Potatoes are one of the best crops you can grow! Nutritious, substantial sources of food, they also keep well over the winter, if you know how to store them right. Whether you’ve been growing them and would like to do a big harvest to keep them all over the winter, or you’re buying them in bulk from the farmer’s market before it closes from the winter, it’s important to use the best storage practices so they don’t rot or sprout through the winter months. Potatoes are wonderful for hearty winter dishes so it’s imperative to store them well!
Here are a few tips for keeping potatoes preserved over the winter:
Keep it cold
Wherever you choose to keep your potatoes, make sure you have a cold environment. This is what old-fashioned cellars were commonly used for. The ideal location will have a relative humidity of 95% so that the potatoes don’t dry out, and stay around 45 to 50 degrees Farenheight. This can be your basement, unheated garage, enclosed back or front porch or of course, a cellar.
Keep them separate
One very important tip is to keep your potatoes away from fruits or onions, which put off gasses that will cause the potatoes to rot and spoil much faster. You want to keep the potatoes anywhere they won’t be trapped with the gas from these fruits, so in their own containers with plenty of room in between the gassy produce.
Cure the potatoes
Before you pack them up for storage completely, it can help to spread them out in a well-ventilated tray, in a single layer, to let some air circulate and to dry the skins a bit. Leave them here for several weeks before packing in their long-term storage.
Pack them up
You can use boxes, baskets or even plastic laundry hampers, to pack up the potatoes. The most important thing is to have air circulation throughout the container the potatoes are in, so if you are using a box make sure there are some holes or slats in the side. You can use shredded paper, newspaper or even very dry hay or straw to pack the potatoes. Make sure they’re just not all piled up on top of each other, and spread them out in between the dry medium you’ve chosen.
Check them frequently
Obviously, you should be using the potatoes throughout the winter, or maybe you’re not, but either way, you want to check the potatoes frequently to make sure they’re not rotting. Poke through each of your containers from time to time and eliminate any rotting potatoes and the surrounding medium. If you are frequently taking from your potato stash this should be easy, just check the rest of them each time you take some to use.
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