Tasty potato dishes for your family
Besides being yummy, versatile and nutritious, potatoes are also one of the longest-lasting foods you can keep. Even simply left on a kitchen counter, unpeeled and uncut raw potatoes can stay relatively fresh for a week to two months. But stored the right way, and you can actually prolong their shelf-life for up to 4-6 months.
Just follow these simple tips!
1. Sort your potatoes
You know that old saying, ‘a few bad apples spoil the bunch’? The same goes for potatoes. Bruised, shrivelled, greened, sprouted, softened or blackened potatoes can release high amounts of glycoalkaloids and other natural toxins, which cause other healthy potatoes to rot. So always sort out the damaged ones.
You may not need to discard them entirely, however. Minor damages such as green spots, bruises and sprouts can be cut off, but the potatoes should be cooked within a day. If you can’t cook them all right away, slice to smaller pieces, keep them soaked in cold water and store them in the fridge overnight.
2. Let them breathe
Potatoes need air to stay fresh. Choose a container that allows good ventilation, like a net bag or a basket. Just be sure to never keep them in an airtight container.
3. Don’t mix with fruits & onions
Keep your raw potatoes separate from fruits like apples, pears and bananas, as well as onions. They release a natural gas called ethylene when they ripen, which causes your potatoes to sprout faster.
4. Keep cool, dry & dark
Sunlight activates your potatoes’ natural chlorophyll production, which causes them to green. Temperatures higher than 10°C makes your potatoes sprout faster, which converts the starches to sugar, spoiling their natural taste. Lastly, moisture makes your potatoes mould and rot faster. Raw potatoes’ skins are their best natural protection from the elements. Cut and peeled potatoes are exposed to more oxygen, thus quickening the oxidation process and also blackens them.
So, store your potatoes unpeeled and unwashed; in a cool, dry and dark spot like an enclosed kitchen cabinet away from the sink. Also, avoid keeping raw potatoes in the fridge – too cold, and the starch-to-sugar conversion starts up as well, ruining their texture, colour and flavour.
Once you’ve stored them, keep an eye out for blackened, greened and softened potatoes; as well as sprouts. Remember that even one ‘bad’ potato can spread to the rest, so remove them whenever you find them.
5. Mash to freeze
Run out of storage space? Boil and mash your potatoes, then use an airtight container to keep in your freezer. This can last up to a year, so long as your freezer temperature is maintained at -17°C.
6. Cure your garden potatoes
If yours are home-grown potatoes, curing before storage can make them last longer. Layout your harvested potatoes on a few layers of newspaper, in an enclosed spot with no exposure to sunlight, and keep the temperature cold at 10°C to 15°C. Leave them undisturbed for about two weeks, for the skins to dry and thickened. Brush off the dirt, and they’re ready for storage.