Potato Tips | How to Harvest, Store, and Cook Potatoes

Love potatoes? Who doesn’t! Follow these potato tips for harvesting, storing and getting the most out of your potato crop.

By Shelley Wigglesworth

Sep 26 2016


Potato Tips | How to Harvest, Store, and Cook Potatoes

Photo Credit : Pixabay
Potato Tips
Potato Tips | How to Harvest, Store, and Cook Potatoes
Photo Credit : Pixabay
My eighty-eight-year-old grandmother grew up in Aroostook County, Maine which is considered the unofficial potato capitol of the state. When she was a child, school was actually put on hold during the potato picking season to allow children to help with the harvest. Today, growing potatoes still holds a prominence in that area of northern Maine, providing much of New England and the country with the staple vegetable that has complemented meals and sustained people around the world for centuries. My grandparents always bought a 50lb. bag of Maine potatoes in the early fall to get them through the cold months. They kept the spuds in a potato bin that was built right into their kitchen counter for easy access. I still recall the smell of the earth and the feel of the dusty, cool, dry veggies from the bin today. Back then, potatoes were, and still are, a side dish for most meals. Baked, mashed, fried, whipped, scalloped, in chowders, boiled dinners, home fries, French fries, hash, pot pies, you name it — you can’t go wrong with potatoes! Here are some tips on harvesting, storing cooking and getting the most out of your spuds this winter.

POTATO TIPS | How to Harvest, Store, and Cook Potatoes

When to Harvest Potatoes

When the potatoes are done growing the plants of the root vegetable will die back, and no further watering is needed at this point. You can harvest your potatoes right away. If you plan to store them, wait a few weeks to harvest, after the plants have died back, so the potatoes can toughen up a bit naturally. Harvesting must be done before the ground freezes.

How to Harvest Potatoes

Claw tools and small pitch forks seem to work well for harvesting potatoes. Push the chosen garden tool into the soil a few inches and gently twist and sift, working your way into the ground and removing potatoes as they loosen.

How to Store Potatoes

Potatoes don’t need to be refrigerated, however, they should be kept cool at all times — around 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. Before storing, make sure your potatoes are dry. If they are not, leave them out in the open to dry fully before storing. Store potatoes in a dark environment with some access to air circulation, such as in a wooden bin or crate, in a basket in the pantry, or in a brown paper bag on a basement shelf. Potatoes will last several months when stored in ideal conditions.

Potato Cooking Tips

When paring potatoes, use a potato peeler instead of a knife to get the most potato and avoid waste. Poke holes in potatoes before microwaving or baking to allow for air to get in and to avoid exploding potatoes. Do not over-boil potatoes. Boil until a fork can be inserted gently, then remove potatoes from heat. Don’t forget that fried potatoes skins are delicious — especially after being fried and baked again with melted cheese and bacon on top! Do you have any potato tips? Let us know in the comments!