Store Your Newly Dug Potatoes Correctly

Storing potatoes

Once you have dug all those nice fresh garden potatoes, you will need to find a place to keep them for the winter. You can keep potatoes in the ground as long they are not getting soft or too wet. Keep checking by digging to make sure the potatoes are hard.

Cool storage will prolong dormancy. The recommended storage temperature is 32° F and above. Do not let them freeze! Onions will start to sprout at temperatures over 40° F. There have been studies that prove there is no truth to the story that potatoes and onions should not be stored together because one makes the other sprout. The truth is, they have different storage temperature requirements. The optimal storage temperature for potatoes is 40° F, the temperature at which onions sprout.

It is also important to keep potatoes away from other vegetables as they seem to not last as long. Separate them into a box, pail or plastic bin. Covering with newspaper will also help keep the potatoes dark if you do not have a cover. Potatoes like it a lot cooler. If you have a cold area in the basement or a fruit cellar of some type is best. Cooler temperatures are best but avoid freezing temperatures or the potatoes will turn into mush.

One thing that you can do and has been proven to help is to store potatoes in a clean box with plenty of space, pour a 25 pound bag of rice in the box and mix in the potatoes.  The rice absorbs the moisture and assists in freshness. Or you could use large plastic snap lid boxes. You will keep your potatoes fresh and have rice to use for meals. It is important to check on your potatoes so they are not getting soft periodically.

Also, using a styrofoam cooler and keeping your potatoes in a cold room in the basement has proven successful. Storing potatoes with an apple can also help in keeping them from sprouting. It’s important to keep them in a totally dark location as that will keep them from sprouting and covering them will assist in keeping them cool. If you have a extra refrigerator that is another good place toward the end of winter before they start to turn soft.

If you boil older potatoes add a bit of sugar or honey to restore some of the flavor.
To revive soft potatoes, soak them in cold water for an hour.


  1. yolanda_breidenbaugh

    It’s also important to let the potatoes “cure” a bit before storage. What we do is spread them out on newspapers, covered with more newspapers to keep the light away from them, for a few days. This has the added benefit of easily identifying potatoes that are going bad, and they can be discarded. Thank you for this timely article!

    Comment by yolanda_breidenbaugh — August 3, 2012 @ 6:19 am

  2. Hi,

    I am wondering if after I cure my potatoes and before storing them, should they be washed and air dried? Or does it matter? I would prefer to wash them, but won’t if that’s the best thing to do.


    Comment by Kerry — September 22, 2013 @ 11:36 am

  3. It is recommended that potatoes not be washed prior to storage, they keep longer. Get as much dirt off as possible or run around potatoes with your garden gloves before you store them.

    Comment by christie Schlueter — September 23, 2013 @ 7:12 am

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