Potatoes are among the most popular vegetables used to cook, thanks to their versatility. If preserved in the right way, they can last for several months. It is important to take care of potatoes right from the purchase. If not properly preserved, in fact, these tubers can stain, sprout or rot, giving off a bad odor: in that case it will be necessary to throw them away, as they will no longer be edible. Let’s then discover how to correctly preserve the potatoes, so as to keep these vegetables for a long time, avoiding waste.

Selection and preservation of potatoes

When buying or collecting potatoes, start making a first selection. Discard those that are damaged or have cuts: in these cases you can consume them in a couple of days. Once you've divided them from the damaged ones, here's what to do.

Put the potatoes in a paper bag: it is important that they are well ventilated;

Preserve them in a dark and cool place, but without moisture: the best thing would be the cellar, but also a kitchen cabinet that you don't open often;

The temperature of preservation of the potatoes must remain between 4° and 10°: but do not preserve them in the refrigerator, because they could be altered. If preserved beyond 12°, instead, they will tend to sprout;

During preservation, check the potatoes often, so as to eliminate the damaged ones, which could contaminate the others.

If you have collected the potatoes from the garden, put them in wicker baskets, add some newspaper to each layer and cover also the top layer with some paper.

Signs to recognize potatoes in poor condition

The damaged potatoes can ruin the others too, so it is important to eliminate the vegetables in poor condition. Here are the signs to recognize them.

Green potatoes: if your tubers take on a greenish color, the flesh will be soft and withered. This can be caused by exposure to light. In these cases you can eliminate the damaged part, if not very extensive, otherwise you will have to throw them away.

Potatoes with sprouts: in these cases you will notice protrusions sticking out of the potatoes. If the tubers are still compact, and there are small sprouts, remove them and consume the potatoes as soon as possible. If the potatoes are full of sprouts and wrinkles, then it is better to throw them away: it means, in fact, that they contain a lot of solanine, a toxic substance that develops if the potatoes are exposed to light, heat or moisture.

Potatoes gone bad: if the potatoes are soggy or covered with mold, and give off a bad smell, remove all the rotten potatoes, and change the paper they came into contact with. Try to consume the others in a short time or check them more often.

Can potatoes be frozen?

Potatoes cannot be frozen raw. If you want to preserve them in the freezer, you will first need to cook them: only cooked potatoes can therefore be frozen. You can prepare them steamed, baked or in a pan. Once ready, leave them to cool, place them in food bags and freeze them: they can remain in the freezer for up to 12 months.

Mistakes not to be made

For a correct preservation of the potatoes there are some mistakes to avoid, which will allow to preserve potatoes for a long time.

Do not wash potatoes before storing them: if exposed to moisture, they will last much less and rot easily. It is therefore necessary to keep them dry and wash them just before using them.

Do not preserve the potatoes in the refrigerator: the temperature of the refrigerator is too low to adequately preserve the potatoes. The cold transforms the starch into sugar, making the potatoes sweeter, and can also alter the color, with the appearance of dark spots.

Do not leave the potatoes in the air once cut: in this case, cook them immediately, otherwise they will deteriorate in a short time. Alternatively put them in cold water and salt, and cook them within a day.

Do not preserve the potatoes near fruit: potatoes should never be preserved near fruits such as bananas, apples and pears, as they produce a substance called ethylene, a gas that accelerates ripening and which could favor the appearance of sprouts.