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I love growing my own food. Part of growing all the food is not only eating it fresh in the summer, but preserving it for winter use. One vegetable we use for cooking throughout the year is potatoes. This storing method can be used for both regular potatoes and sweet potatoes. Note that red skinned white potatoes will not keep as long as brown or yellow skinned potatoes, and thick skinned keeps even longer. So use the red ones first, then the thin skinned, leaving the thick (like russets) for last.
Storing potatoes for winter actually starts before the harvest. Reduce the water to the potatoes for a couple weeks prior to harvest. This helps the skin to dry and harden which will prevent mold growth later. Wait until the vines start to die back. They will turn speckled yellow before completely drying up. Waiting until this point allows the potato tubers to completely mature prior to harvest.
Dig the potatoes, being careful to not cut or damage any tubers while digging. Lightly dust the dirt from the potatoes and place them in a shallow open box.
Curing is next, and the most crucial for long term storage. White potatoes tend to be harvested late in the summer when it is still warm and humid. Sweet potatoes are more towards fall, when temperatures are cooling off. Both need to be cured for 10-14 days in warm temperatures with high humidity. White potatoes' ideal temperature is 65 degrees with 95% humidity, while sweet potatoes are closer to 80-85 degrees with 80% humidity. I cure my white potatoes in my garage, which is a little higher in temperature than ideal, but the humidity is about right. Sweet potatoes I place next to the furnace in boxes covered with a cloth to keep humidity up.
After the curing period is up you can gently brush any remaining dirt off the potatoes. Dispose of or use quickly any with bad spots, soft spots, green ends, or cuts. Store potatoes in a cool and dry room. An unheated basement room or garage works well for this. But take care to make sure they do not freeze. I have a cellar room that we can close off to keep the heat out of, in our basement that works well. Ideal temperature for storing white potatoes is around 40 degrees, while sweet potatoes can handle a bit warmer at 55 degrees.
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