Potato storage tips
Experts say the key to getting the most value from the potatoes you buy is storing them properly. Here are some tips:
- First, cure the potatoes: If you get a great deal on potatoes, the key to making them last is how you store them. First, you need to do what is called "curing." Place them on newspaper in your pantry or another dark, dry, cool place. Brush off any noticeable debris or dirt. Then leave them for two weeks to let the skins thicken. Do NOT wash them until you are just about to use them.
- Next, separate the potatoes: Once they are cured, you need to separate out those you need to use first. Any potatoes showing signs of bruising or skin abrasions should be used right away. The rest, you can store for later.
- Ventilate and shield during storage: The more air can circulate through your stored potatoes, the less likely they are to grow damp or bruised and start to rot. Also, you want to shield them from any incoming light—this will cause them to turn green and sprout (not tasty).
- Each time, examine before use: Each time you need potatoes, cull through your stash and find any that need to be used sooner…save the rest for later.
Here are six money-saving things you can do with your potato surplus!
1. Plant your own crop of potatoes
Did you know you can plant your extra potatoes—yes, the vegetable itself—in the ground and they will turn into potato plants?
- What to do: You can plant smaller potatoes whole, or slice larger potatoes into quarters (cut them one or two days before you intend to plant). Be sure to wait until after the last frost to plant.
2. Clean what needs cleaning
Potatoes are great around the house. They can de-rust, de-tarnish and polish to a high shine.
- What to do: For stubborn rust, just slice an uncooked potato and rub the raw inside over the rusted area. For tarnish, use the leftover water after boiling potatoes to shine up flatware (just immerse them for 60 minutes and rinse). Raw potatoes can also serve as a shoe polish primer—rub your shoes with the raw potato and then polish for an extra-high shine.
3. Fertilize your garden
Potatoes aren't just nutritious for people—plants are also happy to soak up their nutrients. Flowers in particular love potatoes—and bloom brighter to show it.
- What to do: Slice up raw potatoes into slivers and place the slivers in the soil near the plant roots. As the potato breaks down, the roots will absorb emerging nutrients.
4. Ease pain with a compress
Potatoes are so dense and starchy they can hold a temperature quite well, whether hot or cold. (The game of "hot potato" gets its name literally!)
- What to do: You can freeze a potato and use it as a cold compress, or put a potato in the microwave and use it as a hot compress. For either, be sure to wrap it in a cloth to protect your skin.
5. De-fog vision aids
If you have ever battled foggy glasses, sunglasses, or goggles (ski or swim), what you need is potato.
- What to do: Rub the inside of a raw, sliced potato over the inside of the lenses and they will stay clear.
6. Nourish facial skin and clear blemishes and puffiness
Potatoes themselves may not look like much, but they can make you look like a million bucks.
- What to do: For puffy eyes, apply two raw potato slices over the eyes and wait 10 minutes. Rub the inside of raw, sliced potatoes over blemishes, and they will disappear. Bathe your face in potato water for a rejuvenating effect. You can also put a potato into the food processor and mince it up, then apply the paste as a facial for 15 minutes before rinsing.