When you purchase or harvest produce, how do you store it? Do you toss everything in a large tabletop bowl and call it a day, or do you stow everything in the fridge in hopes of better preservation? Properly storing produce may be more complicated than you’d think. If you’ve ever been frustrated by produce ripening at an unfavorable rate and turning over prematurely, there’s a good chance you’ve been misplacing your goods this whole time. Like other popular produce, potatoes have certain guidelines for optimal shelf life. Globe Bag Company Inc
. looks at common produce storage mistakes as well as steps to properly store your potatoes.
Common Mistakes Made When Storing Produce
In our complete guide to proper potato storage, we want to start by giving a few reasons as to why different produce tends to spoil and what you should avoid when storing your produce.
Overharvesting or Overbuying Produce
One reason you’ll likely find your kitchen ridden with rotting fruits and veggies is that you’re buying or harvesting way too more than you’re consuming or selling. When you overstock your pantry, cabinets, and countertops with produce, not only does this lead you to misplace produce by one another, but it also increases the odds of you storing produce in unideal spaces to accommodate for all your groceries.
Do yourself a favor and consider purchasing and harvesting in moderation. Set realistic expectations for how much you’ll eat or sell to prevent your kitchen from overflowing with spoiled goods.
Refrigerating the Wrong Food Items
If you default to putting all your produce in the fridge, we’re here to encourage a second thought. Of course, your leftovers will almost always go in the refrigerator, but newly purchased produce is a different story.
For example, potatoes require cool storage temperatures, but not quite as cool as the fridge or freezer. If you put your potatoes, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and citrus in the fridge before cutting into them, you’ll actually hinder and expedite their ripening process.
Storing Produce With Other Ethylene-Emitting Produce
Ethylene is a natural gas hormone that some fruits emit when ripening, such as apples and bananas. Fruits commonly produce more ethylene than vegetables because they mostly bloom on trees—the higher the fruit plant, the more ethylene the fruit is likely to produce.
Each fruit and vegetable have a unique response to ethylene. Because some fruits and vegetables are extra sensitive to ethylene, it’s essential that you separate them when storing. Listed below are a few popular ethylene producers to be wary of when finding proper storage for your potatoes.
- Honey dew melon
Stowing Your Produce in Plastic Grocery Store Bags
The thin, plastic bags that you find near produce at the grocery store are great for keeping your produce from rolling around the cart. However, you should always remove your produce from these flimsy bags once you get home and store each item according to best storage procedure per each type of fruit and veggie.
Misusing Refrigerator Drawers
There are different ways to store produce in the little crisper drawer in the fridge, though most folks aren’t aware of which methods are best for their produce. The way you set up your crisper drawer influences the space’s humidity level, which in turn, effects your produce.
Some produce drawers have a small slide opening. An open drawer allows for more ventilation and less humidity, while a closed drawer increases the humidity levels. Rarely would you utilize a low-humidity setting, unless storing fruit—which should be left outside of the refrigerator to start.
Keeping Your Food in Warm or Sunny Areas
Imagine produce that’s been sitting in the sun for a couple of hours; doesn’t sound too appetizing, right? That’s because heat and fresh produce aren’t a good match.
Heat typically increases how quickly produce ripens, which can unfortunately cause it to spoil quicker, too. All this said, you should avoid placing fresh produce near any hot machinery (i.e., by the microwave, oven, stove, etc.), vents, or high up, as heat rises.
The Best Methods for Proper Potato Storage
Below, you’ll find tips to wrap up our complete guide to proper potato storage. With knowledge on what to avoid and the best practices for storage, you’ll be sure to maximize your potatoes shelf life.
First, Do a Thorough Inspection
You should always inspect your potatoes as you harvest them or as you select them from the market. Meticulously check for soft spots, mold, sprouts, and shovel and pest damage. When it comes to long-term storage, only premier potatoes will hold.
Place Them in a Box, Bag, or Basket
For proper storage, your potatoes need ventilation. Because plastic bags don’t offer essential airflow, place your potatoes in either a cardboard box, paper or mesh bag, or a basket. Globe Bag Co. has paper potato sacks for sale
that are conveniently equipped with mesh windows for ideal ventilation. They also don eye-catching labels, so you can keep your kitchen’s storage tidy and chic or attract customers’ attention should you be selling your potato harvest at farmers’ markets.
Store Them in a Dark, Cool, and Humid Space
The ideal temperature for potato storage is 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The space should also be dark and humid, making an unheated basement an ideal spot for your spuds.
A couple other satisfactory locations for your potatoes would be your pantry or a cabinet. Wherever you end up storing them, be sure to keep them away from sinks, stoves, heating vents, and the refrigerator.
Check Your Potatoes Frequently
A big mistake that many folks make when storing their spuds away is that they forget about them. You should perform routine checks on them to check for any molding or softening. Always toss any soft or shriveled potatoes, as these could cause the rest of your stowed taters to go bad.
What To Do If Your Potatoes Sprout
Contrary to their unsightly appearance, potatoes that have some sprouts are still safe to eat. The only time you should not eat a potato with sprouts is when it’s soft to the touch or shows signs of shriveling.