Owners of a private house with a cellar rarely face the problem of crop preservation. On the other hand, it is much more difficult to store potatoes in an apartment, because you need to find a cool, dark place. It is definitely not in an ordinary kitchen or pantry. Some store potatoes on the balcony, others think about the refrigerator. But in any case, the right choice of place affects the safety of the product. Let’s analyze how to store potatoes correctly.
To begin with, you need to remember that not all varieties of potatoes can be stored until spring. Early ripening tubers can lie only until November. Then they gradually begin to germinate, wither, lose their taste and are not suitable for cooking. It is better to choose late-ripening varieties for culinary purposes. They ripen only in late autumn and can be stored even at room temperature.
It is necessary to prepare the harvest for storage. If this is not done, then the tubers simply will not reach the spring. It does not matter whether the potatoes remain as planting material or for culinary purposes, in any case, broken or spoiled tubers should not be stored. If they are not removed, then almost the entire crop will suffer.
It should also be noted that it is not necessary to keep potatoes separately from other vegetables. True, she can be near only certain species. For example, beets can and should be placed on top of potato tubers. This will not only help save space in the cellar or on the balcony, but will also save the potatoes from rotting, as beets perfectly absorb excess moisture.
Selection of potatoes
To store potatoes in the apartment for a long time, you need to approach the choice responsibly. Harvesting of tubers begins in autumn, when the mid- and late-ripening varieties have already been harvested. Only then can you hope that potatoes will be stored normally in the winter. At the same time, it is necessary to select only high-quality tubers – they should be strong, fairly dense, with a smooth, healthy skin without any damage, spots or rot. Late varieties often have a thick skin. Under it, the tubers should be elastic and without signs of fatigue.
If possible, it is better to choose potatoes where they have not been washed before putting them on the counter. Only in such cases it is possible to understand whether this potato was originally dry and clean. If dirt sticks to it, it means that it was dug when the rains had already started. Such tubers contain an increased amount of moisture, so they are not suitable for long-term storage.
Do not buy potatoes with a greenish skin. This means that the tubers remained under direct sunlight for a long time, because of this they began to synthesize solanine, a poisonous substance that gives potatoes their green color. For humans, solanine is toxic, so such potatoes cannot be eaten.
Many housewives advise buying potatoes of two or three varieties for storage. If one of them will be stored worse, the other can lie longer, so that some part of the stock will still remain.
To begin with, you need to properly prepare potatoes for storage. An essential condition is that the tubers must be dry. If possible, potatoes should be dried immediately after digging the crop. To do this, the tubers are kept in the sun for 2-3 hours, no more is needed. This is enough for the earth to dry and its lumps to fall off the surface. At the same time, it is not recommended to leave potatoes in the sun for a long time because of the solanine mentioned above. Such drying prevents rotting of tubers during storage.
It is necessary to sort the potatoes. It is best to prepare several containers so as not to get confused:
- Planting material is placed in one bucket, that is, what will be planted next spring. Medium-sized tubers are suitable for these purposes. The main thing is good quality and smooth skin without damage.
- Potatoes with serious defects or traces of rotting are placed in another container. Then all this should be mercilessly thrown away.
- Tubers with minor damage that occur during digging and transportation are placed in the third container. They cannot be stored for a long time, but they can still be used as food.
Strong tubers are placed in a separate container, for example, in a prepared box, which can be stored all winter.
The question of whether it is possible to wash potatoes before storing them causes a lot of controversy. Of course, if the surface is clean, then all defects will be visible on it, so it will be easier to identify problematic specimens. But washed tubers are not stored for so long, and they need additional time to dry. It is not very convenient to dry potatoes at home on polyethylene film, so many housewives prefer not to wash them.
Methods of storage
In a private house, the issue of storage is solved more easily. Most likely, it will be a cellar. In an apartment, it is much more difficult to decide where to keep supplies, but this task can be solved. Potatoes can be stored in an apartment in several ways:
- A box of potatoes can be placed under the sink in the kitchen. There, this vegetable will receive the optimal level of humidity, it will be able to provide complete darkness. Ideally, it is better to use a wicker box for storage. Cardboard is unlikely to last long. If you cannot find a suitable container, you can drill several holes in a plastic bucket or box. Tubers should not be placed in closed plastic bags or bags under any circumstances – they need a constant flow of air.
- A balcony or loggia is also a suitable place for storage, but only in winter, when the required temperature is maintained there. In this case, it is better to take a box not made of plastic, but of boards, since the wood “breathes”, excluding the appearance of condensation. If the balcony is not glazed, you will need to take care of the insulation of the box. Its inner part can be lined with foam plastic, which allows some air to pass through, and on top it should be covered with any unnecessary warm things – for example, an old blanket or a blanket.
- A refrigerator, but not an ordinary one, but a winter one, that is, a cupboard, which in many houses of old construction was arranged under the kitchen windows. Usually, in such cases, a hood is made in the wall of the house – it allows you to regulate the temperature. To monitor this indicator, a thermometer is placed inside the cabinet, when the temperature drops, the potatoes are covered, when the temperature rises, additional insulation is removed.
- In the entrance. This option is suitable only if the stocks are not in danger, for example, you can store them in a vestibule closed from strangers. In the stairwell, the air temperature does not drop to low levels, but it is always lower than in the apartment. It is clear that even if outsiders do not walk, it is best to attach the potato box to the floor or wall surface. Ideally, it should be made with a lock.
It is not enough just to know where it is better to place potatoes, you also need to remember the storage rules.
At a relatively high temperature, potatoes can be stored only in summer and early autumn, as well as during the first weeks after digging. The optimal level of humidity is 80-90%. In such conditions, there is a guarantee that all tubers will ripen, which means that they will acquire resistance to fungal infections. Then the temperature should drop. By the end of the first month of storage, it can be reduced to 7-10 ° C, and then to 2-4 ° C.
If the temperature is lower, the potatoes will freeze, and the tubers will acquire a sweet taste. At a higher temperature, they will begin to wither. If for some reason it was not possible to implement the methods described above, then to ensure the desired temperature, you can try to keep the potatoes in the hallway or pantry.
When the air in the room is too dry, it is necessary to artificially increase its humidity. To do this, put a plastic bottle in the container, in which the top is cut off, and fill it with water.
Potatoes should not be exposed to sunlight, but tubers do not need artificial light either. It will affect them in exactly the same way as natural.
Instead of boxes and buckets, you can use non-woven bags. It is not the same as regular polyethylene. Potatoes will breathe in such bags, which will prevent the process of rotting. To protect against fungal infection or mold, the tubers can be covered with rowan leaves, as they contain substances with antibacterial and antiseptic properties. The state of stocks when storing potatoes in the apartment should be periodically checked:
- they should not emit a putrid smell;
- flies should not appear in any case;
- when some tubers seem questionable, it is better to throw them away.
If, despite all efforts, potatoes begin to sprout, then it is recommended to put apples or mint leaves in the box. They will slow down the germination process, but will not affect the taste of the tubers. However, by spring, potatoes still sprout most often, even if you put a layer of dried mint next to them, so you need to regularly cut off the white sprouts.