These days potato storage is a warm topic in conversations amongst vegetable gardeners, coming soon after “What type of fertilizer do you use?” As with the answer to the fertilizer question, potato storage quick receives into complex territory. The best conditions for stored potatoes mimic conditions underground – temperatures from 45 to fifty five°F (7 to thirteen°C), with high humidity and some move of air. These cave-like situations aren’t commonplace in relaxed houses.
The fridge is out, due to the fact temperatures under forty°F (4°C) trigger the conversion of starches to sugars in the saved spuds, which makes them darken while cooked. Even worse, what antique timers referred to as “sugared potatoes” shape carcinogenic compounds while cooked at high temperatures. Let’s no longer cross there.
Instead, let’s expect that your potatoes had been lightly harvested and cured, and now you want an area to position them that’s cool, darkish, and secure from critters. After reading via the ideas below, you could locate which you have greater potato storage alternatives than you think.
Root Cellars and Basements
If you’ve got a root cellar or unheated basement, storing potatoes is easy due to the fact earthen partitions stabilize temperatures in precisely the range potatoes choose. Underground areas additionally have a tendency to be quite humid, a blended blessing for saved potatoes. Damp air that doesn’t move can contribute to yucky molds, but a small fan that continues the air moving can prevent this trouble.
Potato storage boxes can range from cardboard boxes to special potato baskets coated with burlap. Containers that allow some air movement are perfect, as an instance baskets or crates with open slats. For storing small quantities of potatoes in the basement, one in every of my favourite boxes is a small laundry basket coated with newspapers, topped with a heavy towel to exclude mild. I also like using an antique timber crate covered with straw, with greater straw brought among layers of potatoes. Mice adore it, too so I need to be careful.
A small chest of drawers stored in the basement is exceptional for potatoes, too, even though the drawers need to be saved cracked open to admit clean air.
Indoor Potato Storage
When I lived in a heat weather wherein basements have been uncommon, saved potatoes did excellent indoors, in which it become air conditioned, as a minimum until the climate got bloodless sufficient to use an unheated garage. I as soon as used the ground of the coat closet, which stayed cool because it became at the residence’s shady north facet. There I copied a chum’s device, wherein she looked after her potatoes into paper bags with the aid of kind and length, arranged the bags in plastic milk crates, and covered them with a fabric.
In some other residence, the bedroom became the coolest room, so I started out storing potatoes in boxes or packing containers under the mattress. I nevertheless do this whilst summer time climate makes the basement stuffy and warm. Instead of remaining up the boxes or boxes, I cover the potatoes with a thick towel, which offers them with a nice air deliver. A neighbor is more organized. She places her ‘Yukon Golds’ and different smallish potatoes in egg cartons earlier than hiding them beneath her mattress.
In warm climates with out dependable aircon like rural Kenya, packing potatoes in damp sawdust has been found to extend their garage lifestyles. In Alaska, wherein the challenges are retaining saved potatoes from freezing or being found by way of bears, enterprising homesteaders would possibly dig a “cold hollow” for meals storage, a refinement of an older practice of the usage of a deep cave or stone-lined water properly to keep potatoes and other root crops.
I even have often used deep holes dug in the garden for temporary potato storage, however it is not a long-time period solution due to the fact the potatoes have a tendency to develop skin troubles which are rare while potatoes are saved in dry storage. I attempted storing potatoes in a buried rubbish can, which ought to have worked however did now not. The potatoes internal stayed too damp and went gooey, which can have been due to many factors, including my own mistakes.
The exceptional plug-in device for preserving the correct potato storage temperature of forty five°F (7°C) is a beverage cooler, of which there are several small fashions that might be beneficial in case you are critically low on bloodless garage space. You can also use a wine cooler set at its lowest putting, which is generally around 52°F (11°C).
These forte coolers can increase the garage lifestyles of potatoes, or you may use them for carrots, beets, apples, or pears. With intake of sugary beverages on the decline, perhaps we ought to start calling them produce coolers.