Potato Transportation & Storage
Potatoes are a wonderful entrepreneurial option for many growers due to the large variety of types available and the significant customer demand for them. In fact, between 2019 to 2022 an average of 355g of potato was consumed per person each week!
Direct marketing to consumers is possible at farm stands, farmers markets, and other locally owned and operated retail establishments.
For retailers, exporters, producers and even customers themselves it can be very useful to understand the best ways to transport potatoes – this could be from farm to supermarket…or even when taking the trip home and storing them.
Below we have answered some of the most commonly asked questions, so you don’t have to look around!
What Is The Best Container To Store Potatoes In?
When it comes to storing your potatoes, there are three key factors you should consider. How dry the storage area is, light exposure and temperature.
For your potatoes to stay edible whilst in storage, they should be kept in an area which is dark all the time, cool with no heat sources nearby, and no moisture anywhere near the potatoes.
If any of these factors are neglected and adverse conditions are present during the process of storing your potatoes, there is a much higher risk that they will begin to decompose and become inedible. Potatoes don’t require additional moisture during storage, nor do they want any access to daylight.
The best container you can choose is paper bags! Using paper bags for your potatoes will allow them to breathe which reduces the risk of them sweating and rotting.
If you are willing to spend a little bit extra for an excellent long-term investment to ensure that your potatoes remain fresh the whole time whilst in storage, then jute bags are the ones for your potatoes to stay in!
Using these bags will help release any moisture during the process of storing as well as reducing any light from entering.
If you are looking to transport or export a large quantity of potatoes whilst also ensuring they remain as fresh as possible, it is advisable to use vented bulk bags as they have a breathable, protective and strong structure ideal for anyone moving valuable produce.
What Is The Best Way To Store Potatoes?
Never store your potatoes in the fridge or freezer!
The temperature in your fridge will cause your potatoes to convert their starch to sugar, meaning they will develop an abnormally sweet taste which isn’t desirable for any consumer.
By placing a potato in the fridge you shouldn’t be surprised to see it turn brown and become softer more quickly than if it was left in the recommended environment. When placed in a freezer the water in the potato will expand during the freezing process and as soon as they defrost will only be left soft and mushy.
Somewhere such as a garage, shed, or a dry kitchen cupboard will be a great place for you to keep your potatoes and allow them to stay as fresh as possible, for as long as possible. No daylight, heat, or moisture should come into contact with your potatoes.
If you have purchased your potatoes fresh from a farmer’s stall or a fruit and veg shop, they may well come with soil and dirt on them still. Whilst you may be tempted to wash all the mud off before you put them into storage, avoid this at all costs.
Washing your potatoes prior to storage will result in your introducing excess moisture to your potato. This alone will reduce their shelf life – expediting the process of them expiring. All you need to do is brush off the excess dirt and worry about the soil when it comes to cooking them.
How Long Will Potatoes Keep In A Hessian Sack?
Keeping potatoes in a hessian sack or a jute bag will prolong your potatoes life for up to six months. This is providing that they have been stored correctly and not been exposed to sunlight or moisture pockets have developed within your container/bag.
The rate at which a potato reaches its expiration can differ depending on the quality of the potatoes purchased and how they were treated prior to storage.
The recommended temperature for your potato to be stored in is between the ranges of 5.5˚C to 12.7˚C. Anything colder or warmer than this and you will meet problems.
Can Potatoes Be Stored In A Cloth Bag?
Whilst a cloth bag can be ideal for storing potatoes, it is important to make sure that the bag has a breathable liner as well as being able to secure it at the top to prevent any sunlight entering through the top.
Once they are in the cloth bag, you can store them somewhere which is dark and cool. Ensure that the bag does not get wet, or any moisture can get inside. You should regularly check the potatoes in the bag in case they are starting to sprout or go bad.
Are Burlap Bags Good For Storing Potatoes?
This is a great way to store your potatoes and ensure that they remain fresh and edible until you are ready to cook and eat them.
Burlap bags are recognised as a good way to store potatoes and it is understandable as to why. They allow the potatoes to breath throughout the whole storing process along with the fabric having the ability to absorb any moisture present.
Not only are they effective at keeping the potatoes fresh whilst they are in storage, but you will not have to have multiple bags laying around in numerous cupboards. This is because a normal size burlap bag can hold around 25kg depending on how big the potatoes are.
How Do You Store Potatoes So They Don't Sprout?
Whilst we have covered the main aspect of preventing your potatoes sprouting, there is still one more factor as to why they might do this. This reason may not have crossed your mind.
Storing your potatoes in close proximity to certain fruit and vegetables can in fact increase the risk of your potatoes sprouting and turning bad. One vegetable you should avoid keeping anywhere near your potatoes is onions.
Whilst onions are in storage, they produce moisture on top of the moisture created by potatoes. Linked to what was mentioned earlier, potatoes don’t need any moisture added to them whilst they’re in storage. This will cause the potatoes to start sprouting and will not last long at all.
Potatoes are used in such a variety of different ways as well as so many different potatoes out there. From chips and fries, to roast potatoes and sweet potato fries, there really is a use for potato for everybody.
Providing you store them appropriately and keep checking on them during their storage process, you will have access to edible potatoes for up to six months.
Remember that no matter how dirty your potatoes may be when you buy them, never wash them before storing! Potatoes do not need moisture.