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Hunter-gatherer
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had a batch of store-bought potatoes I put in a wicker basket in a dark corner of the basement and 3 of the red ones got all mushy and went bad. How is the best way to store them? I have 28 potato plants (half and half red and Russet) that are close to being ready to dig-up and I don't want to chance them going bad on me (this is my very first garden). I'm depending on these for sustenance through the winter.
 

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Hi Steve ...

I don't think I can help but I thought I'd write because I have the same question.

Here's what I've decided to do, since I'm not sure and I don't want to keep waiting:

-- Bought some of the #10 cans of hash browns (I love hash browns!) cuz I know they will keep well in the #10 cans.

-- Bought about 10 boxes of instant potato flakes and I'm going to put them in mylar bags with the O2 absorbents. Not sure if they will keep long but that's all I know to do.

-- Canned potatoes are a safe bet but I think you're talking about the garden variety.

-- As for potatoes from a garden, I'll be facing the same thing soon. I'm fixing to take a stab at gardening and I already have all of my seeds. All I can think of is either go to a search engine and try to find info there or, as in my case, maybe contact the people I ordered the seeds from and get some advice.

Good luck! ... Robin
 

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Ensure they're dry and air can get to them. Dark and cool (45-55F). Store in something that will wick moisture away (I use wooden bins with a piece of fleece in the bottom). Ensure all potatoes are GOOD, no nicks or bruises, and check them periodically to remove any that have developed soft spots. Every time I take some from the storage bins I move the top ones from each bin into the empty bin I use for rotating. This way I can continuously check for damage or rot and remove those I see starting for first use.

Store potatoes alone. Do NOT EVER store potatoes near apples or onions. They will rot quickly.
 

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Also, besides dark and cool, do not wash them before storing them. Brush clods of dirt off, but leave the rest on. I used to buy a pickup load from local growers when I lived in Idaho. Put them in the root cellar (cool, dark, and just the right humidity) in a big slatted box and be careful not to cause bruises; they would last most of a year. Certainly through winter. I don't have a root cellar now, but wish I did. I just store mine in the coolest, darkest place I can find and make sure there's plenty of ventilation. Of course there's no place cool in Texas right now...
 

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Christian
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Store in a slatted wooden box; layer them with clean straw and newspaper making each layer 1 potato thick.

I know of someone who added a bit of lye to the layering although I have never done this.

Keeping them cool, dark and dry is the key.
 

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Potatoes are naturally designed to overwinter in the ground.

We cannot do that here due to low freezing temps, people historically have used a root cellar which closely approximates in ground storage.

The closer you can get to the natural way of storing them the better you will likely do.

You want it totally dark if possible, you want a fair humidity level, you want no wind, no freezing temps.

No matter what you do some will inevitably go bad, even commercial potatoe places have potatoes go bad.

One thing to point out is that many of the potatoes here in the US come from Idao and Oregon, they have huge in ground storage pits where they are stored for up to 6 months or so at a time before they are sold to stores.

When you buy potatoes you could be buying potatoes already 1/2 year old or older, this makes it more tricky to store them for any length of time.

The potatoes you dig out of the ground will be much fresher than what you buy in the store. They will likely store a bit better than the store boughten ones did.

I am going to try this winter to store potatoes in crate filled with soil, I am just curious if that will keep them in better shape.
 

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I used to work as a sampler in the Simplott cellars at Bell Rapids near Hagerman (ID)! And yes, many of the potatoes you buy have been stored for a good part of a year. Also, the potatoes you buy in the store are also not the best...those go to the french fry producers!
 

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Hunter-gatherer
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
and don’t forget if you think a potato is likely to go bad, you can make mashed potatoes and then freeze them for a long time.

I didn't know that. Thanks.

I'm really trying to save everything I can in a way that I won't have to depend on a freezer (electricity). But I can freeze a bunch and just eat them first. I LOVE mashed potatoes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I used to work as a sampler in the Simplott cellars at Bell Rapids near Hagerman (ID)! And yes, many of the potatoes you buy have been stored for a good part of a year. Also, the potatoes you buy in the store are also not the best...those go to the french fry producers!

Yep, that's exactly why I planted my own.
 

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Is there any special recipe to make mashed pototoes that freeze well? I usually add a little bit of butter and milk, anyone tried to freeze theirs before?
 

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You could try to dig a hole, lay grainstraw in the bottom, then add the potatoes, then another layer of grainstraw over them again and then throw earth over. I'm not a fan of that metode myself, but maybe you can have use of it...

If you have problems whit frost (please note that i dont have a clue if your neighbour i Mexico or Canada) you can try to have a bucket of water next to your potatoes in the basement. Rotate the bucket now and then.
 

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Rebel with a cause
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In south Louisiana its too warm to store potatoes in the winter for very long, Dig a root celler in Aug and in Jan you will have a swimming pool. The old timers stored them in the barn under hay - would last 3 to 4 months. I can mine with the pressure canner. You can also can soups and stew with the potato in them.
 

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I read somewhere, perhaps on this board, that during the GREAT DEPRESSION, some people would dig a relatively deep hole, maybe about 3 feet deep (below the frost line but above the water table), line it with wood, to make a quicky root-cellar...primarily because in some instances there was no refrigeration nor the availability of ice for the old-fashioned ice-box.

The straw may help somewhat, but you may still get little buggy critters getting "comfty"...you might be better off lining it with thin sheets of closed-cell foam. A sailors' trick for keeping the nasties away from or out of small outdoor nooks and crannies is to place a few fabric-softener sheets in an old stocking and just hang it inside your stash...it will not contaminate anything...and it has kept the nasty wasps from building nests in my sailboats. Not just potatos, but you can store freshly laid eggs for several months...PROVIDED that they have not been refrigerated previously.

I've spent a lot of time on the wine-dark seven seas...if there is a BARNES & NOBLE BOOK STORE in your ao's, check out the section on sailboats...not the floating condo-types, but REAL SAILBOATS written by REAL VOYAGERS/SURVIVALISTS...a lot of stuff which will make you say, "Why didn't I think of that"! Really, the worst case is asea...and they learned/knew what to do. Their knowledge is applicable to out landlubber needs.
 

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they can be dried as well its a bit time consuming but it last as long as they are kept dry ,,,i store mine in laundry baskets,,,the common plastic with fairly big holes around the outside,,,makes it easy to see if any are starting to go bad,,,watch for wet spots
the other thing to consider is the type,,,reds usualy get soft first then whites,,but i had golds stored right beside reds an whites last year ,,,by spring the reds were tangled masses of sprouts,,,whits had good sized sprouts an gold had just started they were still firm and could of lasted another month easy
 
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