Potatoes are a nutritious staple used extensively in many kitchens around the world. Therefore, knowing how to properly care for and preserve them can allow you to enjoy your seasonally-picked vegetables all year round. I have been canning every type of food imaginable for over 50 years and decided to share what I know about preserving potatoes.
Here are the 5 best ways to preserve potatoes:
- Freeze potatoes.
- Dry potatoes.
- Store potatoes in a root cellar.
- Rebury potatoes.
- Pressure can potatoes.
In the following sections, you’ll learn more about how to extend the longevity of your tubers following these convenient methods. Furthermore, I’ll take you through everything else you’ll need to know about how to adequately store and preserve them in any state they’re in.
1. Freezing Potatoes
This method is the most versatile and convenient of all, as it allows you to preserve your potatoes no matter how they’re cut or cooked. With that said, more often than not, there’s more to freeze-preserving than simply putting your food in a below-freezing temperature.
You’ll usually need to take a few extra steps to optimize the vegetable’s longevity, so let’s dive in and learn about those steps.
How to Freeze Raw Potatoes
This is the most straightforward approach and a method that many of you may have already thought about trying. Freezing raw potatoes isn’t only safe but an overall excellent way to go about preserving them.
With that said, there are some factors you’ll need to consider before taking on this process.
First, it’s likely that the raw potatoes will convert some of their starch into sugar when being put in this environment. This reaction doesn’t affect their taste and texture much, but it’s something to consider for certain dishes.
Secondly, freezing always works best with younger, healthy potatoes. The reason for this isn’t only to maintain the highest possible amount of nutrients you can, but younger spuds also stand a better chance of thawing without spoilage.
After choosing your pieces, you can proceed to peel and cut them into large chunks.
At this point, you’ll need to start blanching your potatoes, as the process helps them retain freshness longer.
Even though going through the trouble of boiling and temperature-shocking your studs may seem excessive, it’s one of the only surefire ways that’ll prevent them from turning black in the freezer.
Some even suggest adding a bit of white vinegar to the boiling water for the best results.
Throughout these steps, make sure that the vegetables have as little time in direct contact with the surrounding air as possible. Doing so will help to slow down the oxidation process.
How to Freeze Mashed Potatoes
Freezing mashed potatoes is a great way to anticipate busy holiday dinners as you get ahead of the cooking process altogether. Luckily, mashed potatoes hold fantastically in the freezer, so all you’ll need to do when you need them is a simple warm-up, some garnish, and your plate will be ready to serve.
To get the perfect mashed potatoes from your freezer, follow the steps below:
- Boil the vegetables as you usually would until a fork can go through them without much resistance.
- Mash them up with your favorite add-ons and seasonings and let the mixture cool.
- Be generous when adding cream and butter, as the mash should be as fluffy as possible.
The reason for this last step is that the freezing process will inevitably dry out your potatoes, so you’ll need to overshoot a bit when it comes to moisture to make sure that the end result will be perfect.
Afterward, you can place your preferred servings into individual ziplock bags, marking each with its cook date. You’ll be able to consume these portions for up to a year after the written date, depending on your freezer conditions.
With that said, always check the consistency before thawing the mixture to ensure that the liquids haven’t crystallized. While some batches can last that long, in some cases, you’ll only get a month or two out of your supply, so make sure to check periodically.
Before reheating the mashed potatoes, you can let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight and heat them up using your method of choice.
2. Drying Potatoes
One of the main factors that accelerate the spoilage of a potato is humidity.
When taking the hydration out of the equation altogether, you’ll be able to store your potatoes for years on end without any worry that they might go bad.
Drying tubers can be much more straightforward than you’d think, as all the special equipment you’ll need is a standard dehydrating rack. After the spuds go through this process, you’ll be able to reuse them for up to two decades to come, as long as no added hydration is presented to them during this period.
Their remarkable shelf life makes dried potatoes a great pantry staple to hold onto in case of an emergency. If you want to make your own, blanch your potatoes with the method I mentioned previously for 5 minutes.
Afterward, give them a temperature shock by placing them in an ice bath to completely stop the cooking process. Then place each slice on a dehydrating rack for 8-10 hours at 135°F (57.22°C) until translucent.
You’ll want to store them in an airtight container, like this one, to avoid any moisture from entering the slices.
Although this option isn’t as efficient as freezing mashed potatoes when it comes to the time and effort you’ll need to turn the potatoes into an actual dish, their unbelievable lifespan gives them an edge that’s hard to beat.
3. Store Potatoes in a Root Cellar
A root cellar is one of the oldest artificially-created food storages, as a natural space that excellently preserves food and drink items that are prone to spoilage. This dry, dark environment also serves as an ideal alternative to store potatoes and other similar vegetables.
Storing potatoes in a root cellar is also arguably the easiest technique out of all, given that it doesn’t require any extra work in the form of peeling or blanching your spuds. Although using this method may not be as long-lasting as dehydrating your potatoes, for example, it’ll still give you similar results to freezing them.
Furthermore, unlike freezing, using a cellar to store the tubers doesn’t require any electric energy or added effort, as the process is much more straightforward.
To adequately store potatoes in this environment, you’ll first need to lay out each piece to form a single layer. You can place this layer on a simple storage unit consisting of a cardboard box lined with newspapers.
After letting the potatoes cure in this position for about a week, you’ll notice their skins will start to toughen.
