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Potatoes are very popular as a side dish and they are easy to grow in the garden. But what to do with the harvest and how do you keep it for as long as possible? We will show you different methods of storing potatoes correctly.

In a nutshell

  • A distinction is made between early potatoes and storage potatoes
  • New potatoes cannot be stored for long
  • Potatoes can last for months if stored properly
  • Store potatoes mainly in a cool and dark place

potato varieties

Potatoes are classified according to their cooking properties, but also according to their ability to be stored.
Cooking Properties:

  • floury cooking (e.g. for mashed potatoes)
  • mainly waxy (as a side dish)
  • waxy (salad potatoes)

shelf life

  • early and very early potatoes (ripening time about 90 - 120 days, for immediate consumption)
  • Medium early potatoes (ripening time about 120 - 150 days, can be stored for a few weeks)
  • late potatoes (ripening time 150 - 180 days, keeps for months)

Conditions for proper storage:

In order to be able to store potatoes optimally, the storage location must have the following properties:

  • dark
  • cool but frost-free (best between 4 and 8 degrees)
  • dry and airy

Characteristics of the potatoes:

  • undamaged skin (use all damaged potatoes immediately after harvest)
  • without germs or green spots
  • with no discernible pests or diseases
  • dry shell
  • not too dirty
Source: Alupus, Potato Harvest V, Edited from Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

storage methods

In order to be able to store potatoes for as long as possible, there are various methods. Some are still promising from earlier times.

basement, cellar

The classic method, which used to be used a lot when there were still cellars that met the necessary conditions. In the meantime, such natural cellars are very rarely found.
If there is a dark, frost-free and not too dry cellar, the potatoes can simply be spread out there on a wooden base. It is also possible to layer them in wooden shelves.

Notice: If there is an old cellar, it is often used as a storage place for other types of vegetables or fruit. However, apples must not be stored together with potatoes.


Wooden boxes are suitable for storing potatoes because they transport moisture well and the potatoes in them do not sweat. In addition, they are often stackable and thus take up little space. Other properties of wooden boxes are reusability and the possibility of using them anywhere, be it in the basement or, well insulated, on the terrace or balcony.

Air-permeable plastic boxes are also suitable for storing the potatoes.


For smaller quantities of potatoes, there are so-called potato pots that can easily find space in a storage room or pantry. They can hold around 4 to 5 kg of potatoes and are made of ceramic or clay. Covered with a suitable lid or cloth, the potatoes will keep for a few weeks.

jute bags

Even tightly woven jute sacks are dark and yet airy enough to store potatoes in. However, they have one major disadvantage depending on the size of the sack. The bottom potatoes are difficult to reach and control. They could rot unnoticed and infect more and more tubers. Since potatoes are also quite sensitive, they must not be constantly poured out and put back again.

earth rent

Another traditional method of storing vegetables is soil heaps in the garden. Today it is even rarer than a natural cellar. However, if you have enough space, you can create an underground heap without any major problems. To do this, dig a sufficiently large pit in the garden, which you must insulate on all sides, for example with straw or hay. Wooden boards are even better. The vegetables are spread out on the ground, with straw or sand placed between the individual layers for additional insulation. Finally, the pile is covered with a pallet or wooden boards.
Important for the installation of a ground heap is:

  • antifreeze
  • vole protection
  • Protection against too much moisture (possibly bring a drainage layer into the ground and cover with a tarpaulin)

Notice: Several soil heaps make it easier to store different types of vegetables separately from each other.

potato trays

Potato trays are special tall wooden crates specially designed for storing potatoes. The potatoes are stored in it dry, airy and protected. The removal takes place at the lower end, so that the potatoes constantly slide down.
However, even for potato trays it is necessary that they stand in a dark, cool place. They also take up a lot of space and it is difficult to tell when potatoes are starting to rot inside.

unsuitable storage methods

There are several ways to store potatoes that seem simple at first glance, but aren't very promising. This includes:

  • Plastic bags: the potatoes will sweat and rot after a while
  • Fridge: depending on the setting of the device too cold and too humid
  • in pots on the kitchen worktop: too warm, potatoes shrivel and age quickly, and they germinate faster
  • in store-bought potato netting: only works well if kept in a dark, cool place, if it's too light, green spots will form on the potatoes

frequently asked Questions

What happens to sprouted potatoes?

As long as the sprouts are still small, they are broken out and the potatoes are used in the kitchen as normal. If, on the other hand, there are a lot of shoots that have been growing for a long time, the potato is either used as a seed potato in the garden or it belongs as waste in the organic waste bin or in the compost.

How long do stored potatoes last?

At the right temperature and in complete darkness, the potatoes can be stored until the next new potatoes are available. However, to get by with harvested or purchased potatoes for so long requires a lot of storage space.

Should potatoes be washed before storing?

This is unnecessary and possibly even harmful because it can damage the shell. It is enough to remove coarse dirt.

How are potatoes prepared before storage?

If the storage potatoes come from your own garden, it makes sense to harvest them on a sunny, dry day. Then the soil does not stick so strongly to the tubers. So that the skin hardens, the dug up potatoes are left on the bed for a day before they are collected.

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