Potato season is upon us! Sorry to sound dramatic, but spuds are about to get their yearly seasonal surge in popularity and that means two things. One good thing and one not-so-good thing!
Firstly, it means potatoes in all the things. Think autumnal soup, fish pie, shepherds pie and of course… roast potatoes! But what I didn’t stop to think about (shame on me) is about the amount of wasted spuds that potato season also means. Thank goodness that Love Food, Hate Waste inboxed me so I can now inbox you!
Here’s a home truth that really shocked me. 46% of all potatoes bought each year, are wasted. That’s 730,000 tons of potatoes. Just imagine what you could do with that many potatoes! There’s about 1kg of potatoes in your average family-sized shepherd’s pie. There’s also over 1000kg in an imperial ton. That’s over 730 million shepherd’s pies!!
Wanna know the main reason why all those spuds were wasted? They just simply weren’t used in time. When you think about the sheer amount of time taken to grow a potato, dig it up, get it to the supermarket and into your basket… it seems like such a shame that even one potato goes to waste. My Grandad used to put a lot of effort into growing potatoes in his garden and I always used to help him dig them up. We’d certainly never wasted a single one back then!
That’s why I’m really passionate about Love Food, Hate Waste’s #SaveOurSpuds as a campaign and why I was so delighted to be a part of it. I thought I’d share 5 ways to keep your spuds fresh in this post, so your spuds can live to fight another day!
1. Keep it cool, dry and dark.
No, I’m not describing my sense of humour. I’m describing how best to store your potatoes! Keep your potatoes away from sunlight, damp (as these are the main causes of rot, ergh) and store them at temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius. We’re going for cool, not cold.
The fridge actually isn’t ideal (oops, mine literally live in my bottom drawers) as it’s actually too cold and can end up ruining your spud’s taste. So where should you store them?
My Mum has always kept her spuds in the garage in a mesh sack and now I know why! A garage is the perfect dark, cool, dry spot and the mesh sack gives the potatoes ventilation that allows air to pass through. Then your potatoes will last months, instead of days or weeks.
2. Don’t count the sprouters out!
You should always check on your spuds to look for signs of spoilage, but a few sprouts and a little greening up certainly isn’t the end of the road. As long as the potato isn’t too soft or green, you can easily remove these parts and enjoy the rest of your spud.
Bonus points if you pretend that you’re a potato surgeon, operating on a patient. Pass me the peeler please, nurse.
3. Spuds before buds.
Have you ever noticed that fruit ripens quicker when kept together? It’s not magic, it’s science! That’s exactly what can happen to your spuds if they’re stored near fruit too.
The same goes for onions which can also increase the speed of sprouting in potatoes. Both fruit and onions produce a chemical that encourages ripening, so make sure your spuds are stored separately.
I guess potatoes are pretty anti-social when you think about it.
4. Don’t wash your spuds before you store them.
Cleaning dirt off your fresh spuds might seem like the best way to prevent them spoiling, but you might want to reconsider that thought…
As I mentioned earlier, you actually want to keep your spuds as dry as possible. So any added moisture is a big no-no! Think of a potato as a seed, ready to grow. Seeds need water and light to grow, so the less your spuds get, the better!
You should of course wash them before you’re about to cook/eat them! But if you wish, you can remove any dirt on your spuds before storage with a simple brush. That’s better!
5. Don’t you forget about me!
Once your potatoes are successfully in storage, away from fruit or onions and in dry, dark, cool conditions, all you have to do is remember that they’re there!
Keep checking on them every week and be sure to remove any that have started to spoil as these can further encourage the others to spoil too.
If you keep yours in a sack, make sure you don’t keep adding new ones on top, leaving the older ones hidden away at the bottom. They should last for a few months if stored correctly, but checking on them occasionally could save your whole bag of spuds!
Well, that’s clear as spud.
So now, you’re an expert on caring for your potatoes! Thanks to Love Food, Hate Waste for opening my eyes on how to best treat my spuds. As I mentioned earlier, I used to really love digging up spuds in my Grandad’s garden, then my Grandma would cook them for tea! Don’t believe me? Well, here’s a photo of me in action!
Not sure how old I am there, but I have many fond memories of digging up potatoes! Finally, some twenty years later, I now know how to keep them fresher for longer.
If you want to check out more info on Love Food, Hate Waste’s #SaveOurSpuds campaign, click here to check out their website for more info on how you can get involved.
Thanks for reading,
Oh and don’t forget to pin this for later!