Storing Potatoes In Ground: Using Potato Pits For Winter Storage
The potato plant needs to grow through winter and spring. During these times it grows very slowly and produces little or no fruit.
However, during the summer months when the temperature increases, the potato plants are able to produce their best quality products. When potatoes are stored properly they will last longer than any other foodstuff you could possibly store.
There are several ways to store potatoes. You can store them in ground, buried in soil, or even put them into a plastic bag.
All of these methods have advantages and disadvantages so choose what works best for your situation.
How To Store Potatoes In Ground: Using Potato Pits For Winter Storage
1) Place the potatoes in a hole dug out of earth (or dirt).
Make sure there is enough room around the outside of the hole to allow air circulation. If not, then the potatoes may rot inside the hole if left too long.
2) Fill with dirt until it reaches a depth of 3/4 inch (about 1 cm).
A good rule of thumb is to fill up half way with dirt and then add another layer of dirt over that before adding more soil. This will ensure that all the water drains away from your potatoes while keeping them dry.
3) After this is done, add more dirt to completely cover the potatoes.
At this time you may also add a layer of grass or leaves on top to prevent the potatoes from being exposed.
How To Store Potatoes In A Bag: Using Potato Bags For Winter Storage
You can store your potatoes in a bag along with the appropriate amount of dried leaves or grass.
1) Choose a bag that is made from natural fibers (such as jute, burlap, or hessian).
Do not choose a plastic bag since potatoes give off a certain amount of gas which can build up in a plastic bag and cause the bag to inflate and possibly even explode.
2) Place your potatoes inside the bag and then add dried leaves or grass all around them.
Do not add too much or else the bag will not be able to close properly.
3) Close the bag and then place it in an area that is cool, dark and dry.
However, make sure there is good ventilation. If you leave the bag in an airless place it might just explode due to the build up of gas from the potatoes!
How To Check If Your Potatoes Are Still Good?
Potatoes are relatively easy to check. All you need to do is gently press your thumbnail into the skin. If the nail enters easily then the potato is bad and if the skin stays intact then it is still good.
When you store potatoes, make sure you individually wrap each one in newspaper or a similar material. This is to prevent them from rubbing together and causing the potatoes to turn green.
Green potatoes are toxic to humans so this is something you definitely do not want!
When thinking of storing potatoes for the winter it’s important to remember that you need to keep them cool, dark and dry. Also, make sure that you do not leave them in the ground.
If you can, harvest your potatoes before the first frost hits because this will help prevent them from using up energy reserves that will be used over winter.
One more thing to remember when storing your potatoes is that they will last longer if you do not wash them. Since they store really well, the extra time you spend washing them is not really worth it.
Just brush off any excess dirt before you put them in storage and you should be fine.
If you store your potatoes properly, they should last for months and months without any loss of quality. Just remember to rotate your stock so that you use up the oldest potatoes first.
This is because over time, even if they are stored really well, they will start to turn green. Naturally this is a sign of toxins building up and while the potato itself may look fine and not taste bitter there is a chance that it may cause illness when consumed.
So as you can see, storing potatoes over the winter is really not all that difficult and they can last for a really long time if done properly. They are a great food source to rely on when other foods may not be readily available or they are simply too expensive.
This article proudly presented by our guest writer Freddy Jackson.
How To Store Potatoes:
You can store potatoes for long periods of time if you know how to properly prepare them.
Choose potatoes that are free of blemishes and disease. The skin of potatoes will protect the inside from damage and decay as well as giving them their unique taste and texture.
The first thing you should do before storing potatoes is to allow them to dry out. Freshly dug potatoes will usually have a higher water content which will lead to rotting if not dried out.
To dry them out place them in a single layer and allow them to sit out for about a week, turning them over once a day. If the air is very humid you may want to leave them out for two weeks.
Once the potatoes are fairly dry you can place them in a very well ventilated area so that they can “sweat” for about a week. The moisture will be drawn out of the potato.
You can then move them into your chosen storage area.
You should keep the temperature around 40 degrees F. (5 C.) and the humidity around 60%.
Never allow potatoes to become covered in frost which can lead to rotting. If you notice frost start to form you should remove the potatoes from the storage area until it dissipates.
You can keep the potatoes out for up to a month before they start to show signs of drying out and losing quality. At this point you should remove the potatoes and either cook or discard them.
Keep in mind that potatoes are part of the nightshade family of plants and will naturally keep for a long period of time if stored correctly. However, there are certain diseases that can be harmful if you choose to store them for longer periods of time.
If you are going to store potatoes longer than three months it is best to dry them out completely. This will eliminate the risk of them growing diseases due to high moisture levels.
One of the most harmful diseases that can occur is called Late Blight which can leave your potatoes looking deformed and inedible and can even be dangerous to humans if consumed.
Continue reading about growing potatoes:
Types of Potatoes You Can Grow
How To Grow Potatoes In Containers
Why You Should Consider Growing Your Own Potatoes
Or just go back to the list of our favorite Vegetables To Grow
The Green Thumbs Behind This Article:
Sources & references used in this article:
Sprout development of seed potato tuber after different storage conditions by JS Oliveira, D Moot, HE Brown, A Gash… – Agronomy New …, 2012 – academia.edu
Subterranean Storage Pits for Kumara (Sweet Potato, Ipomoea batatas L. Lam.): Ethnographic, Archaeological and Experimental by J Davidson, F Leach, M Burtenshaw… – New Zealand Journal of …, 2006 – academia.edu
Effect of different storage structures on self-life of potato tubers during winter months under high altitude cold desert of Ladakh region conditions by N Singh, D Angchuk, H Kumar – Progressive Horticulture, 2014 – indianjournals.com
Potato storage diseases by AEW Boyd – Rev. Plant Pathol, 1972 – cabi.org
Environmental life cycle analysis of potato sprout inhibitors by RPV Kerstholt, CM Ree, HC Moll – Industrial Crops and Products, 1997 – Elsevier
Potato storage and storage houses by W Stuart – 1930 – books.google.com
Storage of potatoes by A Rastovski, A Rastovski, A Van – 1981 – edepot.wur.nl