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Whether you are an avid gardener or you are just getting some produce from the grocery store, you want to know how to store your produce correctly to extend its shelf life. What about onions and potatoes? We have researched this topic for you and have compiled some very important information to consider when storing your onions and potatoes.
Your onions and potatoes do not need to be in proximity with each other when being stored. Onions release a gas, called synpropanethialsoxide, that can cause the premature sprouting of the potatoes, spoiling them. Onions can also draw the moisture away from the potatoes and cause the potatoes to rot. Onions and potatoes have very different needs when being stored.
So now that you know that potatoes and onions do not need to be stored directly with each other, how do you store these items? Are there special requirements each vegetable has to be stored to maximize the shelf life? What can be stored with onions that are okay with their gasses? Keep reading as we dive into the ins and outs of proper storage of the onion and potato and how to keep them fresh longer.
Onions need space
Let’s begin by talking about the proper storage of onions and how to get max shelf life. Onions love being in a well-ventilated space. In fact, they are perfectly fine being on the counter or in a wire bowl for storage. Onions do give off certain gases that could cause other vegetables to ripen quicker or completely go bad. So giving the onion the space it needs will protect your other produce.
Ideal spaces for storing onions
The root cellar was the original refrigerator in the 18th century. It held the farmers' crops and meats. These structures were the ideal place for all produce.
For the longest shelf life for fresh, uncut onions, store in a well-ventilated dark, dry, and cool areas. Some ideal places would have temperatures ranging from 45-degrees to 55-degrees Fahrenheit. You can use areas of your home such as a root cellar, a pantry, a basement, or even a garage. Onions have a shelf life of three to four months.
Should you refrigerate onions?
The refrigerator is not the best option for onion storage. The onion has a much shorter life, about two to three weeks, when refrigerated. There are not any pros to having your onion stored in the refrigerator.
What can you store next to onions?
We know now that we cannot store some foods next to each other because they are just not compatible. So, what is compatible with onions? Garlic and ginger both are great items that can be stored next to onions. The gasses that the onion releases do not affect the garlic or the ginger, which makes them perfect roommates and saves your produce.
Read more about "What's The Best Way To Store Onions? [Best Storage Options Discussed]."
Potatoes need air
Potatoes need free air circulation to prevent the accumulation of moisture on the potato, which can lead to the potato rotting. The best way to allow such air circulation is to leave them open in a bowl.
However, we have found that putting the potatoes in brown bags does keep them in a darkened area and prohibits sprouting. If the airflow is cut off from the potato, such as storing beneath a lid or inside a Ziploc bag, the potato will accumulate too much moisture and begin to rot or grow. Sprouted potatoes are not good to eat.
Are sprouted potatoes poisonous?
The answer is yes, the potatoes are still OK to eat, but you do want to take the sprouts off first. The green sprouts have toxicities in them, called Alkaloid, and cooking or eating the green sprouts can result in gastrointestinal illnesses at the very least. Be cautious because eating enough of them would kill you! It is best when working with potatoes if you see any sprouts on them just to take them off instead of risking getting sick from them.
Ideal Spaces for storing potatoes
We now know that potatoes need air, and they do not need to be around onions, but what is the ideal space for storing potatoes? An unheated basement with a temperature range of 45-degrees to 50-degrees is ideal. Remember potatoes like cool, dark, dry areas.
If the space has too much moisture or gases, then the potato will start sprouting little green sprouts. Please be cautious if you see little spuds; if eaten, these could upset your stomach.
Curious about refrigerating potatoes, check out "Should You Keep Potatoes In The Fridge?"
How long do uncut onions and potatoes last?
We have talked about the proper ways to store the onion and the potato. But now, let’s see how long of a lifespan each one has once stored within appropriate places.
The onion stored on the countertop has about four to six weeks of freshness. If it is in the refrigerator, then it will last one to two months, and in the freezer, the onion lasts six to eight months.
The potatoes stored on the countertop last two to four months of freshness. In the refrigerator, the potatoes' lifespan is only two to three days, and in the freezer, a potato will last one full year.
Remember we have given you a lot of information today but there is some flexibility in your choices on how you store your onions and potatoes. The highlights here are not to store your onions and potatoes together. Make sure that each piece of produce is compatible with that around it. Sprouted potatoes should not be eaten because they can cause you bodily harm if consumed. Please remember to always wash your vegetables before eating them.