Potatoes are among the most loved and used vegetables in the kitchen, thanks to their versatility. If preserved in the right way, then, they can last for several months. Usually potatoes are bought in bags or boxes, and it is important to take care of them right from the purchase. If not properly preserved, in fact, these tubers can stain, germinate or rot, giving off a bad smell: in that case you will have to throw them away, as they will no longer be edible. Let's find out how to properly preserve potatoes, so as to keep these vegetables for a long time, avoiding waste.
Selection and preservation of potatoes
When you buy or harvest the potatoes, you 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.
- Place the potatoes in a paper bag or leave them in the bag in which you purchased them: it is important that they are well ventilated;
- Keep the potatoes in a dark and cool place, but without humidity: the best thing would be the cellar, but also a kitchen unit that you don't open often;
- the preservation temperature of the potatoes must remain between 4° degrees and 10° degrees: but do not keep them in the refrigerator, because they could change. If preserved above 12° degrees, however, they will tend to sprout;
- during preservation, check often the potatoes, so as to eliminate the damaged ones, which could contaminate the others.
If you have collected the potatoes from the vegetable garden, put them in wicker baskets, add some newspaper to each layer and also cover the top layer with paper.
The signs to recognize potatoes in bad condition
Damaged potatoes can also ruin the other ones, which is why it is important to eliminate vegetables in bad condition. Here are the signs to recognize them.
If your tubers take on a greenish color, the pulp will be soft and withered. This can be caused by exposure to light. In these cases you can eliminate the damaged part, if it is not very large, otherwise you will have to throw it away.
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. In the event that the potatoes are full of sprouts and wrinkled, 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 humidity.
Potatoes gone bad
If the potatoes are mushy or covered with mold, and they give off a bad smell, eliminate all the rotten potatoes, and change the paper with which they came into contact. Try to consume the others in a short time or check them more often.
Is it possible to freeze potatoes?
Potatoes cannot be frozen raw. If you want to preserve them in the freezer you will have to cook them first: only cooked potatoes, therefore, can be frozen. You can steam them, or cook them in the oven or in a pan. Once ready, let them cool, put them in food bags and freeze them: they can remain in the freezer for up to 12 months.
Mistakes to avoid
For a correct conservation of potatoes there are mistakes not to be made, which will allow you to preserve them for a long time.
- Do not wash the potatoes before preserving them: if exposed to moisture, they will last much less and will rot easily. You must therefore keep them dry and wash them only shortly before using them.
- Do not preserve the potatoes in the refrigerator: the temperature of the refrigerator is too low to properly preserve potatoes. The cold turns the starch into sugar, making them sweeter, and can alter their color, with the presence 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 fruit such as bananas, apples and pears, as they produce a substance called ethylene, a gas that accelerates their ripening and which could favor the appearance of sprouts.