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How to Keep Potatoes Fresh for Longer

Medically Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on June 22, 2021

Potatoes are a tuber vegetable rich in vitamin C and other nutrients. They are safe to eat and a staple in many diets. Potatoes can last for up to several months in a cool pantry. If stored at room temperature, they are best if eaten within one to two weeks. Once cooked, keep them in the fridge for no more than three days.

How to Store Potatoes

Potatoes do best in a cool, dark room with lots of ventilation. This keeps them fresh and firm and helps prevent greening. Greening happens when chlorophyll builds up under the peel. It is associated with solanine, a bitter, toxic alkaloid that can make you sick if you eat too much of it.

Storing your potatoes correctly also stops them from shriveling and losing water. If your pantry is too hot, or if you store potatoes for a long time, they will grow sprouts and might rot.

For best results, store your potatoes in these conditions:

  • At a temperature of 45 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit 
  • In high relative humidity of around 80% to 90%
  • In darkness
  • In an open bag or bin‌

Keep potatoes dry. Don’t wash your potatoes before you store them. The dampness can cause them to spoil faster. If you grow your own potatoes, gently knock the dirt off after you pick them and store them dry. Wash the potatoes well when you’re ready to cook them.

Don’t store potatoes in the fridge. Raw potatoes have lots of starches, and the cold temperatures can turn the starches into sugars. This can make your potatoes turn sweeter and darker during cooking.

Store potatoes in a bin. Your potatoes likely came in a plastic bag from the grocery store. Either open the bag or store them in an open container. This lets the air circulate around the potatoes and keeps the moisture levels down. Too much moisture can cause your potatoes to go bad quickly.

Don’t store potatoes near apples. Fruits, especially apples, give off ethylene as they ripen. This organic chemical can cause your potatoes to sprout earlier.

Shelf Life of Potatoes

How long potatoes last depends on how well you store them. Correct storage adds months to the shelf life of potatoes.

If you grow your own potatoes, let them sit in a warm room with a temperature between 44 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit and high humidity for a couple of weeks after you harvest them. This allows them to cure so that you can store them for longer. Once you’ve done this step, move them to a cool, dark room.

After you’ve cooked potatoes, you can store them in the fridge for up to three days.

You can also freeze cooked potatoes. Boil them for at least five minutes before freezing. They will last for up to a year. However, potatoes have a lot of water and starch, which can separate during freezing, causing them to become watery.

Potatoes and Food Safety

Potatoes are often linked to food sickness. This is relatively rare, considering how many potatoes are eaten worldwide, but you should still take some steps to prevent it.

Certain types of potato dishes are more likely to cause food sickness. These include the following:

  • Baked potatoes in tin foil
  • Home-canned potatoes
  • Potato leftovers that aren’t properly reheated

To avoid getting sick, be sure to do the following:

  • Refrigerate food within two hours of serving it.
  • Keep baked potatoes hot at 140 degrees Fahrenheit until serving.
  • Take tinfoil off the potatoes to store them in the fridge.
  • Refrigerate pickled potatoes after opening.
  • Reheat potatoes to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove the green parts. Potatoes turn green if exposed to light and heat. Remove any green parts on your potatoes by peeling away the extra green flesh when you peel the potato.

You would have to eat a lot of alkaloids, which are in the green parts of potatoes, to get sick. This doesn’t happen often, but it’s possible, and there may be various symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Throwing up
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain‌

Cut off any sprouts. If your potatoes have sprouted, it’s a sign they’re about to go bad. It’s time to eat them. Remove and discard any sprouts. The potatoes might be green in sprouted areas, so cut those pieces away too. The rest of the potato is safe to eat.

Toss the smelly ones. Check for rotten potatoes. Potatoes that are soft and wrinkly with black spots are likely to have gone bad. If they smell bad, throw them out.

It’s worth storing your potatoes carefully so that they last longer. Choose potatoes that are firm and have no bruises, black spots, or blemishes.

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

CDC: “Prevention | Botulism.”

Food Source Information: “Potatoes.”

Food Standards Agency: “Home food fact checker.”

North Dakota State University: “Potatoes From Garden to Table.”

USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service: “Leftovers and Food Safety.”

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