set to be cooked.

Handle Them with Care

Although potatoes look tough, you should treat them gently. Otherwise, rough handling can cause cracking and bruising.

Also, watch this video to learn more about storing potatoes at home.

Conclusion

So, this is how you can store your potatoes effectively. Keep the significant factors in mind when it comes to potato storage. Also, if you are wondering why your potatoesspoil at home, then keep the above-mentioned potato storage tips in mind. So, it is easy to store your potatoes without even a cellar. If you still have queries, then do not hesitate to post them in the comment section.

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