Potatoes are considered hearty because the grow underground and thus are protected from the elements that might damage or destroy above-ground crops. However, once they are harvested potatoes are somewhat difficult to keep for long periods of time unless you know how to preserve them. What follows are three common ways to preserve potatoes with two not requiring any electricity for preservation purposes.
Keep in a Cool, Dry Place
The basic issue with preserving potatoes is if the conditions are too warm, they will start to sprout and become ruined while freezing raw potatoes will cause them to rot. Therefore, you will need to store them in an area where a constant, cool temperature can be maintained. Many people use a cool, dark shed and put the potatoes in potato sacks or paper bags, although the best place is arguably and old chest freezer that can be layered with straw to allows for the air to circulate properly with the lid cracked open. Keep in mind that you do not put any ice or cold material inside, simply a layer of straw and the potatoes on top.
This is another old-fashioned method of storing potatoes, but it works if you have chosen the right place. Find a dry area of the ground about three-feet square and place dry, clean straw as your first layer. Be sure that your potatoes have dried before laying them down on the straw. Lay out the first round of potatoes on the ground in a square formation and then add another, smaller layer on top. Keep adding layers until you have built a pyramid of potatoes.
Let the potatoes dry out a little more under the sun and then add soil to the pyramid so that the outer layer is about an inch or two inches thick. Some of the straw should peek out from the bottom as this lets the air circulate inside. The potatoes should be fine unless there is a hard freeze in which case you’ll need to keep them warm or simply eat them up so they are not damaged.
Prepare, then Freeze
While raw potatoes will rot when frozen, cooked ones will be fine. You can boil the potatoes or prepare them how you like and then freeze for the coming winter much like you do other fruits and vegetables. While this requires more time at first, by preparing the potatoes you can freeze them for a very long time which will come in handy in the late winter, early spring months.
Of course, there are more than just 3 ways to preserve potatoes, but these are the most common and effective way to keep your potatoes around for a long time. The advantages of preserving potatoes comes in handy for emergencies or when storing food at remote locations for camping, hunting, or other purposes. Be sure that you take the time necessary to preserve your potatoes properly and they will be with you for a long time to come.