When you have crops of homegrown potatoes, you can end up with a larger potato crop than you can eat or use in one go.
Rather than wasting them, there are certain ways of storing new potatoes and other varieties; store them in the home, in the shed, or storing potatoes in the ground over winter are all options.
However, you can’t just leave your potatoes and think they will last, you need to properly store them in a certain way, and there are a few things to know how to do this properly.
One thing you might notice is the grocery store-bought potatoes come with tougher skin, so your garden potatoes can bruise easier.
In our guide, you can learn more gardening tips about how to harvest and store potatoes. By the end, you’ll learn about drying potatoes after harvest, curing potatoes after harvest, and how to keep them longer in the right conditions. (Learn How to Grow Potatoes)
How Do You Store Freshly Dug Potatoes?
To preserve freshness, there are various best practices for growing potatoes and harvesting and storing potatoes.
Before your potato harvest, toughen them up by not watering them after mid-August and allowing the vines to die all the way back before harvesting.
Clean potatoes, brushed free of loose soil on potatoes produced in coarse, sandy soil, are the foundation for properly stored potatoes. If the soil is sticky clay, you may need to wash them before storing them, but make sure they are thoroughly dry before doing so.
Cure newly dug and cleaned potatoes in a dark, well-ventilated place with moderate temperatures and high humidity for a week to ten days to extend their shelf life. Reduce the storage temperature to around 40 to 45 degrees F for table usage after curing.
Because potato tubers contain roughly 80% water, high humidity is recommended to avoid shriveling depending on the type.
Keep the storage space dark since light will make your potatoes have green skin and render them unfit for consumption. When they turn green, Chlorophyll is harmless, but it is commonly accompanied by high quantities of a toxic alkaloid called solanine.
Although negligible amounts of solanine are harmless, eating too many green potatoes can cause disease.
Grow potatoes that will keep for a long time. Red potatoes don’t keep as long as yellow or white kinds, so you’ll need to know how to store red potatoes from the garden.
Thin-skinned potatoes, such as thick-skinned russets, do not store as well as thick-skinned russets.
If you want to plant potatoes from sprouted shriveled tubers in the early spring the following year, it isn’t recommended because of high disease levels. Using nutritious seed potatoes is a much better option. (Learn How to Plant Seed Potatoes)
How Do You Dry Potatoes After Harvesting?
How to store homegrown potatoes is a common question, but it isn’t as difficult as you might think if you follow the instructions carefully.
Maincrop potatoes are mature, full-size potatoes that are cured and stored for later use. When much of the top foliage has wilted and died back, maincrop potatoes are ready to harvest, which will be around 15 weeks after planting.
“New potatoes” are small immature potatoes. New potatoes are frequently eaten with their skins on. When newly harvested potatoes or early potatoes are ready, they can be used about 60 to 70 days after planting.
You can harvest new potatoes when the potato plant blossoms for another 2 to 3 weeks. Harvest potatoes on warm, dry days after a few days with no rain.
When you learn how to store new potatoes from the garden, you will begin lifting them from the soil carefully and taking as many new potatoes as you need.
You can set the plant in its original position and firm the soil, so the plant and remaining potato tubers continue to grow.
About 100 to 110 days following planting, mature or maincrop potatoes are ready to harvest 2 to 3 weeks after the potato foliage yellows, turn brown, and dies back.
Do not water potato plants between the time the plant dies back and your harvest before ground freezes. This dry period enables skins to “set” or harden, which you need before you harvest mature potatoes.
One of the key things you learn about how to dry potatoes for storage is to cure potatoes. It will help if you let potatoes cure for one to two weeks before you store them. In the skins, any cuts and bruises can heal after curing.
Let fresh potatoes dry in the garden for around an hour. The soil drops away from the tubers, and if any doesn’t, whisk it away with a soft brush. Washing potatoes after they’ve been harvested can reduce storage life.
After two weeks, move potatoes to a cooler 35 degrees to 40 degrees dark room or root cellar that has moderate humidity and ventilation if storing them over the winter. You can use paper bags to keep them dark, as a paper bag can still allow ventilation if not sealed too tight.
Potatoes shouldn’t be in the refrigerator as the air is too dry, and they shrivel. Store potatoes away from apples as they release ethylene gas that causes potatoes to deteriorate. If sprouts begin, break these off.
How Do You Store Potatoes Long-Term?
You’ll find three things to storing potatoes for the year: Curing them, store them at the right temperature, and keep moisture under control.
To cure potatoes, lay them in a cool, dry, and dark place. Keep temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees, and let potatoes rest for about two weeks.
The curing process makes skins tougher and helps potatoes keep longer.
For long-term storage, place the potatoes in a cool, dry, and dark area where there won’t be freezing temperatures or rise above 60 degrees. Make sure your storage container is well ventilated, such as a cardboard box with punched holes.
A few potatoes take on a sweet taste as they are stored. Potatoes in storage convert starch to sugars, and the storage in a dark area slows this process. You can find if this happens, the potatoes have a sweet taste when cooked, and that isn’t what you want with your mashed potatoes. (Learn How To Grow Onions)
How Do You Store Potatoes for the Winter?
Do you grow your potatoes or buy potatoes fresh in bulk from a farmers’ market? Here are five steps to keep potatoes fresh all winter long. Remove damaged potatoes or those where potato skin is green when storing fingerling potatoes.
Find A Suitable Area for Storing Potatoes: Fresh potatoes must be stored in a cool, dark environment of 45˚F to 50˚F and with a relative humidity of 95% to stop them from drying out.
Choose Potato Varieties, Which are Good for Storing: Some potato varieties have a better storage capability than others. If you purchase from a farmers market, ask the growers any varieties they recommend for storing potatoes long-term.
Cure Potatoes Before Storing: Curing potatoes toughen up the skin and help extend the storage life.
Pack Potatoes for Storing: Store unwashed, cured tubers in a dark area in covered boxes or bins with some holes for ventilation. Use boxes full of shredded paper and poke holes in for air circulation. Potatoes stored like this are kept away from each other when stored in your root cellar or pantry.
Check Stored Potatoes: Check every few weeks in your root cellar in case you have a rotten potato as this can spread to others should they touch. Just because they have tough skin doesn’t mean they won’t rot without you knowing. You never know what has happened at a farmers’ market, and a bruise can ruin your potato. Likewise, you can find some may sprout prematurely if exposed to light.
Storing potatoes in the right way means you can have a constant supply for several months. Temperature and humidity will have a large part in this.
Yet, many homes meet these criteria, and as long as you dig carefully at the end of the growing season and the plants begin to die back, you are well on your way to preserving your bumper harvest of potatoes ready to eat. (Read What To Do With Sprouted Potatoes)
You can keep these all winter long, as you can follow the above and keep them in your home where it doesn’t get too warm or too cold.
The significant thing is once you have stored potatoes for one year, it is easy to do it again and again. You will quickly find you appear to have a never-ending supply of potatoes for all the family.