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Where do you store potatoes?

Potatoes are one of the most versatile and commonly consumed foods around the world. Knowing how to properly store potatoes is important for maintaining freshness and preventing sprouting or rotting. There are a few key factors to consider when determining the best way to store potatoes:

What are the different types of potatoes?

There are several main types of potatoes that require slightly different storage methods:

  • Russet potatoes – These have a rough, netted brown skin and fluffy white flesh. They are often used for baking, mashing, and french fries due to their starchiness.
  • Red potatoes – Small to medium round potatoes with thin, smooth red skin. They hold their shape well when cooked.
  • White potatoes – Smooth, thin white/tan skin with firm white flesh. Good for steaming, roasting, potatoes salads.
  • Yellow potatoes – Thin yellow/brown skin with yellow moist flesh. They have a waxy, firm texture.
  • Purple potatoes – Small to medium oval potatoes with purple skin and flesh. They have an earthy, nutty flavor.
  • Fingerling potatoes – Small, finger-shaped potatoes of different colors with a waxy texture.
  • Petite potatoes – Tiny, young, new potatoes with thin skin and a tender bite.

What conditions are best for storing potatoes?

The ideal storage conditions for potatoes include:

  • Cool temperature – About 45-55°F. Colder than this can cause starch to convert to sugar, resulting in a sweet flavor.
  • High humidity – About 90-95% relative humidity. The skin needs to stay moist to avoid shriveling.
  • Darkness – Light can cause potatoes to produce toxins and turn green.
  • Good ventilation – With airflow to prevent condensation which promotes rotting.

Creating these conditions can prolong freshness and prevent sprouting for up to several months. The exception is new potatoes, which should be used within a couple weeks before the skin toughens.

Where are good places to store potatoes at home?

Here are some suitable storage locations in most homes:

  • Root cellar – The ideal traditional spot if you have one, as they are underground and naturally cool.
  • Basement – A good option that is normally cool, dark and has decent ventilation.
  • Pantry – Works best if not near heat sources like the stove. Use a ventilated basket.
  • Cupboard – A cupboard or closet away from light is suitable. Use a paper bag.
  • Fridge – The high humidity helps retain moisture, but be sure to store in a perforated plastic bag in the vegetable drawer, not the door.

What are the best storage containers for potatoes?

The container you store potatoes in can impact how long they last:

  • Paper bags – Breathable and prevents excess moisture buildup. For short term storage.
  • Baskets/crates – Also breathable while protecting light exposure. Provide airflow.
  • Perforated plastic bags – Maintains humidity inside but allows gas exchange. Good for fridge.
  • Plastic containers – Seals in moisture. Only for 1-2 weeks before checking potatoes.
  • Burlap sacks – Historical favorite as it’s porous and natural. Reduces condensation.
  • Cardboard boxes – Affordable but can hold excess moisture. Check potatoes frequently.

Avoid storing potatoes loosely in plastic bags long-term, as this increases spoiling.

How should you arrange potatoes for storage?

Proper arrangement is also key for longevity:

  • Sort potatoes by size before storing. Similar sized potatoes have similar moisture needs.
  • Do not wash potatoes before storage, only brush off loose dirt. Washing removes their natural protective coating.
  • Remove any damaged, bruised, or green potatoes before storing the batch.
  • Spread potatoes in a single layer, not piled up. This prevents those at the bottom from rotting.
  • Use dividers in larger containers to separate them into “breathing” sections.
  • Place new potatoes on top of older ones, using oldest potatoes first.
  • Re-sort periodically, removing any spoiled potatoes and re-spreading in single layer.

What are signs potatoes are going bad?

Check stored potatoes about once a week for these signs of spoiling:

  • Wrinkling, shriveling, or softening skin
  • Sprouting from eyes
  • Green color under skin
  • Darkening or mold on surface
  • Rotten spots or mushy areas
  • Strange odor

A few sprouts are not harmful but potatoes with extensive sprouting or greening should be removed. Your whole batch can go bad rapidly if mold spreads.

How can you prevent potatoes from sprouting early?

To discourage potatoes from sprouting prematurely:

  • Maintain cool, consistent storage temperatures around 45°F.
  • Keep potatoes away from light which triggers sprouting.
  • Buy fresh, dormant potatoes and store immediately after purchasing.
  • Choose late-season potato varieties that resist sprouting.
  • Apply sprout inhibitor spray before storage according to directions.

Potatoes will eventually sprout after several months. Sprouting signals declining freshness and indicates they should be eaten soon.

What is the best way to store specific types of potatoes?

Ideal storage can vary slightly by potato variety:

Potato Type Best Storage Method
Russets Cool, dry basement in breathable container like box or basket. Keep around 50°F.
Red potatoes Cellar or basement around 45°F. Place in perforated plastic bag or paper sack.
White potatoes Pantry or cupboard in breathable bag for 1-2 months. Don’t refrigerate.
Yellow potatoes Pantry in paper bag for up to 4-6 weeks. Check frequently.
Purple potatoes Cellar or basement in paper bag for 2-3 months. Keep around 40°F.
Fingerlings Refrigerator drawer in open container for 1-2 weeks. Don’t wash before storing.
Petite new potatoes Pantry in paper bag no more than 1 week. Do not refrigerate.

What are the best ways to use up potatoes quickly?

If you have a potato surplus or they are close to spoiling, here are great ways to use them up:

  • Potato soup – Boil and puree into creamy soup topped with bacon, cheese, etc.
  • Home fries – Dice up potatoes and fry with onions and peppers.
  • Scalloped potatoes – Slice thinly and bake in cheesy cream sauce.
  • Potato pancakes – Grate potatoes, mix with egg and fry into patties.
  • Potato gratin – Layer potatoes with cream and cheese and bake.
  • Hash browns – Shred potatoes and fry into crispy breakfast side.
  • Potato salad – Boil and mix with mayo, mustard, onion, eggs, etc.
  • Gnocchi – Boil, mash, form into dumplings and boil again until they float.

Pre-cooking methods like boiling, baking, or roasting can help use up potatoes on the verge of spoiling.


Following proper potato storage methods allows you to maintain a quality supply to last through the season. The keys are controlling temperature, humidity, light exposure, and ventilation. Storing them in breathable containers in cool, dark spaces maximizes freshness. Checking potatoes weekly and removing any spoiled ones prevents rot from spreading. Adjust storage based on potato type and intended use. With the right conditions and vigilance, you can keep potatoes for months and avoid waste.