Potato Storage

As potatoes are being harvested, it is important to know how to store them for long term. Before you can store your potatoes, they do need to be cured. The curing process begins immediately after harvesting. Curing toughens up a potato’s skin and extends its storage life. Cure the potatoes 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 (if possible), not stored.

The key to storage over winter is to keep them in a dark, cool, high humidity area. Unfortunately most houses are not equipped to do so overwinter. At a minimum, storing your potatoes in a cool place where they are not exposed to light or at risk of freezing will be ok for a few months. If the potatoes freeze, they will fall apart once they are thawed and become inedible. Ideally, storing potatoes in a root cellar, a garage, unheated basement, or a slightly heated shed will work best.

The key is to keep the temperature between 33° and 45°F and block the potatoes from both natural and artificial light as much as possible. Potatoes that are beginning to sprout are still edible; however, once they begin to shrivel they should be discarded. 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. Just like the bags of potatoes found at stores, air flow is important. Plants that cannot breathe will rot much faster. They will collect moisture and rot easily. Potatoes should keep for several months at this temperate, humidity level, and avoidance of light.