Potatoes are a staple food in most people's diets for good reason. Not only are they budget-friendly, but they're also incredibly versatile — you can fry, bake, or roast them, but you already know that. And with the option to turn them into salad, soup and even pancakes, the culinary possibilities for this root vegetable are practically endless. But their shelf life? Not so much. Unless you store potatoes correctly, following the tips ahead, the spuds won't stay fresh for more than two weeks.
Potatoes Should Be Stored in a Cool, Dark Area
According to the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee, you'll want to keep potatoes out of sunlight and away from high-temperature areas, like open countertops or near large appliances. While storing potatoes at 45°F to 50°F is ideal and can keep them fresh for months, it's not all that realistic. So, to maintain freshness for up to two weeks, store them at room temperature. Because excessive light can cause potatoes to turn green and become bitter; a pantry, closet, basement, or garage are all good storage options.
Do Not Store Potatoes in the Refrigerator or Freezer
Knowing that potatoes keep best in cool temperatures, you might be tempted to store them in the refrigerator. However, that's not a good idea. According to Potatoes USA, a national potato marketing and research organization, storing potatoes in temperatures colder than 50°F causes their starch to convert to sugar, which results in discoloration and changes in flavor.
Keep Potatoes Dry and Away From Onions
The Colorado Potato Administrative Committee says that damp conditions can cause potatoes to rot, so if you brought them home from the supermarket in an unventilated plastic bag, you'll want to remove them from it to prevent moisture buildup. Potatoes USA recommends transferring potatoes to a paper bag or a perforated plastic bag in order to keep the spuds dry. If neither are available, a crate or wire basket can be used.
You'll also want to refrain from washing your spuds until immediately before use to prevent early decay. And if you've got onions on hand, Consumer Reports advised to store potatoes separately, as gases from onions can cause potatoes to sprout more quickly.
Putting these storage tips into practice will ensure a longer shelf life for your potatoes and less waste for you. And just in case you need a little inspiration for new ways to prepare them, here are some of our favorite potato recipes.