hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.
Cooks Illustrated tested potato storage methods several years ago. They concluded that the best way was to keep them in a cool, dry, dark place (50-60º F). (They also lasted well in the fridge) If you put an apple in the bag with the taters they will last longer, as the gases, etc... emitted by the apple prevent sprouting. The bag of potatoes with an apple in it lasted for 8 wks (the duration of the test) though 2 of the potatoes had developed small soft spots.
If the potatoes are turning green or sprouting you need to trim away all of the green bits and sprouts (they contain solanine which is toxic.)
Avoid storing them near onions. They don't get along well together.
This late in the year 'root cellar' type veggies (Potatoes and Onions) might have been sitting in the warehouse for a long time. So the potato you buy in Feburary might have been stored months before hitting the market today.
If you're wasting more potatoes than not, you might be better off buying a few loose potatoes instead of the bagged ones. It might cost more per pound, but if you're tossing a few pounds of potatoes each paycheck, it could be cheaper in the long run for you to buy individual potatoes. Besides, you can see and feel the freshness of loose potatoes. Select potatoes that are very firm, almost hard; they should have no green spots (a sign that they been exposed to light for too long) and should have no whites sprouting out of their eyes.
If your potatoes develop green spots (and they shouldn't if they're in a dark place), you can cut off the green area. The green tinge is chlorophyll from a sort-of photosynthesis and it's one sign that solanine is present. Bitterness is another sign. The white part of the green potato will taste fine and will not make you ill.
Most potatoes are treated with a sprout inhibitor. If yours are sprouting, it's because the chemical is wearing off and the potato is old. Small sprouts can be easily removed and the potato can be cooked as normal. Large sprouts will affect the taste of the potato, but all is not lost--you can plant the potato, the whole thing or, if there's two or three nice-sized sprouts, cut the potato so that each sprout has a good-sized chunk of potato attached to it. Place it 8" deep into the ground in late March, or into a five-gallon food bucket. (Check with grocery-store bakeries or fast food restaurants for free buckets.)
Anita is a vegan pastry chef & founder of Electric Blue Baking Co. in Brooklyn.
If I had this problem, I would suggest prepping the potatoes en-masse and freezing them in meal-sized portions. For example, if you use them a lot to make hash, dice up all the potatoes at once and freeze the cut potatoes in freezer bags or tupperware. If you like to make roasted potatoes, cut them up into chunks and divide into bags to freeze.
Not only will they last longer this way, but they'll be ready to go when you want to cook.
Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.
If you're looking for something to do with old potatoes, try this recipe that Amanda posted last year. I've made it several times, and it's really wonderful.
All good advice above, especially about storing them in a dark cool place. When a potato sprouts depends on: the variety; how long it has been out of the ground; exposure to light. I dug mine in early September and some (stored in a cool, dark, humid cellar with a dirt floor) are just beginning to sprout. The rest will sprout by the end of March, no matter what the conditions. They are so bent on reproduction at that point that they will put roots and sprouts right through the bags.
Grocery stores don't store potatoes properly, as they're in the light. My advice is to avoid the bagged ones and buy them in small quantities. You can also sometimes find potatoes that the store advertises as "new." The last idea would be to go with a CSA or local farmer in the area---that is, to buy potatoes freshly dug in season, then store them correctly. My best keepers are often Yukon Golds, but there are many many possibilities, depending on what is grown where you live.
To Antialectric - I like how you say you can freeze the potatoes. Can you leave the skin on when you freeze them. This can be to anybody who freezes them as well as to her. :) I prefer to eat most potatoes with the skin!
Yes, you can freeze with skin on. It's the best part :)
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