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How to Store Potatoes and Keep Them Fresh Long Term

Sooo…. you got a nice potato harvest, and now need to know the best way to store potatoes, right? Once you taste homegrown potatoes, you’ll never want to go back to store-bought.  So, storing them long term is important. Do you know how to store potatoes to keep them fresh until you’re ready to cook them?

Potato harvest

How to Store Potatoes Long  Term

Storing homegrown potatoes

Growing potatoes in your garden is very rewarding, and being able to preserve some for later, makes it even better.

If you have enough room in your garden to grow potatoes to last you through the winter, you’ll need to know how to store your homegrown potatoes.  Be sure to inspect each potato in your harvest and don’t store any that have bites from critters or torn skins because these will start to quickly rot and spread to the others beside them.

After you dig them, leave the potatoes out to dry for a couple of hours. Make sure to gently brush off soil from the tubers before storing them. Then move them to a dark, but a well-ventilated place for 3 to 5 days to cure. Any light will make them turn green, which might make them unusable.

After curing them, place them in a paper bag, cardboard or wooden box and store then at 45 to 50 degrees F.

Potatoes can be harvested as you need them, so you can keep them in the ground until you’re ready for them. However, before winter comes, you need to dig them all up ahead of the ground freezing.

Can You Freeze Potatoes?

Freezing vegetables to preserve them long term seems to be the easiest method (at least it is for me!). But potatoes are not best suited for freezing raw. If frozen raw, taters can tun black and their texture will change.

To freeze potatoes, you’ll need to blanch them first. How do you blanch them? Bring water to a boil and cook potatoes for 3 to 5 minutes. Then plunge them into iced water before packing them up for the freezer. You can pack them into plastic bags portioned for soups, stews, or even for mashing later.

If you’re planning to fry or roast them, then you’ll want to take an extra step before you store them in the freezer. Line them out on parchment-lined baking sheets and freeze them, then transfer the frozen pieces to bags.

If you plan on making hash browns later, you can shape them before freezing.

How to Store Potatoes in the Kitchen

If you only need to store potatoes for a short time, you can store them in the kitchen. They won’t last long though, as the temperature is not optimal.  

The best place to store potatoes in the kitchen is a dry, well-ventilated space away from sunlight. Put them in a paper bag, a bowl, or a cardboard box and keep them in the coolest part of your kitchen.

Avoid storing them in anything plastic. Many people buy their potatoes from the store in plastic bags and if you keep them in those bags, they can go bad very quickly. They’ll start to sprout or rot, or both.

How to Store New Potatoes

Honestly, I wouldn’t try to store new potatoes for more than a few days. If you grow them, just pick them as you need them. Our family LOVES new potato fries: YUM! If you buy them at the store, buy only enough for a week or so.

New potatoes do not keep as well as more mature potatoes. This is because they have thinner skins and high moisture levels. You should keep them in a paper bag in a cool, dry place. Or, you need to keep them loosely wrapped in plastic and put them in the fridge.

In the best-case scenario, new potatoes can last about 3-4 weeks in the pantry (but they’ll get wrinkly by then) and a couple of months in the fridge. That’s the bet you can expect, but your fridge stored potatoes might turn to stinky mush after about 2 months (and sometimes sooner). It all depends on your climate, especially the humidity levels where you are storing the potatoes.

Tips on Storing Red Potatoes

Here are some tips on storing red potatoes, which can keep differently than white potatoes. Red-skinned potatoes can keep for about 2 weeks in a cool, dark place. They do best in a paper bag that is kept dry. You shouldn’t store your red potatoes in plastic or in the fridge.

Red potatoes are small and moist, and the refrigerator will dry them out very quickly. Too much heat or exposure to light can cause your red potatoes to spoil. If there’s too much heat, it can cause them to sprout. On the other hand, not enough heat can cause them to darken when they are fried, and they will have a sweet flavor.

Like Goldilocks, you need to get the temperature and humidity “just right” for your potatoes. Temps between 42 and 50 are ideal. What if your house is hot? Can you store them in the fridge?

Storing Potatoes in the Refrigerator

Should you store potatoes in the refrigerator? A lot of people do this, although it’s not always the best idea. If it’s only for a few days, you can get away with storing them in the fridge. 

But, while you can store potatoes in the fridge, the temperature is a bit too cold for them and it will usually make them sweeter and cause them to brown very quickly if you’re to fry them.

You can store potatoes in the pantry for a couple of weeks, instead of the refrigerator. While a dark, dry place like a root cellar is preferred, not everyone has that option.

The Best Way to Store Potatoes Long Term

If you can store potatoes in the ground, that would be preferred for the long term. However, most people don’t have this option, unless they grow themselves and have storage space like this. All of the tips we’ve mentioned here so far will work for long term storage of your potatoes. The most important thing to know is that they should not be stored in plastic bags unless it’s for a short time and the bags have holes.

When stored properly, you can keep potatoes for weeks to a few months. For homegrown tubers, you should always allow them to cure before you store them. And don’t wash them until you are ready to use them, in this case.

How to Store Sweet Potatoes?

