PotatoStorage & Handling

Where should you store potatoes? Watch the video below. Interested in delicious recipes, see our Potato Recipes page.

Buying & Storing Potatoes

Buying

Look for clean, smooth, firm-textured potatoes with no cuts, bruises or discoloration.

Proper Storage & Handling

Download the Fresh Handling and Storage Guide

  • Store potatoes in a cool, well-ventilated place.
  • Keep potatoes out of the light.
  • Colder temperatures lower than 50 degrees, such as in the refrigerator, cause a potato’s starch to convert to sugar, resulting in a sweet taste and discoloration when cooked. If you do refrigerate, letting the potato warm gradually to room temperature before cooking can reduce the discoloration.
  • Avoid areas that reach high temperatures (beneath the sink or beside large appliances) or receive too much sunlight (on the counter top).
  • Perforated plastic bags and paper bags offer the best environment for extending shelf-life.
  • Don’t wash potatoes (or any produce, for that matter) before storing. Dampness promotes early spoilage.

What to Do with “Green” or Sprouting Potatoes
  • Green on the skin of a potato is the build-up of a chemical called Solanine. It is a natural reaction to the potato being exposed to too much light. Solanine produces a bitter taste and if eaten in large quantity can cause illness.
  • Will consuming potatoes with green patches make you sick? Click here to find out.
  • If there is slight greening, cut away the green portions of the potato skin before cooking and eating.
  • Sprouts are a sign that the potato is trying to grow. Storing potatoes in a cool, dry, dark location that is well ventilated will reduce sprouting.
  • Cut the sprouts away before cooking or eating the potato.
How to Freeze Fresh Potatoes

Fresh potatoes can be frozen; however, you need to take a few extra steps to ensure that their quality will hold up in the freezing process.  Before freezing potatoes, you will need to cook/blanch your potatoes. Blanching simply means to par-cook and rapidly cool an ingredient. So, let’s get started.

To prepare and freeze your potatoes:

  1. Cut them into whatever shape you plan to use them in. If you want dices for home fries, then you’ll cut them into little cubes. If you want shreds for hash browns, then you will use a box grater, want fries then cut them into long strips. As you cut them into their desired shape, place the potatoes directly into cold water with just a tablespoon of lemon juice or distilled vinegar.
    • Don’t worry; this won’t impact the taste of your potatoes; it will just prevent them from oxidizing (turning brown).
  2. While the potatoes are all cut and soaking in the water, you want to get ready to cook your potatoes. For simply cut or grated potatoes, you just want to cook the potatoes until they are partially cooked, not raw yet not cooked all the way.
    • This will ensure that you’re able to cook your potatoes to the correct doneness when you go to prepare them out of the freezer. You will want to either boil or steam your potatoes. For larger cuts, boiling them is an efficient method as it’s easier to determine the level of doneness simply by inserting the tip of a paring knife into the potato. For thinner cuts like shredded hash browns, steaming them in a stovetop steamer is effective because less water will be absorbed.
  3. Once the potatoes are partially cooked, you’ll want to cool them off rapidly to stop the cooking. To do this, simply drain the potatoes if they were boiled and spread them on a baking sheet lightly sprayed with non-stick spray.
  4. Arrange the potatoes in an even layer and place them in a cool spot in your kitchen or even in the refrigerator until they are cool enough to handle.
  5. Once the potatoes are blanched and cool, you can now place them in the freezer. At this stage, you can even season them, so they are ready to go right out of the freezer. To season the spud, lightly spray them with your favorite type of oil, there are lots of oil sprays on the market nowadays. Canola or Vegetable Oil is the most common and can take the highest heat, so that is what we recommend. Once the potatoes have been sprayed with oil, choose your favorite seasoning. Lightly sprinkle the seasoning on the potatoes, gently turn them over with a spatula, and season the other side. Place the baking sheet of seasoned potatoes into the freezer and allow to freeze overnight.
  6. Once the potatoes are frozen, they can be bagged in resealable freezer bags and stored for up to 10-12 months. Although they are best when used within 6 months.
How to Freeze Fully Cooked Potato Recipes

Fully cooked potato recipes freeze well too. Mashed potatoes are a great option to freeze, because of the fat content, they retain their texture. To freeze mashed potatoes, simply allow them to cool completely. Place the mashed potatoes into resealable freezer bags and press them, so they are in an even layer.

  • Not only does this help in saving space in your freezer, this also allows the potatoes to thaw faster. You can even gently reheat them in the bag.
  • Potato based soups can also be frozen, along with chowders and stews.
  • Leftover baked potatoes can be frozen, but to ensure even reheating, we recommend turning them into steak fries by cutting them into wedges first before freezing.
  • Cut leftover baked potatoes in half and scoop out the filling. Mash the filling with a little butter and cream, fold in cooked bacon, shredded cheddar, and chopped green onions. Spoon the filling into the potato shells and arrange them on a baking sheet skin side down. Place the filled potato shells into the freezer and allow to freeze overnight. Place the stuffed shells in a resealable freezer bag in one even layer. You now have twice baked potatoes ready to pop in the oven at a moment’s notice.

 

Take Care: How to Handle and Store Fresh U.S. Potatoes

U.S. fresh potatoes are living foods! They continue to undergo metabolic processes after harvest, making proper handling and storage critical to quality. Familiarize yourself with these best practices to keep potatoes in prime condition from the point of purchase onward. And remember: careful treatment can slow potato metabolism, but it can’t stop it.

Environmental Factor: Temperature

Potential Problem:

What to Do:

Environmental Factor: Humidity

Potential Problem:

What to Do:

Environmental Factor: Light

Potential Problem:

What to Do:

Environmental Factor: Sanitation

Potential Problem:

What to Do:

Environmental Factor: Handling

Potential Problem:

What to Do:

References: Fresh Potato Handling and Storage Guidelines. Dr. Joe Guenther, University of Idaho.

How to Freeze Fresh Potatoes

Fresh potatoes can be frozen; however, you need to take a few extra steps to ensure that their quality will hold up in the freezing process.  Before freezing potatoes, you will need to cook/blanch your potatoes. Blanching simply means to par-cook and rapidly cool an ingredient. So, let’s get started.

To prepare and freeze your potatoes:

Cut them into whatever shape you plan to use them in. If you want dices for home fries, then you’ll cut them into little cubes. If you want shreds for hash browns, then you will use a box grater, want fries then cut them into long strips. As you cut them into their desired shape, place the potatoes directly into cold water with just a tablespoon of lemon juice or distilled vinegar.

While the potatoes are all cut and soaking in the water, you want to get ready to cook your potatoes. For simply cut or grated potatoes, you just want to cook the potatoes until they are partially cooked, not raw yet not cooked all the way.

This will ensure that you’re able to cook your potatoes to the correct doneness when you go to prepare them out of the freezer. You will want to either boil or steam your potatoes. For larger cuts, boiling them is an efficient method as it’s easier to determine the level of doneness simply by inserting the tip of a paring knife into the potato. For thinner cuts like shredded hash browns, steaming them in a stovetop steamer is effective because less water will be absorbed.

Once the potatoes are partially cooked, you’ll want to cool them off rapidly to stop the cooking. To do this, simply drain the potatoes if they were boiled and spread them on a baking sheet lightly sprayed with non-stick spray.

Fully cooked potato recipes freeze well too.

Mashed potatoes are a great option to freeze, because of the fat content, they retain their texture. To freeze mashed potatoes, simply allow them to cool completely. Place the mashed potatoes into resealable freezer bags and press them, so they are in an even layer.

 

 

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