22

We have a bumper potato crop.

Considering that we want to keep them as long as possible because we can’t use them all in a short time, what’s best for storage?

4
  • 1
    It might be worth asking on the gardening site… how long to keep them in the ground would be more appropriate over there: gardening.stackexchange.com
    – Joe
    Aug 1 at 17:36
  • 1
    Dave, while storage is very much on topic here, harvesting falls into Gardening SE territory. In therefore removed the bit about harvesting.
    – Stephie
    Aug 1 at 18:48
  • 3
    Perhaps the rare case where asking the question (or at least that part of the question) both places would be good. Since it has been edited out here, it would not be crossposting as such, and might get other useful answers.
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 2 at 12:06
  • @Ecnerwal and I would be happy to cross-link these posts if we had them.
    – Stephie
    Aug 4 at 13:04

5 Answers 5

4

Leave them in the ground !

I left some in the ground last year until planting time this year, and then dug them up, and they were perfectly edible.

This was in the North of England, where we had cold, wet and snow over winter.

4
  • 11
    This isn't a good idea. You got away with it but they could have rotted.
    – GdD
    Aug 3 at 7:36
  • 5
    That's one of the issues with leaving them in the ground, they can sprout @Clockwork
    – GdD
    Aug 3 at 9:48
  • @GdD My bad, I deleted my comment (original was if they grow into plants in the ground).
    – Clockwork
    Aug 3 at 9:49
  • They will only start sprouting if you leave them in after normal planting time. They are dormant until April/May around here. Also, my ground has good drainage, so they don't rot easily.
    – Neil
    Aug 3 at 21:28
25

Potatoes last best when stored in a cool, dry place between 45°F/7°C and 55°F/13°C, so a basement is often your best shot if you have one. Keeping them dry and giving them airflow is important so they don't grow mold, a wooden crate with gaps, a box with air holes or a cloth sack are good options.

Also, you need to keep them dark, exposure to sunlight can lead to them turning green, which produces Solanine that is toxic.

6
  • 10
    Also, don't clean them excessively before storage. The residual dirt keeps it longer. Aug 2 at 2:09
  • 7
    It might be helpful to give a source for the specific temperatures (since they indeed are so specific), even if it's actually just from experience :-) Aug 2 at 7:33
  • 9
    And keep them dark to prevent sprouting and turning green. Supermarket potatoes are often treated to prevent that, my organic market follows the same rule my grandparents did: cover them with a burlap sack (a piece of cardboard will do in a pinch).
    – Stephie
    Aug 2 at 7:44
  • 6
    I heard the term "root cellar" a lot when growing up in Utah, but it didn't dawn on me until decades later, the root cellar was possibly the basement, or the crawl space, for storing root vegetables! Aug 2 at 21:44
  • 2
    The traditional place to store a bumper crop of potatoes is a root cellar. Read up on how to build one (like here: americanpatriotsurvivalist.com/build-a-root-cellar) and figure out how to do something similar without a lot of investment. There's a reason that the potatoes that you buy in a store in the spring don't look fresh at all - they've been stored in cool, dark place since the fall
    – Flydog57
    Aug 3 at 15:24
10

You can store root vegetables, such as potatoes in damp sand in a cool, dry area. I have stored them this way in a broken freezer and they have kept fresh for over 3 months.

It is important to use clean sand. Sand for children's sandpits works well.

  1. Harvest your potatoes on a sunny day and leave them in the sun to let their skins harden.
  2. In a box put a layer of damp sand about 8-10cm / 3-4 inches deep
  3. Place your potatoes on the sand, leave plenty of space in-between
  4. Cover your potatoes with more sand, making sure there is at least 8cm/3inches of sand on top.
  5. Store in a well insulated area (an old freezer works well)
  6. Check the potatoes every 2 weeks for signs of rot or sprouting (indicating your sand is too wet) or signs of shrivelling or rubbery-ness (indicating your sand is too dry)

References:

4
  • 1
    A great answer. Thanks man.
    – AhmedWas
    Aug 2 at 10:54
  • 3
    How should too-dry sand be handled? Talcum powder or rice perhaps? How should too-dry sand be handled? Spray water with an aerosol spray?
    – dotancohen
    Aug 2 at 14:36
  • 6
    @AhmedWas: there are many knowledgeable and helpful women on this site, too. Aug 2 at 17:45
  • 1
    @dotancohen too-dry sand can be handled by spraying with water, like you mention. Too-wet sand takes a little more effort, I tend to redo the tray with new sand, especially if rot has set in as I worry about bacteria and mold.
    – D S
    Aug 3 at 3:53
8

Traditionally, a root cellar. Deep underground with cool, but non-freezing temperatures and ventilation. Dark (very important with potato storage that they be kept in the dark, so they don't turn green and poisonous.)

In an old house, that might be a corner of the basement. In most modern houses, the basement (if there is one at all) is far too warm to be effective/useful storage. If you happen to live in a place where you have a storm cellar, that's more likely to be the sort of cellar that can also serve as a root cellar - but that's also mostly older houses.

Some people do build a dedicated root cellar. That may be more of a project than you want to tackle. A smaller "storage pit" (or barrel) is easier to build, but more of a pain to use, and often not deep enough for truly effective temperature control.

1
  • 2
    The point about a root cellar is that it has an earth floor. This influences humidity as well as temperature.
    – RedSonja
    Aug 2 at 7:59
1

We would dig a trench about 8 inches deep, line with barley straw, pile the potatoes in, eventually forming a ridge above the trench (the trench was only to contain the width of the ridge). The ridge was covered in straw and then with clay.

I don't recall plastic featuring.

2
  • You probably wouldn’t want plastic, as it would hold moisture in. You don’t want the potatoes to dry out, but you also don’t want large amounts of water to collect and promote rotting. Maybe you could use plastic over top of the clay, but definately not underneath
    – Joe
    Aug 4 at 13:35
  • 2
    There might have been a strip along the apex where the pressure of rain would have been most significant. But it would not have been much. We would have dug them in at the end of October, and they would have stayed in reasonable shape through to April. By May / June trying to find a usable pot full was a sensory challenge to say the least.
    – Ger
    Aug 5 at 14:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.