What about sweet potatoes? Should they be stored differently than white potatoes?

For the best results, you should store your sweet potatoes in a basement or a root cellar. If you don’t have either, make sure you store them in a dark, cool and well-ventilated area.

To lengthen the life of your sweet potatoes, you might want to wrap them up in newspaper before storing them. This will ensure a dark environment, and will also provide protection.

Frequently asked questions about potato storage

Can You Store Potatoes and Onions Together?

It’s easy to throw your potatoes and onions together in the same basket to keep. But don’t do it! The onions emanate ethylene gas, which can make the potatoes sprout a lot faster. 

Can You Store Apples and Potatoes Together?

Just like potatoes and onions, potatoes and apples shouldn’t be stored together. The apples put off a type of gas that will spoil the potatoes very quickly. You should never store these in a box or bin together and when possible, don’t even have them right next to one another in a closet, pantry, or cellar.

That said, there is a little trick you may have heard some people talk about with potatoes and an apple. If you have a big batch of potatoes and just ONE apple, it could help prevent them from sprouting too early, making your potatoes last longer. Feel free to give it a try but remember, only use one apple.

Can you store potatoes in an airtight container?

Unfortunately, no. Potatoes need well-ventilated storage to stay fresh.

Should I wash potatoes before storing them?

As a general rule, you should wash potatoes before storing them. Just brush off dry soil and san, being careful not to damage the tubers. But, if they are really dirty with clay soil, you might need to wash them. Just make sure you dry them completely before putting them in storage.

Tips for Storing Potatoes over Winter

Storing your potatoes over winter is important. You want them in a cool, dark place but if you keep them outside, they will freeze. Inside most homes will be too warm. This is why a root cellar or a basement is an ideal location.

Here are some important tips for storing potatoes over winter:

  • Choose a nice cool area suitable for storing them (45 to 50 degrees F is ideal)
  • Choose potato varieties that are good for storing like Yellow Firm and Yukon Gold
  • Cure your potatoes first when possible

Potatoes that are stored properly in the right conditions during winter can last between 4-9 months. However, you should check on them during this time to be sure there is no rot. Remove rotting potatoes before they have the chance to ruin the whole box.

How to Store Potatoes Underground

Are you wondering how to store potatoes underground? If you leave the potatoes in the dirt where they grew, that can be fine during certain months of the year. However, when the freeze sets in, this will be a problem. Leaving them in the ground under a heavy layer of dirt that will eventually get wet when it rains also creates a recipe for rot, or to encourage early sprouting.

Instead, you might look to some other ways to store potatoes underground. Consider storing them in a pit.

Creating a potato pit is pretty simple. You want to find a place outdoors that stays dry and doesn’t have a lot of slope or hill. Dig 1 to 2 feet into the ground with a width based on the number of potatoes you plan to store. Fill the bottom with clean, dry straw for about 3 inches deep. Then, place the potatoes on top in a single layer.

Storing potatoes in sawdust is another method that goes back to farmers in the older days. You can do the same thing with your pit but use sawdust instead of straw or hay. On top of your layer of potatoes, do another layer of straw or hay. Then toss the loose dirt you previously removed, back on top of the pit.

How to Store Potatoes for Seed

Generally, seed potatoes should be stored the same as the potatoes you store for eating. You can keep seed potatoes at a slightly lower temperature than eating potatoes (38-40F) to prevent sprouts.

So, if your seed potatoes start sprouting too early in the season, put them in the fridge to slow down the chitting.

If your seed potatoes are still dormant, and you want to speed up the sprouting, warm them to about 70 degrees F for a week. Then let the tubers cool down to about 50-55F and keep them in low light for about 2-4 weeks. Or, add a few onions to the potato storage 😉

I hope you learned a lot about storing potatoes

There’s a lot of information here, and if you got to the end, you’re sure to know exactly how you can and cannot store your homegrown potatoes. Choose the methods that are best for you and your needs.

While there are many different scenarios with potatoes that need to be stored, the basics are the same. If you keep them cool and dry, they’ll probably be just fine.

Do you have any tips for storing potatoes that you want to share with us?

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Adriana Copaceanu is a passionate nature lover living in the country on her dream property where she grows vegetables, lavender, and wildflowers that she shares with the wildlife they attract. When she's not in the garden, she loves spending time with her chickens and planning her next nature project. Check out her books below:

How to Grow Lavender for Fun and Profit: Lessons Learned from Planting Three Hundred Lavender Plants

How to Raise Chickens for Eggs: A Guide to Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens for Nutritious, Organic Eggs at Home

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Sunday 15th of August 2021

Question...I have a stacked stone, dirt floor basement just perfect for a root cellar, but my 200 year old house is just lousy with small rodents in the basement because of the stacked stone, dirt floor, and I have been unable to rodent proof any storage solution. The fuzzy vermin literally WALK BETWEEN THE STONES to get into the basement. If I have a fridge in the rodent-free garage dedicated to only potato storage and keep it at 45-50 degrees with just one single apple in it, would that work?


Monday 16th of August 2021

I wish I had an answer for you, but I don't know the answer.

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