Afterward, you can transfer them to another box filled with a light-absorbing material such as shredded paper to prevent excess moisture from creating inside this environment. Moisture would cause the potatoes to spoil faster, so you definitely want to keep the box dry.
Within this box, the spuds will be able to retain their freshness for months, making this an ideal solution for those wanting to use seasonal products all year round.
The best part of this method is its versatility. Unlike what I mentioned with dehydration, you won’t need any special equipment to make this approach work. Even if you live in a smaller house or apartment and don’t have access to a cellar, you can still give this preserving strategy a try.
To do so, you can try to use a cold garage or especially dark corner of your house. The results shouldn’t differ too much.
I should mention that when choosing this type of storage, only wash the potatoes directly before use and never put them back in the box after doing so. Otherwise, you may create a microhabitat for harmful bacteria.
4. Rebury Potatoes
Although a little out of the box, this approach can work wonders for those who have no access to a cellar or garage but can make use of their garden instead. Reburying potatoes is a method that’s as simple as it sounds.
If you want to retain the freshness of the vegetable a little longer, try putting it back into the ground, as you’ll be surprised by the results.
After digging a shallow-ish hole no bigger than 6” (15.24 cm), you can place your potatoes on the bottom and cover them up using the remaining soil. If you live in a humid climate, you may want to put some form of added protection against the elements on top of the newly closed hole.
Doing so will guarantee that the spud will remain fresh and ready to use for several months after being reburied, but be careful not to leave them longer than that, as they can start to absorb too much moisture and spoil.
5. Pressure Can Potatoes
This is yet another excellent long-term storage technique that could make a staple in anyone’s pantry.
Pressure canning is a method that works excellently for those living in apartments or smaller spaces. Furthermore, its success with similar vegetables is already proven, as you’ve witnessed with pickles.
The type of potato doesn’t matter when it comes to canning, as most varieties work perfectly with this approach. Here’s how to pressure can your potatoes:
- Blanch the sliced potatoes for 5 minutes as per usual.
- Drain and fill as many jars as you’d like with the blanched slices.
- Fill the jars with hot water leaving about an inch (2.54 cm) or 2” (5.08 cm) of space at the top.
- Add a tsp (4.2 g) of salt to each jar.
- After securely sealing each of them, put them into a pressure canner by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Let the jars sit at room temperature for about 24 hours.
- Store them as you usually would in a dark and dry cabinet.
Best Way To Store Potatoes Long Term
If you, like most people, often find yourself buying more potatoes than you know what to do with, learning how to properly store them in order to optimize their lifespan can help you avoid a lot of unnecessary waste.
Even if you don’t have a cellar or a cold garage, you can still use the best of your storage capacities to give the spuds the longest shelf life possible. To do so, you’ll first need to find a space with the proper temperature.
Ideally, you shouldn’t store potatoes at a temperature higher than 55°F (12.78°C).
Furthermore, you’ll need to make sure to choose the driest shelf or cabinet in your kitchen, as excess humidity can be the biggest catalyzation of spoilage. Another factor to consider is sunlight, as darker spaces tend to preserve potatoes much more efficiently.
This happens due to the fact that potatoes can quickly respond to sunlight by beginning photosynthesis, which can turn their skins green and make them inedible.
How To Preserve Potatoes After Peeling
If you’ve already peeled your potatoes before figuring out that you’ve prepared too much, there are some simple steps you can take to make them last longer. Keep in mind that if you don’t have a dehydrator on hand, chances are you may have some time limitations when it comes to using the excess potatoes,
Therefore, if you plan on using the vegetables within the next few days, cube the potatoes, submerge them in water, cover them, and refrigerate.
This process is more than enough to retain their freshness for this timeframe.
Furthermore, you can also replace the water if it shows any sign of discoloration. Doing so may give you an extra day or two, but make an effort to periodically check the potatoes themselves for any sign of spoilage, especially before cooking them.
Best Containers To Store Potatoes
If you want to get the most out of potatoes’ shelf life, you can invest in some high-quality containers that offer an ideal space for them to retain their freshness. Here are some of the best options available on Amazon.com.
This canister is ideal for larger amounts of potatoes, as bigger options can hold up to 9 lbs (4.08 kg) of product. You can opt to buy this aesthetically-pleasing product as a set, which won’t only allow you to store additional vegetables in a shelf-life-optimizing space but will also improve your kitchen’s overall design.
These metal containers allow for proper ventilation while keeping humidity levels at a minimum, which is the only way to make your potatoes last as long as possible.
This durable, heavy-duty container is made out of high-grade steel, making it one of the most long-lasting options on the market. It allows you to keep your produce well-ventilated while providing a dark, dry space that prevents the creation of excessive moisture.
The sets aren’t only beautiful to look at but also highly functional, as their shape and design make them very easy to move and maintain.
Thanks for stoppin’ by!
For more, don’t miss How to Store Shredded Potatoes | The Complete Guide.
Anne James has a wealth of expertise in a wide array of interests, including quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, and making jelly.
She has a professional canning business and has been featured in the local newspaper, and has been her family canner for decades. Anyone growing up in the South knows that there is always a person in the family who has knowledge of the “old ways,” and this is exactly what Anne is.
With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass.
Lovingly known as “Jelly Grandma” by her grandkids, Anne hopes your visit here has been a sweet one.