Potatoes have been ranked as America’s favorite vegetable for several years in a row. They are versatile and quick, and easy to prepare, so it’s no wonder three out of four Americans eat them at least once a week.
Many people like to have potatoes on hand at all times. But, do you know how to store them properly? Keeping potatoes near one particular type of produce can cause them to turn bad much faster.
Read on to learn what product this is and what’s the best way to store potatoes.
If you want to prevent potato spoilage, don’t store them next to apples. How can apples be related to potatoes? Here’s the answer.
According to Harvest to Table website, apples produce ethylene gas that causes potatoes to ripen quickly and cause spoilage. Ethylene is odorless, tasteless, and colorless and acts as a plant hormone. Depending on its concentration, it can promote growth and the development of leaves, fruits, and flowers.
How much ethylene apples produce can depend on when they are harvested. Experts claim that if apples are harvested later in the season, ethylene levels will be much higher. Additionally, different types of apples produce different amounts of ethylene. For example, McIntosh apples have extremely high ethylene levels.
Do Only Apples Produce Ethylene?
Apples give off very high ethylene levels, which is why they are a “threat” to keeping potatoes fresh for a long time. But, they aren’t the only ones; other fruits and veggies release ethylene. Some of them are:
Some fruits and vegetables produce small amounts of ethylene that aren’t enough to cause faster spoilage. But, keep in mind that they are still ethylene-sensitive. Here’s a list of some of them:
Keep the ethylene-releasing fruits and veggies away from ethylene-sensitive ones if you want to keep your produce fresh.
How to Store Potatoes
To keep your potatoes fresh for a long time, follow these guidelines:
- Keep potatoes in a cool, dry, and dark place. Ideally, store them at 55 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit for up to two weeks.
- If you want to store them for an extended period, potatoes need to be stored at lower temperatures. Dark rooms, basements, or root cellars at 35 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit would be the best solution.
- Purchase the firmest potatoes with no dark spots, and keep them at low temperatures if you plan to store them for up to eight months. If the temperature is too high, potatoes will sprout and shrivel.
- Never place potatoes in the fridge because the dry air will cause them to shrivel faster.
- You can keep potatoes in the freezer, but it’s not advisable. Cold temperatures turn the starch in potatoes into sugar and make them darker much faster.
- Don’t store potatoes in plastic bags because they need to breathe. Instead, put them in containers with air circulation.
- Remove the eyes before they turn into sprouts.
- You don’t have to throw away potatoes with sprouts if they are still firm. Remove the sprouts and eat the potatoes as soon as possible. As they grow, sprouts “suck” the nutrients from potatoes and make them mushy and soft.
Potato Storage Problems
You may notice your potatoes have turned green or too sweet. Here’s why that happens:
- Potatoes can turn sweet if the starch has converted into sugar. You can reverse this by taking the potatoes out of storage several days before you want to cook them. That way, the extra sugar will revert to starch, and this process is called “reconditioning.”
- A potato’s skin can turn green due to a toxic alkaloid called “solanine.” If you consume green potatoes, you can get solanine poisoning which can cause numerous side effects. If only the peel is green, remove it before cooking.
Keep Potatoes Away From Apples
Since apples produce high levels of ethylene, they can cause other fruits and vegetables to spoil much faster. To prevent this, never keep apples close to ethylene-sensitive produce, including potatoes.
If you want your potatoes to ripen faster, put them next to apples. That way, you’ll strategically speed up the ripening process.