Generally, our potatoes and onions are looking a little tired by the end of March. You know–sprouts, wrinkles, softening. The whole ball of wax. But not this year! This past winter, we stored all of our potatoes in large plastic totes, with the covers on, and the onions, as usual, in net bags, hanging from the pantry shelves. I think our “luck” came from the fact that this winter we did not heat our basement, where we always have before. It was not warm, warm, but in the 60s. This winter we only ran the propane heater once, when it was -35 and the basement was 35 above…too close to freezing/chilling for comfort. Through the entire winter, but for that cold spell, our basement remained a steady 40 degrees and our potatoes and onions loved it! I also think that having the potatoes in the tubs kept in the natural moisture. I did have to take the lids off a couple of times, as condensation was forming on them and that worried me.
Another tip: my dahlia roots haven’t been keeping as nicely as I’d like. So this fall, I topped off my potato bins with dahlia roots. And they are storing as nicely as the potatoes! Now with the new flower beds and the nice roots, we’ll have great flowers in only a few months. Sigh.
The question I have concerns canning white potatoes. My first attempt resulted in the liquid being absorbed. The book says this is common BUT is it safe to consume? My second attempt was award winning. Is there a secret in type of potato? quality?
Generally, nice hard potatoes can up best. If they’ve been all winter in storage and are getting a little soft, they sometimes do this. I think it’s because they’ve started to dehydrate during storage. Yes, they’re safe to eat because the liquid IS in the jars during processing; it’s absorbed as the pressure returns to zero. — Jackie