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Know Your Produce: Potatoes

Image from the Maine Food & Lifestyle blog

  • Potatoes should be kept in a cool, dark place with good ventilation. the ideal storage temperature is 45 to 50 degrees F. At these temperature, the potatoes will keep for several weeks. Do not store potatoes in the refrigerator, as a temperature below 40 degrees F. will cause the potatoes to develop a sweet taste. This is due to the conversion of starch to sugar, which causes potatoes to darken when cooked.
  • If you store potatoes at room temperature, use them within a week or so.
  • Wait to wash potatoes, until you are ready to use them, as they will keep longer & this prevents loss of nutrients.
  • It is not recommended that you freeze cooked potato dishes, as they tend to become watery after reheating. As the potato is 80% water, this water separates from the starch causing the reheated potato dish to be watery.
  • Potatoes are easier to prepare and healthier for you when cooked with their skins on. Always rinse and scrub the potatoes thoroughly before using.
  • When you are using cut up potatoes in your cooking, preserve the color by place them in cold water. Limit the water soaking time to two (2) hours to retain the water-soluble vitamins. Color discoloration (pinkish or brownish) happens from the carbohydrates in the potato reacting with oxygen in the air. Potatoes that do become discolored in this way are safe to eat and do not need to be thrown. Usually the color discoloration will disappear with cooking.
  • Sometimes potatoes will get a spot that is a greenish hue. A potato in this condition is “light-struck” which causes a build-up of a chemical called Solanine. This is a natural reaction to the potato being exposed to too much light. (store out of light!) The green part, if eaten in large quantity, can cause illness. If there is slight greening, cut away the green portions of the potato skin before cooking and eating.


For more tips on boiling, baking and making mashed potatoes.