6 Storage Tips to Keep Potatoes Fresh

By Kaleigh Waldvogel, Alsum Farms & Produce Sales and Marketing Intern

Potatoes are an excellent value and versatile vegetable that is a staple food in many households. In fact, the average American consumes about 120 pounds of potatoes each year! While these vegetables are known to have a longer shelf life than other produce, it is important to follow these six tips to keep your potatoes fresh.

Buy Quality Potatoes

To ensure your potatoes stay fresh, look at the produce at the grocery store before buying. You want to buy potatoes that have smooth looking skin with minimal cuts, bruises, or soft spots. Potatoes with imperfections will spoil quicker. If you happen to purchase a bag with a damaged potato, remove it from the bag to prevent it from spreading to other potatoes.


When returning home from the grocery store, many people tend to set the potato bag on the counter or in the pantry. Although the plastic bags that potatoes are packed in are convenient, they aren’t ideal for storing potatoes for a long period. The plastic traps moisture causing potatoes to spoil faster. Storing your produce in a cardboard box, paper bag, or wire basket will allow for better ventilation and will extend the shelf life of your potatoes.

Don’t Wash Immediately

While most people tend to wash their berries, grapes, and lettuce before storing them, it is important not to wash your potatoes right away. The dirt on the skin acts as a barrier and protects the potato while being stored. Washing your potatoes before storing them will add unwanted moisture and can lead to bacteria growth. Although you shouldn’t wash potatoes before storing, it is important to thoroughly wash them before cooking and eating to remove any excess dirt.

Store in a Cool and Dark Spot

Potatoes will keep fresh for longer when stored in a cool and dark place. Potatoes should be kept in a room between 45-55 degrees Fahrenheit. Basements are an ideal place to store potatoes as it tends to be cooler there. Potatoes should never be stored in the fridge, as the starch can turn to sugar if exposed to cold temperatures. Dark environments are essential to keep potatoes fresh, as sunlight or lightbulbs can “wake up” potatoes and cause them to turn green. When this happens, potatoes have a bitter flavor, and you would need to cut around the green skin before eating. Potatoes sprout faster when stored in light and moist environments, such as a kitchen countertop. If you find your potatoes to be mushy, discolored, or rotten in any way, do not consume them.

Avoid Onions, Bananas, and Berries

What do onions, bananas, and berries have in common? They all release a gas called ethylene which speeds up the ripening process. When potatoes are stored near these fruits and vegetables, the rate at which they will sprout is accelerated. In addition, when potatoes sit near onions, there is a chance of potatoes taking on flavors of onions which isn’t always desirable.

First In, First Out

The first in, first out method is important for any food, but it is a good reminder. Use up produce that is older, before you buy new produce. Getting in a good habit of constantly rotating your produce will reduce food waste and keep your grocery bill down, as you will have less spoiled items. You will only need to purchase produce when your supply is gone, instead of throwing out good produce that you forgot about.

How to Store Potatoes

To make the most out of your potatoes, follow these six tips to help extend the shelf life of your produce. The next time you buy potatoes, remember to check for bruises, store potatoes in a dark, cool, and well-ventilated environment, and don’t wash before storing. In addition, you should avoid storing potatoes near onions or other fruits and vegetables. Following the ‘first in, first out’ method will ensure you are using up your older produce before buying newer produce.

For more frequently asked potato questions, visit the Alsum FAQ’s page.