5 simple tips to store potatoes so they last for months

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5 simple tips to store potatoes so they last for months
Never store potatoes with onions, apples, and bananas, which can speed up sprouting.fotokris/Getty Images
  • Store potatoes in a well-ventilated basket or netted bag in a cool, dark place to maximize shelf life.
  • If placed in ideal conditions, potatoes will keep for weeks — or even months.
  • Steer clear of putting potatoes in the fridge, which will alter both their flavor and texture.

There's a reason potatoes are sold by the bagful at supermarkets everywhere: They can be prepared in a wide variety of ways and — unlike most produce — will keep for weeks or even months. And while potatoes are overall pretty resilient, there are right and wrong ways to store them.

Whether you have russets, gourmet fingerlings, or sweet potatoes, all spuds should be stored using these tips and tricks for the longest shelf life possible.

How long do potatoes last?

The shelf life of a potato really depends on how it's stored. A fresh, blemish-free potato that is kept under ideal conditions can keep for several months.

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If potatoes are stored above 55°F, they will dehydrate quicker, shrinking their shelf life. Even under less than ideal conditions, the starchy tuber will often keep for a few weeks.

The best way to store potatoes

Follow these five tips to store your potatoes properly:

  1. Choose good potatoes. "Potato storage starts at the supermarket," says Frank Muir, president and CEO of the Idaho Potato Commission. Look for spuds that are blemish-free without cuts, dark spots, or soft spots; they should have even-textured skin with minimal, shallow eyes, and no green. Potatoes with blemishes tend to spoil quicker in storage.
  2. Keep them dry. While it might be tempting to give your dusty spuds a rinse before storage, resist the urge. Moisture can easily get trapped on the skin and in the eyes of the potatoes and create an environment that is too moist, causing a musty smell and quicker aging. Muir recommends you "store them as-is and wash only when you are ready to use them."
  3. Place in a basket or bag. One key to keeping potatoes fresh is proper air circulation. If you've purchased a bag of potatoes, they are often sold in a netted bag that allows air in and out. In that case, you can leave them stored in the bag. Otherwise, Muir recommends placing potatoes in a "well-ventilated basket or bowl to allow air to circulate around them." An open paper bag will work in a pinch.
  4. Find a cool, dark place. Potatoes are grown underground and they like conditions to be as close to home as possible — dark and cold. The optimal temperature for storing potatoes is between 45°F and 55°F, so a cellar is ideal. If you're not lucky enough to have a chilly basement, keep potatoes in the darkest, coolest location available. Muir likes "a pantry that's not near a heat source like the stove or dishwasher… a closet or even the garage during certain months of the year." No matter what, don't store potatoes in the fridge.
  5. Rotate your stash. Every time you reach for a potato, check on your stash and rotate to prevent bruising. See if there are any potatoes that are beginning to go bad and use them up, putting newer potatoes on the bottom.

Don't put your potatoes in the fridge

Storing potatoes in the refrigerator is a big no-no. "When potatoes get too cold, their starch content converts to sugar creating a sweeter tasting potato and changing the way they perform when cooked," says Muir.

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Even if your home is too warm for ideal potato storage, you will get better results sticking your spuds in the coolest, darkest spot you can find than opting for the fridge.

The starch-to-sugar conversion is also why raw potatoes don't freeze very well. If you're keen on using the freezer for long-term storage, slice or chop potatoes and blanch them before freezing for best results. Be sure to let them drain completely before freezing and use within a few months.

Can you store potatoes and onions together?

You've probably heard that potatoes and onions should never be stored together and the common piece of kitchen advice is indeed a science-backed fact.

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Keep your precious potatoes away from any ethylene gas-emitting produce, which not only includes onions, but also apples and bananas. The gas will age your potatoes and cause them to sprout much quicker than if they were stored away from these fruits and veggies.

Are sprouted potatoes safe to eat?

Even though they've been picked, potatoes are still alive, so "no matter what you do, they will still sprout," says Muir. "The good news is that sprouting isn't bad, it's a natural process. If you see a little sprout, just pick it out. The potato is still safe to eat."

Quick tip: Storing potatoes properly will help keep them from sprouting too much or too quickly.

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Can you eat green potatoes?

If your potato has turned green, it's likely due to light exposure and you should find a darker location for storage. A little greening is fine, just trim the green peel as best you can and cook the potato as planned. If the entire potato has turned green, it's best to toss it out and learn from your mistakes.

Do potatoes go bad?

How can you tell when a potato has gone past its prime? Give it a squeeze. If the potato is soft and/or wrinkled, it's gone bad. Totally green potatoes should also be tossed, along with any spuds that have an off smell.

Insider's takeaway

Potatoes do best when stored in a cool, dark place away from sources of heat. Avoid the fridge — which is too cold — and ethylene gas-emitting produce such as onions, apples, and bananas. Under ideal conditions, the spuds could potentially last for months.

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