Why are our potatoes always sprouting? Whether we buy all-purpose white potatoes (photo #2) or a bag of creamer potatoes (photo #4), if we don’t use them in a week, they start to sprout.

We turned to the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) for advice.

Potatoes aren’t as perishable as lettuce, for example. But when it comes to perishable foods, specifically potatoes, notes the IPC, it can be a challenge trying to keep them fresh for weeks.

Like all produce, potatoes need to be stored properly in order to stay fresh. If stored well, they can be usable for weeks, even months.

Here are tips from the Idaho Potato Commission to ensure your potatoes remain fresh as long as possible.

It seems that we failed to observe two of them; hence our sprouting problem.
 
 
POTATO STORAGE TIPS

1. Potato Storage Starts At The Store

Look for potatoes that don’t have any cuts or bruises; they tend to spoil more quickly. A perfect Idaho® potato has smooth skin and few and shallow eyes.
 
2. Don’t Wash Yet

You may be tempted to wash your potatoes as soon as you get home. Don’t! The little bit of dirt you may see protects the potato and keeps it from prematurely spoiling.

3. Keep Potatoes Cool But Not Cold

Store your potatoes between 45° and 55°F and never put them in the refrigerator (the average refrigerator temperature is 35°F).

  • If potatoes are stored below 41°F the starch will turn to sugar, creating a slightly sweet taste and possibly affecting cooking performance.
  • If potatoes are stored above 55°F they will dehydrate more quickly (keep in mind potatoes are about 80% water).
  • Cellars are the ideal place to store potatoes. If you don’t have a cellar, a cupboard that’s not next to the oven or other heat source will work.
  •  
    4. How They’re Stored is Key

    It’s okay to store the potatoes in their retail bags; however, they’ll hold up a little better if you remove them from the bag and place in a well-ventilated basket or bowl (photo #3). This will allow the potatoes to ”breathe.”
     
    5. Stay Away from the Light…

    Potatoes are living organisms and can reproduce on their own. Too much light (sunlight or indoor light) will “wake them up” and cause the potato skins to turn a greenish color.

  • This is normal, but green skins give the potatoes a bitter flavor.
  • It’s still safe to eat them. Just peel off the green part and prepare as desired.
  •  
    6. Stay Away From Onions

    Onions release ethylene gas that accelerates potato ripening. So keep the onions far apart!
     
    7. Uh Oh, My Potatoes Sprouted

    Sometimes potatoes will begin to sprout from their little “eye” indentations. This is normal. Pick off the sprout and the potato is ready to be prepared.
     
    8. Rotate

    FIFO means First In, First Out. If you still have a few potatoes left from your last grocery shopping trip, use the older ones first.
     
     
    For more tips on preparing and storing potatoes, visit the IPC’s in-house expert, Dr. Potato.
     
     
    CHECK OUT OUR ONION GLOSSARY:
    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF ONIONS

     


    [1] Mixed potatoes: all-purpose white potatoes, fingerlings, red jackets and russets (photos #1, #2 and A#3 © Idaho Potato Commission


    [2] All-purpose white potatoes.


    [3] A basket of russet potatoes, the most-grown potato in North America. Idaho® is the trademarked name for russets grown in Idaho. The russet’s flesh is white, dry and mealy. It is good for baking, mashing and French fries. The two major varieties are the Russet Norkotah and the Russet Burbank. These days, more Norkotah is grown because its shape is more reliably uniform.


    [4] Creamer potatoes. Due to their petite size, some consumers call them baby potatoes (photo © Melissa’s).

     
     
    ABOUT THE IDAHO POTATO COMMISSION

    Established in 1937, the Idaho Potato Commission is a state agency that is responsible for promoting and protecting the famous “Grown in Idaho®” seal, a federally registered trademark that assures consumers they are purchasing genuine, top-quality Idaho® potatoes.

    Idaho’s growing season of warm days and cool nights, ample mountain-fed irrigation and rich volcanic soil, give Idaho® potatoes their unique texture, taste and dependable performance. These ideal growing conditions are what differentiate Idaho® potatoes from potatoes grown in other states.

      


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