Preserve potatoes by using any of the following methods:
– Root Cellar (do it yourself at home!) (see below)
Instructions for each method are listed below.
UPDATE: Check out my experiment and pictures below. I’m preserving potatoes in a cardboard box (cool, dark, dry). My latest update is up to 8 months!
Being frugal you notice that potatoes are on sale, but if you buy too many they will spoil before you can eat the all. What to do?
Maybe you have grown potatoes in your garden and during harvest you have LOTS of them. What to do?
If you don’t want all those extra potatoes to spoil, here are a few ways to preserve them for long term food storage.
Note: Potatoes are one of the highest calorie-per-pound garden vegetables (about 400 calories per pound), and are a great choice for the ‘survival garden’.
Here’s a related article with a list and chart of garden vegetables and the calories of each:
[ Read: Garden Vegetable Calories ]
>> Complete Book of Home Preserving (from Ball)
(view on amzn)
Preserving Potatoes: FREEZER
1. Peel the potatoes.
2. Wash the potatoes.
3. Blanch the potatoes (3 – 5 minutes.)
Blanching: (scalding vegetables in boiling water). It stops enzyme actions which can cause loss of flavor, color and texture. Blanching cleans the surface of dirt and organisms, brightens the color and helps retard loss of vitamins. It also wilts or softens vegetables and makes them easier to pack.
Use one gallon of water per pound of prepared vegetables. Bring the water to a boil. Then add the potatoes. Place a lid on the pot.
The water should return to boiling within about 1 minute, or you are using too much potato for the amount of boiling water.
Start counting blanching time when water returns to a boil (3 – 5 minutes). Keep heat high for duration.
4. Cool. Put in ice water for 5 to 10 minutes (stops the cooking process), then drain.
5. Pack. Place in Ziploc freezer bags, remove the air from the bag as best you can.
6. Seal and Freeze.
The quality of the frozen potatoes will remain best in a very cold freezer (0-degrees-F or lower).
Another option for the freezer: Make ‘mashed’ potatoes, put them in Ziploc freezer bags to freeze. It’s easier to burp out the residual air in the Ziploc bag! And it packs better.
Preserving Potatoes: DEHYDRATE
1. Scrub and wash the potatoes in the sink, optionally w/skin on (nutritional benefit).
2. Put potatoes in a pan of water, bring to boil, simmer until tender but NOT squishy (~15 mins.)
3. Put potatoes in bowl to cool, and/or refrigerate overnight for easier slicing.
4. Slice into 1/4 or 3/8-inch widths (slices, cubes, whatever) and arrange on dehydrator trays without overlapping.
5. Dehydrate at 125-degrees-F until crisp.
6. Store in Ziploc bags (burp the air out) or canning-jars, etc.
Note: If you choose not to boil first, then slice the potatoes thinner.
[ Read: Food Dehydrator Basics ]
This is the home dehydrator that we’ve been using for many years:
>> Excalibur 3900B 9 Tray Deluxe Dehydrator
(view on amzn)
Preserve Potatoes: HOME CANNING
1. Wash and peel potatoes. Place in ascorbic acid solution to prevent darkening.
2. Cut into approximate 1/2 inch pieces.
3. Place potatoes in a pan of hot water, bring to a boil and boil pieces for 2 minutes (10 minutes for pieces up to 1 – 2 inches). Drain.
4. Fill jars with hot prepared potatoes, leaving no more than 1-inch head-space. Add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart to the jar, if desired. Salt helps preserve the texture and taste of the potatoes.
5. Cover hot potatoes with fresh batch of boiling water, leaving 1-inch head-space and covering all pieces of potato. (Caution: Do not use the water you cooked the potatoes in; it contains too much starch.)
6. Adjust lids and process following the recommendations for the pressure canning process.
Quart jars (Hot Pack), Process 40 minutes at 11-lbs (dial gauge) or 15-lbs (weighted gauge).
Tip: The Most Popular Home Pressure Canner and Cooker (I have this one),
Presto 23-Quart Pressure Canner
(view on amzn)
Preserve Potatoes In Your Homemade Root Cellar
No, you do not need to dig a hole in your yard! Instead you simply need a cardboard box and some newspaper. And a cool, dry place.
1. When you harvest your potatoes, DO NOT rinse them off or clean off all the dirt.
2. Place a cardboard box on the cool floor of your basement or other area that may be cool as possible. Perhaps a corner in your garage on the cement floor. Wherever it may be the coolest in your home. If you have a damp floor in your basement, set the box somewhere else or on something (otherwise cardboard will disintegrate).
3. Place a layer of potatoes on the bottom. Do your best to not let them touch each other. Invariably some will, but keep them a bit separated as best you can. This will prevent them all from rotting should one of them begin to rot.
4. Place a layer of newspaper on top. I use several sheets for each layer.
5. Then spread another layer of potatoes.
6. Repeat until full or you run out of potatoes.
7. Close up the box so no light gets in.
Note: I have stored my garden potatoes this way since my last harvest. Incredibly as of this post it has been 4-1/2 months and only now are they beginning to get a bit soft and some eyes are sprouting. But they are still absolutely fine to eat!
The box of potatoes shown above is now almost empty, so I am going to leave them ‘as is’ to discover how long they ultimately last. I will update this post at that time…
I grew more during the 2020 season and set some of them aside for another experiment for preserving potatoes (like the year before). I kept a box in the shop, on the concrete floor. It’s dry in there. And cool. I heat the shop during the winter, but keep the heaters set to 45-degrees unless I’m in there working. So pretty ideal conditions…
5 months later, here’s a picture:
They are still firm! This time I grew some sort of ‘gold’ potatoes (forgot the exact variety).
UPDATE (Potatoes Preserved For 8 Months!)
Wow. The experiment is going quite well! After almost 8 months the potatoes are now sprouting and they are getting noticeably softer. I may be reaching the limit here. I’m going to keep them in the box until they start to rot.
Again, these were stored in great conditions. Quite cool, and the environment is dark and dry.
Anyway, I thought I would update this post with 2 years of consecutive good results of preserving potatoes for up to 5+ months (update: now 8 months) simply in a cool, dry place!