Storing and transport potatoes

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  • 15 November 2016

Some potatoes can become “sweet” when stored. Potatoes in storage may convert starch to sugar which is used in the tuber “breathing” process. The breathing process of potatoes stored in a cool place slows so that the starch converted to sugar is not used in full; the unused sugar will give the potatoes a sweet taste when cooked. To avoid a sweet taste, take the potatoes out of storage several days in advance of cooking so that the extra sugar can revert to starch—a process called “reconditioning.”

Storing Potatoes:

  • Sort out and cull injured and diseased spuds before storing them long-term.
  • Potatoes should be stored in a cool, but not cold, dry, dark environment, ideally around 45-50 degrees F  (7-10 degrees C).
  • Do not refrigerate them as they will turn sweet and change consistency, though this can be reverted by bringing them into warmer temperatures for a day or two. Potatoes do not tolerate frost.
  • Make sure they are kept in a very dark area, or cover the bins with newspaper or cardboard to keep all light out, to prevent them from turning green.
  • Don’t store potatoes together with onions as each vegetable produces gasses that will cause both of them to spoil.
  • Potatoes in optimum conditions will store for several months, even up to half a year or more.
  • Do not refrigerate potatoes; the air in a refrigerator is too dry for potatoes and can cause them to shrivel. Do not store potatoes with apples; picked apples expel ethylene gas which will cause potatoes to spoil.

Transport Potatoes

  • Potatoes can be stored in bins, baskets, cardboard boxes, etc., or even in paper sacks or mesh bags.
  • They do need good ventilation, so the container should be well perforated. Never store in air-tight containers. It is best not to pack them too tight, but keep some air flow around them to prevent rotting.

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