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    Posted on December 2nd, 2011 Pam No comments

    Many of you have received potatoes this time of year. I thought I might give a few suggestions about how to store them.

    Here is a picture of potatoes and carrots ready to go into storage.

    Here it shows the tubs the potatoes and carrots are stored in.

    Always keep potatoes out of any light. They will turn green and bitter if they are in direct light. The way to tell if a potato is ‘green’ is to scratch the skin back, if it is white, it is okay. If it is ‘green’ the potato will be bitter. I always throw away any green potatoes I find.

    It is a good idea to sort the potatoes before storing them. The smaller potatoes won’t last as long as the large ones, so sort them out and use them first. Then look for any ‘green’ potatoes and any that may be cut or spoiled.

    It isn’t a good idea to wash the potatoes before putting them in long term storage. For some reason, they begin to decay sooner if they have been washed. If they are extra dirty or muddy, just wipe them off. But it is best to leave them alone.

    Always store potatoes in a cool place. In the basement is okay if it is cool. In the garage is okay too, if the container is insulated, (blankets make good insulation), remember to wrap the entire container, especially if the container is sitting on the cement floor. I like to use a plastic tub to store potatoes, it keeps them cleaner than a box and safe from pests.

    It isn’t a good idea to store potatoes in the crisper of your refrigerator. The starch turn to sugar and may cause the potatoes to turn dark when fried. The best temperature to store potatoes is between 43 to 48 degrees.

    It is a good idea to check the potatoes occasionally to see if any are soft or beginning to decay. Just remove the ‘bad’ ones and clean the container or move the ‘good’ ones to a clean container. Sometimes there may be liquid from a decayed potato in the bottom of the container, usually the other potatoes will be okay, just wipe them dry and move them to a clean container.

    As the Winter goes by, the potatoes may grow sprouts. In our family our Mother always threatened us if we were fighting with the awful job of pulling the sprouts off the potatoes. We didn’t like that job very much, our spud cellar was kind of spooky. It doesn’t harm the potato too much if you break the sprouts off early when they are small. So keep a watchful eye for sprouts too.

    Did you know the average American eats over 140 pounds of potatoes each year, (almost 365 potatoes per person, or an average of one potato each day.)

    The average American eats 142 pounds of potatoes a year, almost 365 potatoes per person-that’s an average of a potato a day.

    Potatoes are the second most consumed food in America, milk products are number one.


    Posted on October 12th, 2010 Pam No comments

    Everyone in Idaho loves potatoes, right?  Most people in the United States know Idaho is famous for it’s potatoes.

    So I thought I might give out some little known facts about potatoes.

    Potatoes grow under the ground, from ‘seed’ potatoes.  Take a large certified ‘seed’ potato (purchase certified seed at a greenhouse), then cut it into 1 1/2 by 1 1/2 inch piece.  Try to have several eyes (3 or more), on each piece.  Then dig a hole for the ‘seed potato’ and put it in the bottom.  I just push the shovel in as far as I can, pull it forward and drop the potato in.  Then carefully lift the shovel out by pulling it a little more forward. 

    Potatoes grow best in ‘hills’.  When the row of potatoes are about four inches tall, put more dirt on the topdf the plant.  Covering the small potato plants will not hurt them.  Continue through the year to hill the potatoes if desired.  When weeding you can take the hoe and pull the dirt up around the plant, this is a technique my Father taught me.  It does two things at once, it hoes out the weeds and hills the potatoes at the same time.

    You can begin to dig potatoes around the time they are in blossom, the potatoes will be small, but yummy just the same.  I usually begin to dig them when they are about the size of a tennis ball.  Continue to dig them all Fall.  Two weeks after the vines have died, the potatoes have matured enough to dig.  This maturity helps the potato skins toughen up so they don’t get scratched when digging them.

    Now to talk about the peelings and the small potatoes.  NEVER put potato peelings back into the compost bin or on the garden.  NEVER put small potatoes back into the garden.  NEVER put potato vines back into the garden.   Technically this will be the same as putting non-certified seed into your garden.  Also, doing this will promote disease in your garden. 

    So when digging potatoes take all the small potatoes out of the garden as well as the vines, and never compost the peelings.