Preparing Potatoes for Winter Storage

| 10/13/2011 6:43:11 PM

Tags: permaculture, subsistence farming, root crops, root cellar, winter storage, preserving the harvest, food preservation, small-scale agriculture, potato preservation, potato storage, D Acres Permaculture Farm & Educational Homestead,
Harvesting the first of our 2500lbs of potatoes

I have fingerlings under the sheets.   

Hundreds of pounds, in fact, under many sheets and a few cardboard boxes. Fingerling potatoes, that is, which are currently drying and curing in a corner of the basement. Protected from the light, these fresh tubers lay underneath, well, old sheets and some fabric scraps. There are also some Kennebecs, Katahdins, and other baking potatoes under cardboard boxes, a small quantity of russets, and striking Purple Vikings and Purple Suns underneath the local updates of some expired newspapers.     

This is our practiced, practical praxis for readying our freshly harvested ‘taters for winter storage. In the past couple of weeks we have forked, dug, shook, searched, prodded, nudged (aggressively), burrowed, mined, and quarried approximately 2,500 pounds of potatoes from our newest field. All by hand, of course. It is a formidable quantity, an autumnal treasure hunt of many days and numerous work hours for a bounty that will feed us through the winter months.   

In order to last late into the spring, these potatoes will be stored in our root cellar amongst cool temperatures and high humidity. First, though, they must be dried and their skins cured. Moist and damaged tubers are a set-up for rot, and a careless oversight can ruin a whole passel of work.   

So we have potatoes lining the basement, potatoes cobbling the floor of the barn, potatoes filling the barn loft, and potatoes spread about the old tractor room. Wall-to-wall it’s a tight fit, but somehow just the right amount of space has been found.   

Shielding these tubers from light is especially important – some time in the sun turns potatoes green in color and toxic to eat. A tragedy to avoid, most certainly. Even those stored in the dark corners of the barn are carefully covered …cardboard, newspaper, and sheets are all breathable materials that assist the drying process while thoroughly protecting the potatoes. 

4/3/2014 8:07:41 AM

Seems like an editor should have caught this. This story is either way too long, or too short.

Maria Barker
1/28/2012 3:31:56 AM

What a complete crock! Absolutely NO how-to about it! Are the potatoes single layer? Are they allowed to touch at all? What temperature range is suitable? As the King of Siam said, Et cetera, Et cetera, Et cetera! Not even a photograph of the potatoes all arranged and set to be covered. MEN, you REALLY messed up on this offering.

Jason LaVoy
11/11/2011 12:19:21 AM

That's it? I suspect some information has been left out. No advice on how to tell when the potatoes are dry enough? no details on the mouse-proof storage bins? Is it a secret?

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