We enjoyed a great Thanksgiving and hope you did, too. Now, the holiday season is upon us!
Because so many holiday meals include potatoes—and because our fresh cranberries got all banged up in the bottom of the grocery bag then sticky in the fridge—we thought this might be a great time to go over Storing Spuds, 101.
To keep your spuds in tip-top shape for holiday feasts, just follow these easy-peasy guidelines.
Shopping for Potatoes
Match your potato to cooking method. Are you baking? Buy russet or sweet potatoes. Grilling? Go for whites or yellows. Making a salad? Reds or blues are a great bet.
No matter what kind of potato you plan to take home, select those that are clean, smooth, firm-textured and free from cuts, bruises or discoloration.
Storing for Freshness
Potatoes are happiest in a well-ventilated, sort of chilly place with temps between 45°F and 55°F.
Skip the fridge if you can: colder temperatures convert the starch in potatoes to sugar, resulting in a sweeter taste and maybe some discoloration when cooked.
If you do refrigerate your potatoes, let your spud treasure slowly warm to room temp before cooking. This can help reduce discoloration.
Please don’t stash your potatoes some place that gets HOT: for example, under the sink or next to some huge appliance. And remember: light is enemy number one for potatoes. Store them somewhere dark to keep them fresher longer.
Extend shelf life with perforated plastic bags or paper bags. And, like any fresh produce, wait to wash potatoes until you’re ready to eat ‘em. Prewashing just gets them all damp, which can speed spoilage.
Sprouting or Green Potatoes
A little green is no big whoop—just cut it away before cooking your potato.
Potatoes turn green due to a build-up of a chemical called Solanine. It’s a natural reaction to too much light. Solanine tastes bitter, and if eaten in large quantity can make you sick.
Sprouts just mean your potato is ready to grow. It’s not the end of the world, either. Just cut the area away before cooking. And next time try storing your spuds in a cool, dry, dark location that is well ventilated.
Gently scrub your spuds with a vegetable brush under cool running water. (Unless they’re PotatOHs, in which case we did that for you, already!).
Cook and eat ‘em with their skin on: it’s more nutritious. But if you must peel, don’t go too deep. Lots of the nutrients are close to the skin.
Sometimes potatoes that are cut and uncooked can oxidize and then look pinkish or brownish. This should not stop your big potato plans because 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.
Wait, what leftovers?
If you ever do have leftover potatoes, that’s probably a record or something. And, so, like with any other leftover foods, pop them in the fridge within two hours of serving to prevent food-borne illnesses.
Then, don’t let them sit there for weeks. Eat them within a few days or toss them out.
Last, but not least, when you freeze potatoes at home, you mess with their structure. They’re 80 percent water and will become watery when reheated.
That about covers it. But if you have more pressing potato questions, post them below. We’ll get back to you ASAP.