How To Store Potatoes So They Don't Go Bad

You will never go hungry as long as there are potatoes in the pantry.

This seemingly bland and inexpensive starchy vegetable can be cooked any way you can imagine – boiled, broiled, baked, or fried, and served up in breakfast casseroles, side dishes, and even loaves of light and airy potato bread. Learn how to store potatoes correctly so you don't wind up tossing valuable food in the compost pile.

sack of potatoes
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Give Them Proper Air Flow

If you buy a pre-packaged bag of potatoes, the plastic bag should already have air holes. You can keep the potatoes in this bag, just make sure not to seal it too tightly. If you purchased just a few loose potatoes, transfer them to a cardboard box, basket, mesh bag, paper bag, or another well-ventilated container. Potatoes release carbon dioxide and water in the form of a vapor, so a tightly sealed bag will get damp without proper ventilation. Before putting them away for storage, inspect all the potatoes for soft spots, sprouts, mold, or shovel damage. Cut away any damaged areas and use those potatoes immediately. Only perfect potatoes will keep well in long-term storage.

Keep Them Out of Sunlight

Potatoes should not be kept out in the open on your countertop. Potatoes are plants and, when exposed to sunlight, they begin to produce chlorophyll, turn green, and eventually wrinkle and rot.

Keep Them Away from Moisture

You do know how potatoes grow, don't you? In the dark, moist ground. So, if you store potatoes in a dark, moist environment, such as underneath your sink, they will continue to grow and sprout.

Keep Potatoes in a Cool and Dry Environment

As previously explained, potatoes should be placed in a cardboard box, mesh bag, or basket to ensure good ventilation. Store your potatoes in a cool, dark place (45 to 50 F is the ideal temperature range), such as your pantry or unheated basement. Do not store them on top of your refrigerator or next to your stove, as both spots emit heat. And never store potatoes in the refrigerator – the cold temperature turns the potato starch into sugar.

Separate Fruits and Veggies

Fruits and vegetables should not be stored together, adds Jerlyn Jones, a registered dietitian nutritionist based in Atlanta. "For example, she says, apples and potatoes stored together produce ethylene gas, which make both apples and potatoes rot."

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  1. Wheeler RM, Fitzpatrick AH, Tibbitts TW. Potatoes as a crop for space life support: effect of CO2, irradiance, and photoperiod on leaf photosynthesis and stomatal conductanceFront Plant Sci. 2019;10:1632. doi:10.3389/fpls.2019.01632

  2. Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chemung County. Storage Guidelines for Fruits & Vegetables. Accessed March 10, 2013.

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