Potato Tips

Although most of us have had potatoes in the house more times than we can count, many of us still aren’t buying the best ones and storing them the best way.

  • Shopping

    • Match your potato to the meal you’re preparing. Are you baking? Buy russet or sweet potatoes. Grilling? Pick up some whites or yellows. Making a salad? Try reds or blues.
    • Look for clean, smooth, firm-textured potatoes free from cuts, bruises or discoloration.
  • Store for Freshness

    • Store potatoes in a well-ventilated, sort of chilly place with temps between 45°F and 55°F.
    • Skip the fridge if you can: colder temperatures cause the starch in potatoes to convert to sugar, resulting in a sweeter taste and discoloration when cooked.
    • If you do refrigerate potatoes, letting your treasure slowly warm to room temp before cooking can reduce discoloration.
    • Never store them someplace that’s going to get HOT, for example, under the sink or next to some large appliance.
    • Light is the number one enemy for potatoes. Store them somewhere dark to keep them fresher longer.
    • Perforated plastic bags or paper bags can help extend shelf-life.
    • Don’t wash your potatoes (or any produce) until you’re ready to eat ‘em. You don’t want to get them wet because dampness promotes early spoilage.
  • Green Potatoes

    • Green on the skin of a potato is the build-up of a chemical called Solanine. It’s a natural reaction to too much light.
    • Solanine makes a bitter taste, and if eaten in large quantities it can make you sick.
    • A little green is no big whoop—just cut it away before cooking your potato.
  • Sprouting Potatoes

    • Sprouts are a sign that your potato has started to grow.
    • Try storing your potatoes in a cool, dry, dark location that is well ventilated.
    • Sprouts are not the end of the world: just cut the area away before cooking.
  • Preparing Potatoes

    • Gently scrub potatoes with a vegetable brush under cool running water.
    • To keep more nutrients in, cook ‘em with their skin on.
    • The skin is tasty. And nutritious, too. So eat them with the skin on.
    • If you must peel, don’t go too deep because lots of the nutrients are close to the skin.
    • It probably goes without saying, but chop or handle potatoes on a clean cutting board.
    • Sometimes potatoes that are cut and uncooked can oxidize and then look pinkish or brownish. This is no big whoop and you can go ahead with all your big potato plans. The discoloration should disappear with cooking.
    • You can preserve the color of cut potatoes by keeping them in cold water with a little lemon juice or vinegar. But, to retain vitamins, don’t soak ‘em more than 2 hours.
  • Cooking Potatoes

    • Microwave or steam your potatoes instead of boiling. Water leaches some of the nutrients.
    • If you must boil, use that water to moisten your mashed potatoes or in soup.
    • Roasted, grilled, steamed, microwaved, baked, broiled, fried—you can cook a potato any way.
    • There are a million ways to enjoy potatoes. Dig through some recipes to find something you can’t resist.