Where to Store Potatoes If You Don't Have a Root Cellar

Proper storage will maximize your spuds' shelf life.

Every now and then, one of the stores I shop at has a big sale on potatoes. Now, I absolutely love potatoes. I could eat them every day and never get bored. I have even been known to (frequently) eat cold mashed potatoes right out of the fridge. My Father used to keep a jar of peeled, sliced potatoes in water in the fridge. He ate them with a little salt. (Don't knock it until you've tried it.) But, back to that sale. Yes, it's great to get a big bag for a good price. That said, what do you do if you don't eat them quickly? Potatoes can and do go bad fairly fast if you aren't careful. And if you have ever experienced the joy of a rotten potato… I'm just sayin'.

In the old days, a lot of people had root cellars. And root cellars were the perfect place to store not only potatoes, but lots of other crops as well. Alas, few of us, especially in large cities, have the luxury of a root cellar. So we need to find a way to mimic some of the conditions that made them the perfect place to store food.

Root cellars were: cool, dry, and dark. And, as it happens, those are the three most important characteristics needed for potato storage. I'd also suggest: no plastic, no onions or apples (as they both emit a gas that hastens sprouting and spoilage in potatoes), not touching other potatoes, and don't wash them until you're going to use them.

So where is a city dweller to find such a space? My suggestion is to find a cupboard that's not too near to your stove and clear it out. I realize that likely sounds impossible. Who has extra room in the kitchen or empty cupboards? Believe me, I get it.

But I decided to do just that — create space. And though the loss of a cupboard seemed, at first, painful, I soon realized that my potatoes were lasting weeks longer than they ever had. That more than made up for having to find new places for whatever had inhabited that cupboard before. And to tell you the truth, I don't even remember what used to be there.

And if you like these results, and I'm guessing you will, you might even find another cupboard you can "repurpose" for storing garlic and onions.

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