Potatoes should be stored carefully to prevent them from spoiling. Generally, they should be stored in a cool, dark place. When storing potatoes, one should also make sure that air can circulate freely around them and they are dry. Cut or peeled potatoes can be stored for a short time in cold water, and prepared potato dishes can be frozen.
Improperly stored potatoes can sprout, turn green, or become soft and wrinkled. Generally, potatoes can be stored for roughly a week at room temperature. After this time, they will often begin to go bad. Stored potatoes should be checked regularly, and any ones that have started to become soft, or develop mold or soft spots should be removed.
A cool area is best when storing potatoes for more than a week. Warm air, above 50° F (10° C), can result in sprouting. A root cellar is usually the perfect place to store potatoes, but a cool basement or garage will work as well. Some people even prefer to store them in refrigerators, but this can slightly alter the taste and color of the potatoes.
The area where a person is storing potatoes should also be dark. When potatoes are exposed to light, particularly sunlight, they begin to produce chlorophyll. This can result in bright green spots on the potatoes. The chlorophyll can make the potatoes taste bitter, and it can also be toxic in very high amounts.
Opaque containers can be used when storing potatoes, if a dark spot is not available. These containers should be properly ventilated, however, to ensure that air circulates around them. Potato containers should not have an airtight seal, since this can trap moisture. This trapped moisture can cause the potatoes to become soft and wrinkled, and it can promote mold growth. Potatoes should also never be stored after they are washed, since they may be damp. Individuals should wait until the potatoes are ready to be cooked before washing them.
Cut or peeled potatoes will often quickly turn brown if they are not cooked soon. To prevent the potato flesh from turning brown, cut potatoes can be stored in a container of cold water. Ice can be added to the water to keep it cold, or the container can be stored in a refrigerator. The cold water will usually keep the potato flesh white for several hours.
Generally, freezing potatoes that have not been cooked is not recommended. Cooked or blanched potatoes, however, usually freeze very well. Potato dishes, such as mashed potatoes or french fried, can be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer.