Mashed potatoes, home fries, and other “countless” potato recipes are waiting to lit up your dining table in coming winters. If you have been growing your own potatoes, now is the time for a well-deserved and mouth-watering reward. Even if you don’t have your “potato fields” in your backyard, you can still visit your local potato growers for farm-fresh potatoes.
Alright, that was the “perfect” or dreamy section. However, the reality is, you cannot consume your crop in a day or two or even a week unless you have “millions” of guests daily. If you don’t have your own “potato garden,” then one option is you go to your nearby superstore and buy them as much as you need. But, this is not a cost-friendly option.
On the other hand, if you have your own crop or are about to buy your stock for months, you must preserve it. Potatoes can easily rot in days, especially if you preserve them improperly. However, if they are preserved using effective techniques, they will give you a fresh taste even after months.
Well, this article is all about some of the best ways to preserve potatoes for months, but if you are looking for some tips on How to Freeze Potatoes then Click Here for some amazing tips. So, let’s get started.
What Do You Need to Know Before Storing Potatoes?
Before directly jumping to some of the best ways to preserve potatoes, there are some things you should keep in mind, for example:
- Find to suitable variety: Most of us don’t know the fact that all varieties of potatoes are not suitable for long-term storage. Katahdin, Yukon Gold, Yellow Finn, and Kennebec are suitable for long-term storage.
- High-temperature surroundings are not suitable: If you want to preserve potatoes for a longer period successfully, don’t store them near high-temperature places such as your kitchen appliances or beneath the sink.
- Don’t wash potatoes before storing: Washing the potatoes before storing them increases early spoiling chances. This is because moisture or a damp atmosphere can easily reduce their shelf life. The best time to wash them is when you are about to cook them.
- Keep your storage free of rotten potatoes: “One bad fish spoils the whole pond,” and the same goes for potatoes. Rotting, greening, or sprouting is very common in potatoes. Therefore, discard rotten potatoes immediately.
- Keep potatoes away from onions or fruits: while storing potatoes, make sure that you don’t store them with fruits or onions because it causes premature sprouting.
5 Ways to Preserve Potatoes for Months
Root Cellar Storage
One traditional or universal method to store potatoes is to store them in dark and cool places such as a root cellar. If you don’t have this specific facility, a chilly corner or an unheated garage will do nicely. However, you cannot just throw potatoes into the root cellar just like that. You will have to prepare them using the curing method.
The first step in curing the potatoes is sorting out the healthy ones for storage. Freshly harvested potatoes have a slightly weaker skin, and they need to be handled gently because any bruise or cut will not be helpful in the storing process. Moreover, as mentioned above, choose the right variety for storage purposes as few varieties are better for storage than others.
Then, try to rub off some extra dirt from potatoes but don’t leave any cut or bruise. Then, set those potatoes on the newspaper in a dark space for not more than 14 days. Make sure that potatoes don’t touch each other while you set them on the newspaper. The reason behind this process is to harden the potatoes’ skin, which helps in long term storage. Most importantly, don’t wash the potatoes before storing them.
Once you are done with the curing process, the next thing is storing the potatoes. For this purpose, use something that allows ventilation. For instance, a laundry basket, paper bag, or a cardboard box will do the job. The use of plastic is not recommended for storage purposes.
Then, move the potatoes to a cool and dark room. The ideal temperature should lie between 35-40 degrees F. To prevent the potatoes from light, cover the bins. Most importantly, keep checking for rotten potatoes once or twice in a month.
Rebury the Potatoes Outdoor
Another very effective method to store potatoes for months is to rebury them. That said, you can preserve potatoes by putting them back in the ground as soon as you harvest them. First of all, you need to dig six inches deep and fairly broad trenches and place the potatoes on the bottom. Then, cover the potatoes with soil loosely. You can add straw or newspaper for covering purposes as it will provide extra protection from rainwater. However, make sure you don’t bury them near a dying potato plant.
Freezer Storage After Slicing and Blanching
If possible, storing potatoes in the freezer is even more effective than canning or root cellar. In fact, you can store them for a year or more using this method. Here is how you can do this:
- Peel the potatoes.
- Put them in cold water.
- Chop up the bigger ones so they will be easy to cook
- Rinse them again.
- Put the potatoes in boiling water for 3-5 minutes.
- Separate potato pieces from water using a slotted spoon.
- Put them in ice-cold water.
- After cooling them, put them in freezer bags. Try to use a vacuum sealer to pull out more air.
Pressure Can Potatoes
You can also store potatoes for a long time by using a pressure canner. You can do that by following these steps:
- Peel the potatoes (not more than 20 pounds).
- Chop them in smaller pieces (not more than 1.5 inches).
- Put these pieces in cold water.
- Blanch them for 3-5 minutes in boiling water and drain them.
- Rinse the potatoes and then put them in sterilized mason jars.
- Put the hot water in the jars but don’t fill them completely.
- You can add one tablespoon of salt per quart.
- Put on clean rings and lids on the jars.
- Pressure the can at 10 pounds of pressure for forty minutes.
Dehydrate Potatoes for Potato Flakes
This method needs some extra effort, but you can store potatoes for almost “indefinite” time. The process starts with washing and peeling the potatoes. Then:
- Cook the potatoes on the stove until you can easily cut them with a knife.
- Mash the potatoes in the water once the water temperature normalizes.
- Then, put that potato goo on dehydrator sheets. Thinner layers will help in the drying process.
- Keep the temperature to 140 degrees.
- The drying process can take 12 to 36 hours, so you have to be patient.
- Once the potatoes are dried, put them in a food processor and pulverize them.
- After that, you can store them in a container (airtight)
These are some proven and effective methods to preserve potatoes for months or even years. It depends on you how much effort you can put in to enjoy your harvest for the winters.