If you are wondering how to store potatoes, you should understand just what kind of vegetable they are. First when thinking of storage, you may be asking potatoes vs sweet potatoes. Let me just say that the curing and storing of these two are basically same procedure. These hardy vegetables, potatoes and sweet potatoes, are tubers and they grow underground. They develop a very thick flesh that is sugar filled in the immature state and very starchy when older. Many potatoes are harvested while still young and tender, referred to as “new potatoes”; others are left in the fields to mature so their skins become tough so they are easy to ship and store.
When growing my own white potatoes, I cannot wait to dig up a few “new potatoes” to add to green beans or simply boil and eat with butter. At this stage of growth, potatoes are so delicious. I continue digging potatoes throughout the summer to subsidize our meals but the majority of them are left in the ground to mature. These mature potatoes, along with sweet potatoes, are what we enjoy all through the fall and winter months. Leave tubers in the ground at least two weeks after the vines have died allowing for the skins to toughen up more. You want to dig up all the potatoes when the weather is dry and before the ground freezes in your area.
Knowing how to store potatoes makes it possible to have them until next year’s crop is ready. Check out varieties which grow in your area to find the best types for storage like the Yukon Gold. More important than the variety is the process in which you store them. Find a cool dark place in your home to cure the potatoes. After digging up the potatoes and sweet potatoes, place them out on a cloth tarp, blanket or papers in a single layer; the air will toughen the skins; you may want to even place a fan on them to help dry. My brother kept his potatoes like this all winter long in part of his barn; this also can be done in a basement. Most of us are not fortunate enough to have this space.
After sorting through the tubers looking for bad spots, I gather them up and store in baskets. I layer them in paper and sometimes wrap individually in paper towels. Any potato or sweet potato being stored should be firm, not having any signs of sprouting or bad spots. Store roots and tubers unwashed because any moisture will encourage decay. Both potatoes and sweet potatoes should be stored outside the refrigerator. When storing potatoes in a refrigerator, potatoes will develop too much sweetness and sweet potatoes will develop hard cores. Store in a dark humid well ventilated room; do not store with apples.
Even though you are not advised to store potatoes in the refrigerator, I do at times. I sort through my baskets occasionally to make sure there are no bad ones which will “contaminate” all the others. When I find some and I do not have the time to prepare them, I do move them to my refrigerator. This prevents any more deteriorating until I am ready to use them.
HOW TO STORE POTATOES IN THE FREEZER: When I have potatoes which are beginning to go bad, I like to freeze them. I have found the easiest way and BEST way to do these is by throwing all of them in the oven to bake. Bake only until they begin to soften, not too soft. Remove them from the oven and let cool. After cooling, remove all the peel, cut the potatoes how you like them, place in freezer bags and freeze. I love them this way, especially French fries. I cut French fries, sliced and grated potatoes; they come in so handy.
HOW TO STORE POTATOES AND SWEET POTATOES BY CANNING: I love canned new potatoes. You can also can the mature ones but they need to be cut into smaller chunks.
HOW TO STORE POTATOES AND SWEET POTATOES BY DRYING: Some people prefer to dry potatoes for storage. You can do this by slicing into ¼ inch rounds; peeled or unpeeled is your choice. Blanch potatoes for 5 minutes. Mix 2 quarts of cold water with ½ cup lemon juice. Drain potatoes and soak in lemon water for 45 minutes. Drain thoroughly and towel dry. Place in dehydrator and follow manufacturer’s directions.
To use dried potatoes, soak in equal parts of potatoes and water for 25 minutes. People who prefer this method of storing potatoes claim the flavor and texture is more like that of fresh potatoes than of cooked potatoes. I find this is true with most vegetables that are dried; after cooking they tend to be a little firmer. The soaking in lemon water prevents discoloration. After rehydrating, use these potatoes in your recipes just like you do raw potatoes.
I use some of my frozen gated potatoes to make a side dish for meals or sometimes I make it for breakfast.
Melt butter in a skillet; add potatoes and onion and stir until hot.
Add beaten eggs, salt and pepper; stir until eggs are cooked and serve.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Alternate layers of potatoes and onion in a greased casserole dish.
Dredge each layer with flour, dot with butter and season with salt and pepper.
NOTE: I like a good bit of butter for flavor; it can be limited if restricting the fat.
Combine and mix soup and milk; pour over casserole.
Cover and bake about 1 hour or until potatoes are tender. Serve 8
If you learn how to store potatoes by drying, this would be a good recipe to try. You can simply chop the slices very find before mixing.
Grate potatoes or chop finely; add onion, beaten egg YOLKS, flour, baking powder and bacon and mix well.
Beat egg whites until stiff; fold into potato mixture.
Drop by spoonful into skillet with hot fat; serve with applesauce. Serve 6
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Mash cooked sweet potatoes with half of the butter; place in a casserole baking dish.
Sprinkle top with walnuts, then molasses and brown sugar; dot top with remaining butter.
Cover and bake about 20 minutes until hot and bubbly; REMOVE cover and top with marshmallows.
Return to oven until marshmallows melt and turn toasted.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Combine sweet potatoes, ¼ cup butter, milk, eggs, sugar and salt; pour into buttered baking dish.
Combine flour, 2 tablespoons butter, brown sugar and pecans; sprinkle on top of sweet potato mixture.
Bake about 20 minutes or until top begins to brown.