How to store potatoes?

Comment conserver des pommes de terre ?

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The potato, that tasty and nutritious tuber, is an ally of choice in our kitchens. But the question remains: how do you store them so that they retain all their flavour and nutritional virtues for as long as possible, just like vegetables?

To store potatoes properly, it’s essential to follow a few simple rules. Tubers are particularly sensitive to factors such as light, humidity, temperature and proximity to other products. Poor storage can lead to greening, sprouting, rotting or loss of the potato’s characteristic taste.

This article presents the main techniques for preserving the quality of potatoes, before and after harvest, whether raw or cooked. You’ll learn how to avoid the most common mistakes and adopt good practices to maximize the shelf life of your tubers. Ready to become an expert? Follow the guide!

Essential criteria for storing potatoes

Maintaining the freshness and quality of potatoes over time requires attention to several key criteria: the choice of storage location, careful tuber selection, as well as variety and harvesting conditions. Let’s take a closer look at these essential elements.

Ideal storage location and environment

Potatoes are best stored in a dark, cool, dry and well-ventilated place. Exposure to light causes them to turn green and produce solanine, a harmful and bitter compound. Optimum temperature is between 7°C and 13°C.

High temperatures can cause potatoes to sprout and dry out, while temperatures that are too low, such as those in a refrigerator, lead to an increase in sugar content that alters taste.

Moisture also encourages the development of mould and disease, which is why tubers should not be washed before storage. This is why tubers should not be washed before storage. They should be packed in paper or jute bags, which promote air circulation.

Careful tuber selection

It’s essential to sort potatoes carefully before storing them. Damaged, bruised, rotten or worm-eaten tubers must be eliminated, as they can contaminate other tubers and accelerate the deterioration process.

It’s also important to distinguish between new potatoes and those destined for storage. New potatoes, which are more delicate, have a shorter shelf-life than ware potatoes, which are known for their thick, robust skins.

The importance of variety and harvesting

Potatoes come in a multitude of varieties with distinct properties: shape, color, texture, taste and storage potential. Varieties such as Bintje, Charlotte, Monalisa and Nicola are renowned for their long shelf life.

Choose a variety according to its intended use (purée, French fries, salad, etc.) and desired shelf life. Harvesting time is just as crucial: wait until the foliage has dried and the skin is solid. Then let the potatoes air-dry for a few days before storing.

Preparing and storing potatoes: best practices

To ensure long potato storage, start by selecting healthy tubers. Then follow the appropriate preparation steps and storage methods. Here’s a guide to help you store your potatoes optimally.

How to prepare potatoes for storage

Start by carefully cleaning your potatoes with a soft brush to remove any excess soil; do not wash them in water.

After brushing, leave them to air-dry for a few days, turning them regularly. If damaged, potatoes need to undergo a healing process.

Exposing them for one to two weeks to a mild temperature (15 to 20°C) and high humidity (85 to 90%) will help heal the damage and strengthen the skin.

Choice of containers and space management

Choose air-permeable containers, such as paper, jute or canvas bags, or wicker or wooden baskets.

Avoid airtight plastic or metal containers, which prevent the tuber from breathing. Take care not to overfill the container to avoid compression and heat build-up, and use newspaper to separate the potatoes. Store in a dark, cool, dry, well-ventilated place, such as a cellar or garage.

Stock control and maintenance

Successful storage requires regular monitoring and maintenance. Inspect potatoes every three to four weeks and remove those that have turned green, sprouted, rotted or are infested with insects. These defective potatoes can contaminate other potatoes.

Also, avoid storing potatoes near climacteric fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, apples, pears, tomatoes and melons, as they emit ethylene, which stimulates germination.

Common mistakes and how to avoid them

Knowing how to select, prepare and store potatoes is essential for their proper preservation, just as it is for mastering food preservation in general, but it’s just as crucial to avoid certain common mistakes. These mistakes can affect the shelf life and quality of potatoes. Discover the most common pitfalls and tips on how to avoid them.

The most common potato storage mistakes

Do you store your potatoes in the fridge? If so, you should reconsider this method. While it may seem like a good strategy for preserving freshness, potatoes gorge themselves on sugar in the cold, altering their flavor and texture. Instead, opt for a dark, cool, dry and airy place, such as a cellar, pantry or garage.

Also, avoid storing potatoes near ethylene-producing fruits or vegetables, such as bananas, apples, pears, tomatoes or melons, as this stimulates sprouting and can make them unappetizing. A simple solution is to store them separately or in a paper or jute bag to isolate them.

Temperature and humidity control

Temperature and humidity play an essential role in potato preservation. Be sure to check and adjust these parameters according to seasonal variations. The ideal temperature is between 7°C and 13°C.

Too hot a temperature causes potatoes to sprout and dry out, while too cold a temperature makes them sweet and spoils their taste.

Excessive humidity also encourages mould and disease. That’s why you should avoid washing potatoes before storing them, preferring paper or jute packaging that allows air to circulate.

Light management and germ prevention

Light is harmful to potatoes, causing greening and the production of solanine, a bitter, toxic substance. To avoid this, keep them in the dark or cover them with straw or newspaper.

If you find sprouts, eat them quickly or use them as seedlings. Before cooking, remove sprouts and green parts containing solanine.

This guide has revealed the key methods for perfect potato storage. You now have the knowledge you need to select, prepare and store your tubers in such a way as to preserve their freshness and taste over time.

The pitfalls to avoid have been detailed, along with tips on how to get around them. It’s time to apply these practical tips and enjoy delicious potatoes in your favorite dishes.