All About Potatoes: Shelf Life and Storing Techniques
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, people were urged to buy bulks of food to store to avoid human contact and virus transmission. But it created an issue of food waste because of molds, spoilage, and rot. There are different storage techniques for every food product. It’s essential to know these techniques to extend the food’s shelf life, as the humble potato. The root crop requires different techniques for different conditions. How long do potatoes last? Below are the things you need to remember about the shelf life of potatoes and quick tips for storing them.
It’s Shelf Life
Temperature is important in storing potatoes. For example, a fresh potato can stay for 1-2 weeks when properly stored at room temperature. It can last for 2-3 months at a cool temperature of around 50 ℉ or 10 ℃, 3-6 months at the basement or in-ground root cellar, and up to 1 month in the fridge.
Cut potatoes soaked in water can only last 24 hours in the fridge. Meanwhile, cooked potatoes can stay less than two days at room temperature, 3-4 days in a refrigerator, and 6 to 8 months in the freezer. Lastly, an instant potato has the longest possible shelf life of less than a year at room temperature, 1-30 years in both cool and basement or ground root, 4-5 days inside the refrigerator, and almost indefinitely in the freezer.
01. In a Cool, Dark Place
For longer shelf life, potatoes need the optimal temperature, which is 40-45 degrees Fahrenheit. For fresh potatoes, there are just a few reminders when you want to store them. First, consider the light and ventilation of the place you want to keep your potato. Remember that it should be dark and well-ventilated. When light enters the storage area, the toxic chemical solanine will affect the potatoes and can cause nausea to the person who will consume them.
It is also better to keep the dirt instead of rinsing them to avoid it from quick rotting. Keeping the potatoes dry will give you at least two weeks of shelf life when properly stored. A potato can last for 3-6 months in an in-ground root cellar or basement, especially when stored in a dark and cool environment.
02. Avoid Storing Fresh Potatoes in Cold Storages
You should not put fresh potatoes in a refrigerator as much as possible because this will quickly turn the potatoes’ starch into sugar. Though this will make your potato taste sweet when cooked, it will hasten the potato to lose its freshness.
However, the opposite works best if the potato is raw, cut, and only needs 24 hours at most to be stored. You only have to keep in mind to use proper containers to avoid molds from forming. On the other hand, You can still store cooked potatoes for approximately one week in a fridge. Store the potato in a tightly sealed container to keep it fresh. Though this is not ideal, you can freeze a raw potato. However, you should be aware that freezing a raw potato isn’t the best way.
To avoid discoloration, blanch the potatoes for two minutes before storing them. First, wash and peel the potatoes, make sure to remove all the soil residue on the skin. After that, rinse it thoroughly. Then, you quickly blanch the potato in boiling water for two minutes. Then soak in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Lastly, store them in an air-tight container.
03. Potatoes Only
The common mistake of some people in storing potatoes is that they mix them with other fruits and vegetables when keeping them. Yet, potatoes should only stay with potatoes. Ideally, you have to separate potatoes from food that easily ripens like banana, avocado, and onion. It could lead to the premature ripening of potatoes. By doing this, the potato will have a longer storage life.
04. A Well-Ventilated Area
Damp and humid places should be avoided when storing potatoes. It is essential to keep them in a well-ventilated area but keep in mind that the darkness of the room is also important. This allows the potato to breathe and avoid moisture. Moist is a great challenge to overcome when storing any product because it can make the vegetables or fruits rot quickly. So instead of storing fresh potatoes in the freezer or tightly closed container, it is better if you have them kept in free-flowing ventilation.
05. Remove Spoiled Potatoes
It pays to check on your potatoes from time to time. Because even though it’s properly stored, it will get spoiled. But, how do you know if a potato is still good or not? It is easy to spot whether a potato is in bad condition for storing. Spoilage is easy to detect by just inspecting the skin of the potato. When it starts to have wrinkles and becomes mushy, then it is better to remove the potato right away. Bad potatoes can also have molds because of high humidity or moisture. Lastly, the smell of the potato can also indicate whether it should be removed from storage.
Spoiled potatoes should be immediately removed to avoid contaminating the other potatoes. It is better to have a lesser amount of potato than to have no saved potato at all. Of course, when you follow these reminders properly, you can avoid this and save more of your potatoes. You don’t have to put those removed spoiled potatoes into a total waste. Save your rotten produce by turning them into compost which you can use in planting more varieties of produce.
Storing food is an essential survival skill that everyone should learn. Equipping yourself with the proper knowledge of food keeping will save you not just your time, but it will also save you food and money. Potato is a typical food, but knowing the proper ways of storing it will come in handy in times of crisis.
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