How to Store Potatoes
Simple tips for curing and storing your potato harvest
There are so many wonderful kinds and colors of potatoes to choose from: fingerlings, bakers, boilers, white, yellow, pink, red, and even blue. All are delicious eaten fresh from the garden, but if you want to store some potatoes for eating in the late fall and winter months, you'll need to plant varieties that are well-suited to storage as well as to your growing area. Readily available potato varieties known to be excellent keepers include Katahdin, Kennebec, Yellow Finn and Yukon Gold.
How to Cure Potatoes
In late summer when the potato foliage has died back, your potatoes can be dug and “cured” for storage. Curing toughens up a potato’s skin and extends its storage life. Cure the tubers by laying them out on newspaper in a well-ventilated place that’s cool (50 to 60 degrees F.) and dark (so they don’t turn green). After about two weeks, the skins will have toughened up. Rub off any large clumps of dirt (potatoes should never be washed before storage) and cull any damaged tubers, which should be eaten, not stored. Treat the tubers very gently so as not to bruise or cut them.
How and Where to Store Potatoes
Once potatoes have been cured, nestle your spuds into ventilated bins, bushel baskets, or a Root Storage Bin. Potatoes require cool, dry, and dark conditions for the longest storage life. Completely cover the boxes or baskets with newspaper or cardboard to eliminate any light. Even a little light will cause potatoes to turn green and be rendered inedible. The ideal storage temperature for potatoes is 35 to 40 degrees, though they will usually keep for several months at 45 to 50 degrees.
Learn How to Grow Potatoes for Next Year
Potatoes can be grown in a standard garden row, in a raised bed, or in a container such as a Potato Grow Bag. The more foliage your plants have, the more good-sized tubers you'll harvest, so it's important to keep your plants as healthy as possible. To learn more about growing a large potato harvest, even when you don't have a ton of space, read our "How to Grow Potatoes in Containers" article.
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