Onions and potatoes should be kept separately, but both in a cool, dark, dry place. Tomatoes should never be refrigerated (to avoid affecting flavor) and kept 'upside down', sitting on their stem end. I usually just keep tomatoes on the counter.
Hmm, but what can be considered a cool, dark place? I'm afraid my kitchen is sadly lacking in them. I've tried in my lower cabinets, but while they fit the dark criteria, they seem to be too warm because my potatoes always go bad in just a week or two. Is there some trick anyone knows of to create that cool, dark place? Thanks!
AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.
I live in a place where the temperatures are moderate year round, so too much heat is not usually a problem. That said, I keep my potatoes and onions in separate small crates on the floor of my tiny pantry, which is on an interior wall. One crate sits on top of the other, and that seems to be enough separation, when I also keep the potatoes in an open paper bag. It's also important to keep storage onions (yellow ones) and garlic in a well-ventilated container. How are your potatoes being treated before you bring them home from the store? Refrigerating potatoes speeds up their demise. For a lot more information on storing potatoes, onions, tomatoes and many other vegetables and fruits, take a look at Russ Parsons' excellent reference, "How to Pick a Peach." ;o)
A well pit is cool and works well. Unfortunately most city dwellers don't have one. If you have a basement that works well also. Dark is not as important as cool. Air flow is VERY IMPORTANT!!! Do not just bunch them all together. Potatoes if purchased in a net bag will last longer than those in plastic with the little holes. If you have a place you should hang them and not set them on the floor. Allowes for better air flow for both potato and onions.
A neat trick for large onions is to take old pantyhose, or nylons if you still use them, and put an onion in the toe then tie a not above the onion and put in another onion. Keep doing this till you reach the top. Hang them up and you have excellent air flow and when you want an onion just cut below the onion and it will drop out and the rest stay hung up.
The other answer was correct about tomatoes, The only time you want to place a tomato in refrigeration to cool it for a salad or whatever is to place it there about 15 to 30 Minuets before serving it. Longer than that and flavor is lost. To ripen a tomato quicker place it in a paper sack with a banana and roll the sack shut. A banana gives off the same ethyl gas a tomato does and it will ripen faster. Forget the windowsill story!!
(I was in the wholesale and retail produce business for years)
In the summer months when it's hot in your house, this will be more difficult. The BEST thing you can do is to buy in smaller quantities and use them sooner.
If you have a basement or cellar, that is ideal. You could also try storing them directly on the floor in an out of the way place, or near an AC vent, if you have one and run it. Alternately, you CAN store potatoes in the fridge if temperature is your main problem, though this can lead to flavor & texture changes, and moisture loss for extended stays in the chill-box, but they wont sprout as readily.
One trick used in the South for storing sweet onions. (which go bad very quickly) Is Panty Hose, nylon stockings.
You put in an onion..and knot it off....repeat with other onions..knotting the nylon..so all are separated and not touching and hang that in a dark closet.
To use you snip one off below the knot to use.
For potatoes...and this really depends on how long you want to store them. The bedroom is usually cool...so a cardboard box with news paper under the bed. (I've never done that myself..but I can see the technique.
(me, I just purchase fresh ones on demand).
Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.
Let the way they're packaged be a guide, too. Onions, garlic, fingerling potatoes, all tend to be packaged in net bags, which tells you that they need ventilation. I keep garlic heads in a bowl on my work table. Onions and potatoes are in baskets open to the air on a shelf at the end of it, out of direct sunlight. Tomatoes aren't refrigerated in the grocery store, so they shouldn't be at home, either.
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