Storing Potatoes

If you're an amateur you have a lot more flexibility in storing potatoes than commercial growers.

What follows goes against what the books say, but it's the way I've stored potatoes every year for twenty years. They will keep easily until May and often later. Potatoes used at Christmas will still be "new-potato" quality:

Pick your potatoes in October or November, preferably on a sunny day.

Wash them thoroughly and spread them out on newspapers to dry in the sun.

Get or make some wooden tomato trays which stack, or plastic mushroom trays, which are the same size. Lots of shops will give you these for nothing; just remember the concept of 'quid pro quo'. Place some sheets of clean newspaper at the bottom of each tray. Put about 7lb of potatoes into each tray and put into storage. A pitch-black cellar or coal-hole is ideal, but it must be completely dark, and it must be frost-free. This is why the Victorians had root cellars.

If your room isn't pitch black, you will have to cover with black polythene sheets or hessian to stop them going green and bitter. Remember however that spuds are alive and must be able to breathe.

Keep the trays open so that any diseased tubers can be spotted and discarded.

compiled by Nigel Deacon / Diversity website

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