Potatoes are a staple in the kitchen thanks to their versatility. You can boil, fry, steam, and even bake potatoes! You can use potatoes as a side dish and even as ingredients to desserts. The best part? Potatoes are notorious for their long shelf life! One would think that potatoes would go bad quickly because they are quite starchy. But you’d be surprised, potatoes will keep for months in storage.
Can Potatoes Go Bad?
That being said, potatoes do not keep forever. This goes especially for spuds that were kept in storage for a long, long time. It is important to consume your supply as soon as possible. Otherwise, the potatoes could go bad. In some cases, the potatoes would sprout “eyes” when kept too long.
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To ensure a long storage life, always choose freshly harvested potatoes. Look for firm potatoes with thin skins. Go for spuds that are smooth and blemish-free. Remember, blemishes have a way of speeding up the ripening process. Avoid potatoes that are cut or bruised.
Signs that Potatoes Have Gone Bad
How do you know when potatoes are no longer safe to consume? Start by checking the skin. Just like human skin, potato skin tends to sag and develop wrinkles over time. If your supply is starting to turn wrinkly or mushy, the potatoes are starting to go bad.
Freshly harvested potatoes have a distinct earthy aroma. If the potatoes developed a moldy, musky aroma, molds may have developed inside the spuds. Moldy potatoes may look fine on the outside but are rotten on the inside. Cut the potatoes to check if they are still good to eat. Potatoes with sprouts are generally safe to consume as long as you cut the sprouts.
It’s also worth noting that old potatoes develop a greenish tint. This tint is a type of toxin that can cause sickness.
How to Store Potatoes?
Storing potatoes properly depends on how the product was prepared. For fresh, uncut potatoes, keep them in the cellar. You can either store the potatoes in a basket or place them in a brown bag. It’s important to keep the potatoes away from sources of heat or moisture. Humidity could cause the potatoes to grow sprouts.
As for uncut potatoes that are starting to lose their firmness, you can store the produce in the refrigerator. You can use the potatoes original packaging, if there’s any or place them in a brown bag. Store the potatoes in the vegetable box for best results. Do note, however, that potatoes stored in the fridge tend to darken when cooked. Never store potatoes near onions or bananas. These foodstuffs will increase the risk of spoilage.
Storing potatoes in the fridge is not recommended because the method causes the product to develop a sweeter taste. Also, the potatoes will darken when cooked. Still, if you have leftover potatoes, you can store them in the refrigerator.
Image used under Creative Commons from Mike Mozart
Cut potatoes tend to oxidize when exposed to air. Our advice is to use an airtight container to store the product. Fill a bowl with lightly salted water and submerge the cut potatoes as soon as they are sliced. Once you’re ready to store the cut potatoes in the fridge, drain the water and place the spuds inside the container. Close the airtight lid, write the storage date, and store in the fridge.
When kept in the pantry, potatoes will keep fresh for 4 to 5 weeks. When kept in the fridge, un-cut spuds will keep for 3 to 4 months. Cut potatoes have a shorter shelf life, they’ll only keep for a day or two.
Can You Freeze Potatoes?
Freezing is not an ideal storage method unless you are freezing uncooked French fries. The freezing temperature will cause the moisture within the spuds to solidify. Once defrosted, the potatoes will become mushy with a grainy texture. Defrosted potatoes are also less tasty. But if you must, just make sure to use an airtight container to protect the spuds from the punishing temperatures.
This vegetable has so many uses that a kitchen is simply incomplete without a good supply of potatoes! Now that you know how to store potatoes properly, there is no need to worry about spoilage at all. You can extend the shelf life of the product by keeping these storage tips in mind.