It is critical to learn how to store potatoes from the garden after all the hard work of growing and harvesting them. Or maybe after buying farm-fresh potatoes in bulk from the local farmers market.
If you leave your fresh potatoes on the kitchen counter, they will quickly start to sprout. Should you want to savor your produce to last longer and remain fresh you will take a few necessary steps.
The first and the most important is to allow the potatoes to grow for a longer period than normal. Keep them at least two more weeks past their harvest date. This will make their skins harden up and the fresh taste from harvest lost. Remember not to water them during these two weeks!
Preparing Harvested Potatoes For Storage
Sort out the Freshly Harvested Potatoes – The first step after harvesting potatoes is to sort through them. Sorting separates the best ones suited for storage from the rotten or bruised. Consume the bruised potatoes should first and do not store them at all.
Clean the Potatoes before Storing Them – If your potatoes do not have much soil, brush off the soil with a soft brush. Or place them on a cardboard box for a day or so to remove all the soil. If the soil is sticky, give your potatoes a few more days for the sticky soil to dry and scrub it off with a soft brush. Avoid washing your potatoes before storing them. Wash them lightly only if need be and allow them to completely dry.
Cure the Potatoes
Curing is a process that toughens up the potatoes further. Place the potatoes where there is a moderate temperature for about 10 days. After the spuds have cured, check them for any damage or rot. Remove any potatoes that have soft spots or green ends.
Store the Cured Potatoes – Store your cured potatoes in a cool environment for long term use. Choose a dry darkroom to store them within a temperature of 35 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Several Ways Of How To Store Potatoes From The Garden
There is more than one way to store potatoes. Here are some steps you can try to work with until you find the best that suits you.
Store in a Container that allows Good Ventilation
A cardboard box or laundry basket is an excellent choice for storing cured potatoes. Avoid the use of plastic bags because it leads to moisture retention. Cover the box or container you choose to use to prevent light exposure. Make some ventilation holes if necessary. Be sure to check them every few weeks to remove any soft, rotten, or sprouted potato.
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Rebury the Potatoes in the Soil
If you only want to preserve your potatoes through the late fall, use a simple preservation method. Put the potatoes back into the soil after harvesting them to preserve them. Dig broad trenches about 6 inches deep and place the potatoes on the bottom. Cover them with straw, loose soil, or several folds of the newspaper. This protects them from extra wetness from the rain. The potatoes stay fresh until you dig them up in the fall.
Blanche the Potatoes for Freezer Storage
If you have adequate spaces in your freezer why not store your produce. Frozen potatoes can last a year or longer. Peel your potatoes and put them in cold water making sure they are submerged so they don’t turn brown. Slice them in equal parts to ensure they will cook evenly. Rinse the potatoes and put them in a pot of boiling water to blanch for 3 to 5 minutes depending on their size. Remove them and plunge them in ice-cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain the potatoes once cool and put them in freezer bags. Use a vacuum sealer to seal to ensure no air moves in and out. When ready to cook them, remove them from the freezer, allow them to defrost, and cook as usual. You will get a better texture if you defrost in the fridge rather than the microwave.
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This is one of the easiest ways of how to store potatoes from the garden for the long term. Pressure canning is not reliant on refrigeration. You’ll need to use a pressure canner because it is safe for storage. You need quart-sized mason jars and salt to use in storage. Peel the potatoes and remove any eyes before chopping into halves. Place them in water-filled bowls and blanch for three to five minutes. Drain the potatoes and rinse them to remove the starch before putting them into sterilized mason jars. Fill them with hot water leaving only an inch of the headspace. Add a teaspoon of salt per quart for preservation. Wipe the rims before placing the clean lids and rings. Pressure can at 10 pounds of pressure for forty minutes.
Potatoes are a delicacy all year round! You cannot afford to not have them in your kitchen. You will appreciate the efforts to store your potatoes because that means you can enjoy them for longer!