Storage Tips to Prolong the Shelf Life of Potatoes
by Reader Contributors
Buying potatoes in bulk can help reduce food costs if you can use them before they go bad. Use these storage tips to keep potatoes fresh longer.
Dear Dollar Stretcher,
What’s the best way to store potatoes so they don’t grow or get wimpy? I typically buy the 5 lb. and 10 lb. bags when they are on sale but never seem to be able to use them all before some go bad.
Potato Storage Tips
We asked our frugal readers to share their favorite potato storage tips and tricks. Borrow one of these ideas to prolong the shelf life of your potatoes.
Store Potatoes in Doubled Paper Grocery Bags
Here’s how I store potatoes a few weeks without them sprouting.
As soon as I get them home from the store, I take them out of the original packaging and put them in a doubled, paper grocery bag. Then fold the top down several times and clip it shut with two clothespins. Works great for me!
Lala in Ocala, FL
Store Potatoes with an Apple
Place any kind of apple in with your potatoes in a cool dark place. This will keep them from sprouting.
If you have a large quantity of potatoes, two apples may work better.
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Keep Them from Heat and Humidity
I like storing potatoes in my pantry. I live in Florida. I place them in a metal pan and spread them out with space around them, keeping them low to the floor so they stay cooler. In the north, I would store the same way in a cool basement.
Keep them away from heat and humidity. Make sure you smell them before purchasing, as a smelly bag will mean spoilage very soon. Do not store potatoes in the fridge.
Potatoes Are a Way of Life for Her
I am of Irish descent and potatoes were a way of life for us growing up. Here is what I’ve learned about storing potatoes and my potatoes last a long time.
- First, take care in selecting potatoes at the store. Make sure that there is no moisture. Check the eyes for beginning sprouts. And make sure that there are absolutely no soft or damaged spots. Also, make sure there is no green tint as that means too much sun exposure, which produces a harmful substance that can be toxic.
- Always take the potatoes out of the plastic bag. Plastic keeps moisture in, which promotes mold. If possible, I keep them on a shelf in a cool dark place with a tiny amount of space between each potato. Therefore, if one starts to go bad, it doesn’t spoil the others. If space is at a minimum, then a wire basket will do. It allows circulation of air.
- A basement or cellar is best if the temperature stays a consistent 55 degrees.
- Never store near or beside onions, as they have significant moisture. Potatoes need to be stored in a dry atmosphere.
Now, bake, stuff, mash, fry or scallop and enjoy your potatoes anytime!
Storing Potatoes in Layers
Potatoes are affected by too hot or too cold household temperatures. Therefore, in the summer, I may have to put them in the lower level/basement.
I have found that I can store ten pounds underneath my kitchen sink by layering them with newspaper in a rectangular plastic cleaning bucket or wastebasket. I start the first layer by talking two full sheets of newspaper, opening them up, and pressing down into the bucket so that it covers the bottom and extends up both sides. I place a single layer of potatoes on the paper. Then both sides are folded over the potatoes as insulation. Then I do another layer with two more sheets of newspaper, encasing the potatoes. A third layer is the last for the size of my container. I check each potato for sprouts before they go in and, of course, for any that might have bad spots that would spoil. Each time I need potatoes, I lift out what I need and also lift the next two layers quickly, checking to be sure none are starting to spoil. The newspaper seems to keep out any excess moisture, which makes them go bad. By checking, I can quickly remove any that are going bad before the entire layer is affected.
And, I go one step further by also using that container to store my three-pound bag of onions. Each onion is wrapped in a sheet of newspaper and placed on top of the potato layers.
If I have red, white, and yellow onions, I mark the red with a black pen so I know what I’m getting without unwrapping all of the onions. I’ve read you shouldn’t store potatoes and onions together, but isolating one from the other with newspaper seems to take care of any mingling problems. Now I rarely have more than one or two vegetables go bad.
Related: 14 Ways to Buy Produce for Less
For the Forgotten Potato…
Store potatoes in a cool, dry place away from the light. I have a bin in a cupboard that’s away from the dishwasher, as the dishwasher puts out a lot of heat. Line the bottom of the bin with newspaper or old paper bags to reduce moisture buildup. Don’t put raw potatoes in the fridge, as they go slimy quicker. Try not to buy too many, though it’s tempting to stock up.
One time I had a shriveled potato that had grown shoots, so I cut it into pieces (one shoot per piece) and planted them in the garden, as it was late spring. By September, I was able to dig up the resulting plants. Each piece produced a meal’s worth of new potatoes for our family of three (about 10-12 little potatoes on each plant), so save this idea for spring if you happen to find a forgotten potato at the bottom of the bin!
Reviewed March 2021
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