alpine flowers at Grey Rock

Monday, August 2, 2010

Storing Potatoes

Potatoes are not as fussy as some things about their storage needs. Cool, dark, and mostly dry are the main ingredients of happy storage, but a little moisture in the air doesn't seem to bother them. The temperature as long as it isn't hot or freezing seems to be OK, but between 50 and 60 would be ideal. The darkness is probably the most important as they will not know they are no longer buried as long as they don't see any light. In light, they will turn green which indicates they have a naturally occurring toxin, solanine, building up in them. This is the same with sprouting which will also happen in the presence of light. I try not to pile them up too deep in boxes, but have them in only a couple layers, easy to take a look at and remove any questionable ones that might affect the rest of the group. Most of them will keep through the winter until spring approaches and they know something else should be going on. Save the ones that are the size of small hen's eggs to replant. If you live in a temperate zone that isn't extremely wet, you can leave your potatoes in the ground under mulch and dig as needed. You only have to worry about bugs and gophers finding them.

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