Selection and storage



Although potatoes are sometimes available in packed plastic bags, it’s better to buy them separately from bulk display. Doing so helps in better inspection of them for signs of any damage or decay. In addition, as most plastic bags aren’t perforated, the buildup of moisture inside them can have a negative impact on the quality of potatoes.

The potatoes you buy should ideally be smooth, well -shaped, firm and free of any decay (manifested as dry or wet rot). Furthermore, they shouldn’t have any sprouting or green coloration. The latter should be specifically checked as it may indicate the presence of solanine, the toxic alkaloid, which not only causes an undesirable taste, but may also lead to health conditions like diarrhea, respiratory depression, circulatory depression and headaches.

Many times grocery stores sell properly cleaned potatoes. Such potatoes must be strictly avoided as washing them causes the removal of their protective coating, making them vulnerable to bacteria. What more, cleaned potatoes are more expensive too! Anyways, since you’ll need to wash your potatoes before cooking them, why pay a higher price unnecessarily.

As harvesting of new potatoes happens well before their maturity, they’re far more vulnerable to damages. You should be extra careful while purchasing such potatoes and lookout for signs of injury and discoloration.

How to store them?

The best way to store potatoes is by keeping them in some dry and dark place, with temperature ranging from 45°F to 50°F (or 7°C to 10°C). Temperatures higher than that (even room temperature) can lead to premature dehydration and sprouting of potatoes. Although majority of people don’t have such ideal environment for storing their potatoes, you must try to find a place that’s closest to these conditions to maximize your potatoes’ quality. Alternatively, you can also store them in some basement or a dark and cool closet. No matter what happens, never expose your potatoes directly to sunlight, as this can lead to the development of solanine (the toxic alkaloid) in them.

Avoid storing your potatoes inside a refrigerator, as that can lead to the transformation of starch content in them into sugar, giving them an unpleasant taste. Furthermore, never store potatoes close to onions, as the gases emitted by both can cause their collective degradation. If you do need to store them together, keep them in a paper bag or a burlap.

Properly stored mature potatoes can stay good for as long as two months. Keep checking your potatoes on a regular basis and remove any that seem shriveled or sprouted. This is very important as spoilt potatoes can quickly harm the others’ quality too. On the other hand, cooked potatoes can stay fresh inside a refrigerator (not freezer) for many days at a stretch.