HOW TO STORE POTATOES FROM CONTAINERS
Article by David Marks.
Storing potatoes grown in containers is no different from storing potatoes grown in open ground.
With correct storage methods and growing the correct varieties it's possible to be eating container grown potatoes from June to January. Earlies don't store for long periods but are produced early. Maincrop potatoes mature late but store well.
PREPARING THE POTATOES
The best potatoes for storage are maincrop potatoes. Use first and second early potatoes as you harvest them.
Harvest maincrop potatoes on a sunny day. Remove them from the container and place them on dry ground or a ground sheet rubbing off the larger lumps of compost. Leave them to dry in the sun for a couple of hours turning them once. This will thicken up the skin slightly and that will definitely potential storage time.
Only store potatoes which are in good condition, those which have broken skin or are blemished should be eaten first.
WHAT TO STORE POTATOES IN
The basic principle of storage is that potatoes must be kept dry, cool, dark and at the correct temperature. Never use plastic bags for storing potatoes because the potatoes will sweat and rot surprisingly quickly.
Hessian sacks are the best but you will need to buy them and they are expensive. They do last for several years though. Just as good and possibly free, are old pillow cases. Cheap, new pillow cases are cheaper than hessian sacks.
Another good and free storage container is the humble paper bag. When your local fish and chip shop buys in potatoes they often come in paper bags. Ask them and they may be only too happy to give you them for free. Another source of these largish paper bags will be your local greengrocer. Strong paper bags will only last for one year but they are free.
WHERE TO STORE POTATOES
Potatoes should be stored in the dark. This will stop them turning green and also reduce the risk of sprouting. They should also be stored in dry conditions. Moisture causes potatoes to rot.
Temperature is key but probably the most difficult to control. We describe the best temperature range and why, you can only do your best to get near the correct temperature.
Don't freeze uncooked potatoes, they will simply turn to mush!. If potatoes are stored at below 5°C the starch in them begins to turn to sugar and this adversely affects their flavour. If your fridge is set correctly it will be around 4°C so the fridge is not really an ideal place to store potatoes.
The best temperature for storage of potatoes is in the 6°C to 8°C range. This is hard to maintain in the average house but that is what you are aiming for. An unheated (or infrequently heated) room in your house is probably the best option.
Store your potatoes in hessian bags, pillow cases or paper bags. Make sure they are stored in dark, dry conditions. Store them in a cool room in the house.
Check your stored potatoes every month or so and discard any potatoes which show any deterioration. Occasionally the odd slug or two can be transferred into the storage bag with the potatoes, although this is less likely with container grown potatoes because the soil is very crumbly and falls off easily.
Some people add a couple of slug pellets into the
storage containers to attract the unwanted slugs. Undeniably
it works but examination of the chemicals in slug pellets
prevents us from doing that!