Should You Take Potatoes Out Of The Plastic Bag?

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When you get home from the grocery store and have finished putting your groceries away, you might be tempted to leave your potatoes in the plastic bag they were purchased in. It’s easy, and you can pretty much set it anywhere in your kitchen. We spent time researching the best ways to store potatoes, so we could find out if you should take them out of the plastic bag.

Our findings show that you should always remove the potatoes from the plastic bag as soon as possible. Keeping them inside plastic doesn’t allow them to breathe correctly, and they will spoil much faster. 

Now that you know that you shouldn’t keep your potatoes inside the plastic bag, you might have other questions about them. Where should potatoes be stored? What is the shelf life of a potato? Can I put my potatoes inside the freezer? To see what our research has turned up, read ahead in this post.

Lots of potatoes wrapped inside a plastic container, Should You Take Potatoes Out Of The Plastic Bag?

Great Places To Store Your Tubers

The key to making your potatoes last longer is how they are stored. Ideally, you want potatoes to be kept out of the light and warm air. Sunlight and heat will make potatoes sprout growths and will also make the toxin solanine present in them. We’ll discuss solanine later in this post. For now, let’s look at the best places to keep your potatoes stored.

Refrigerator

The drawer of your home’s refrigerator is a perfect place to keep your tubers. This location is cool enough and is completely void of light, save for the times you briefly open the door. No room in the crisper drawer? It’s fine to set them on a shelf; just be sure they are out of the plastic bag they came in.

Cellar

If your home has a cellar, this is a great location to store potatoes. Cellars are out of the sun, have enough moisture to keep potatoes from drying out, and are cooler in temperature than the rest of your home.

Storage bins

No cellar? Smaller fridge? You might consider purchasing a vegetable storage bin for your potatoes. These are made in various styles and will fit in just about any corner of your kitchen.

To see this brand of storage bin on Amazon, click here.

Click here to see this brand of storage bin on Amazon.

To see this brand of storage bin on Amazon, click here.

Find this brand of storage bin on Amazon.

To see this brand of storage bin on Amazon, click here.

What’s The Shelf Life Of Potatoes?

Many consumers try to buy groceries to last at least a week or two, so they can minimize those out of the way trips to the grocery store. With some items, this can be a problem, as some perishables have shorter shelf lives than others. How long will potatoes typically last after they’re brought home?

The length of time your potatoes will remain fresh enough to eat will depend on how they are stored and what type of potato we’re talking about. Most potatoes won’t last more than five days if they’re kept in plastic, especially if they’re stored at room temperature. But if your potatoes are kept in a cooler environment and out of the light, they will last much longer. Below is a table that shows how long you can expect your properly stored potatoes to keep, based on the type of tuber.

Potato Pantry Fridge
Shelf life Shelf life
Russet or White Potatoes 3-5 Weeks 3-4 Months
Yukon Gold Potatoes 2-3 Weeks 2-3 Months
Red or New Potatoes 2-3 Weeks 2-3 Months
Fingerlings 2-3 Weeks 2-3 Months
Sweet Potatoes 3-5 Weeks 2-3 Months

When Should You Throw Out Potatoes?

Knowing when to discard perishable items is a great way to avoid getting food poisoning. You might not have thought that potatoes could make a person ill, but if eaten after developing certain issues, getting sick is a definite possibility.

When you inspect your potatoes, you’ll want to make sure that you cut away any green spots. Green parts of the potato indicate that it has traces of solanine. This neurotoxin is harmful to humans and becomes present in potatoes if exposed to too much sunlight. While it’s perfectly ok to use a potato that has had the green areas cut away, you should discard the entire potato if a good portion of it has turned this color.

Potatoes should be firm and have tight skin. If your potatoes have a withered look or are soft and mushy underneath the skin, it’s probably time to cut them up for compost.

Potatoes will often sprout new growth after they age, especially if they are getting sunlight. While it’s fine to cut away the sprouts and eat the potato, too much sprout growth will dramatically change the tuber’s flavor. Removing one or two small sprouts and eating the potato is fine, but if your tuber is more sprout than potato, it’s best not to cook it.

Sprouted potatoes on a white background

How Do You Store Potatoes In The Freezer?

It’s not advisable to store uncooked potatoes in the freezer. Raw potatoes are rich with moisture, and freezing them in this state activates an enzyme within them that will eventually turn them black and mushy.

But it’s ok to store potatoes that have been peeled and blanched in the freezer. It’s safe to keep them in this way for more than six months, should you have them secured in an airtight container.

Potatoes that have been cooked all the way can be stored even longer. Many cooks will make batches of twice baked potatoes, for example, and seal and freeze them. This side dish can last for up to ten months if it’s sealed properly.

Potatoes inside an ice cube

Can You Store Potatoes And Sweet Potatoes Together?

If you have limited storage space, you might be concerned about storing your potatoes and sweet potatoes together. Will mingling these two have any adverse effects?

Thankfully, these tubers’ skins make it ok to store them in the same bins or containers. Having each type side by side won’t make either one expire faster, and it won’t impact the flavor at all.

Sweet potatoes, new potatoes, and purple potatoes on a white background

In Closing

Potatoes have been a staple at dinner tables for centuries and look to remain that way for years to come. We know now that you shouldn’t ever store these tubers in the plastic bag they come in, which will significantly decrease their shelf life. There are many ways to store potatoes safely, and even some storage bins are made specifically for this purpose.

How long your potatoes last is based on the type of potato and how it is stored. Stored correctly, some species of potato can last up to four months without any problems.

Knowing when to discard potatoes is essential, as you can get ill from eating spoiled ones. And keeping raw potatoes out of your freezer is another way to ensure that they last longer.

If you’ve found this post on potatoes to be informative, we believe you will like reading the following posts about cooking:

16 Types Of Cooking Methods

Cooking: Covered Vs. Uncovered (When Should You Cover A Cooking Pot?)

How To Keep Pancakes From Sticking To The Pan

10 Bread Recipes For Mixer With Dough Hook

Which Oil Is Best for Searing Steak?  

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