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Storing Potatoes Properly

Fine Cooking Issue 48
Photo: Scott Phillips
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Lucky for us—a nation of potato lovers—one of our favorite foods is also a good keeper. In the right conditions, potatoes can be stored for two to three weeks.  

Store them in the dark and always keep them cool and dry. Deep drawers, a basket inside a low cabinet, or a brown paper bag are good spots. Exposure to light is what turns potatoes green, so darkness is important. The green contains solanine, a mildly toxic alkaloid. Sprouts (also a sign of deterioration) contain solanine, too.  

The ideal storage temperature for potatoes is 45° to 50°F, but anything colder causes problems, so don’t refrigerate them. When chilled, the starches start to convert to sugar, and the potatoes will taste odd and cook differently, as the sugars will also make the potatoes brown too quickly.  

Even in the best conditions, don’t plan to store potatoes for more than two to three weeks unless you have a proper root cellar that holds foods at around 50°F.


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