Potatoes are the budget-friendly kitchen workhorse that never fails to satisfy. Whether you serve ‘em up in a breakfast hash, roast them for an herb-studded side to a crispy-skinned whole chicken, or enjoy them as a deep-fried and salty accompaniment to a burger, these tubers are downright delicious. That’s why we never hesitate to reach for the five or even 10-pound bag of spuds at the grocery store. The only problem is that, unless we have plans to make mashed potatoes for a small army, it’s hard to use them all up before they begin to sprout, go soft, or even turn sickly green and rancid. Fortunately, the solution is fairly straightforward: Here’s the lowdown on how to store potatoes properly so you never have to waste your prized purchase again. (Hint: Stop tossing them in the crisper drawer.)
1. Store the cream of the crop. Pick through your potatoes as soon as you bring them home and discard any that are showing signs of deteriorating. Potatoes that have begun to sprout or no longer feel firm should be thrown out, or else they might spread the disease to healthy spuds.
2. Then leave them be. To maximize their shelf-life, do not scrub, peel, or wash potatoes prior to storage. The introduction of moisture will make your spuds go soft no matter where you store them and since their skin serves a protective purpose, keep it on and don’t attempt to remove dirt with a dry brush, either. Instead, save the prep work for when you’re ready to cook up your taters.
3. Ditch the plastic bag. Yep, we’ve basically been doing everything wrong, (Sorry, spuds.) Potatoes fare best when stored in a well-ventilated area and even though those plastic bags often have a few holes punched in them, they still don’t do a very good job of letting the vegetables breathe. When you get home from the store, transfer your unwashed potatoes into a wire basket, mesh bag or paper bag. Note: If you use a paper bag, leave the top open to promote air-flow.