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Old 03-22-2013, 11:55 AM   #1
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Potatoes that go bad too quickly

A couple weeks ago I mentioned buying some humongous russet potatoes on the cheap. Two-something for 10 lbs.
I kept them where I usually do, in a dark cool place, and in two days they were looking back at me. Not only did all of them have eyes, they must have been on some accelerated growth hormone, because these eyes might as well have been called sprouts... or limbs even
The spuds were still firm, so I used them as best as I could for a few days, digging deep to extract the eyes and eventually slicing whole sides of the spud off and reducing its size by 30%. They turned soft quickly and were basically a waste, even though I'm sure I ate two dollars worth.

Guess what? The town store has them on sale again, but lesson learned.
So what do you think happened?
Do you think the gigantic size made them susceptible to spoiling more quickly? Other than assuring they are firm and have no eyes when purchasing, I know no other way to check for a healthy potato that won't go bad inside a week.
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:01 PM   #2
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Pac, if the potatoes were on sale for that big a bargain, my guess is that they have been sitting at the farm or wholesale for awhile and were just ready to turn. I have had that happen to me before.
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:27 PM   #3
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Where were they grown?

If these potatoes have been grown in the north they have been stored in a low oxygen cold storage to preserve them since they were harvested last fall. Once removed from storage and into a warmer environment they think it is spring and start to grow.
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:33 PM   #4
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Thanks for fixing my typo

Laurie, I even did a search because I've never seen spuds turn so quickly and all that was said was they were old. And they can sit for up to a month before even coming to market, which makes them darn old. It reminded me of reading about eggs.

So other than feeling for a soft one, looking for wrinkles or already seeing eyes, the only way to tell if they are really old is if they are too cheap?
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:38 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Aunt Bea View Post
Where were they grown?

If these potatoes have been grown in the north they have been stored in a low oxygen cold storage to preserve them since they were harvested last fall. Once removed from storage and into a warmer environment they think it is spring and start to grow.
Bingo!
Checking for where they were grown will give me another thing to check. Exactly what I was looking for. Thanks Aint Bea

Now, to see if that is listed information or not... the label may only list the distributor, which may or may not be where they were grown, but that will definitely give me something else to look for.
Although I suppose if they were grown in Mexico the way they were stored in the reefer truck might have something to do with it, also... maybe if they were frozen or not on their way here?
And that would be right up the town store's alley to buy something they know is suspect.
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Old 03-22-2013, 02:25 PM   #6
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The other thing is don't store potatoes near onions. They don't like each other. I transfer "too good to be true priced" potatoes (which I buy for the dogs--don't want to feed all the homegrown potatoes to the dogs!) to a clean burlap bag and then store in a cool, dark dry space.
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Old 03-22-2013, 02:28 PM   #7
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Yeah, I learned the potatoes and onions long ago. Talk about making a potato go rancid.
I'll keep a lookout for a burlap sack. If it will gain me a few more days it will be worth it. Thanks for the tip.
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Old 03-22-2013, 02:37 PM   #8
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Yeah, I learned the potatoes and onions long ago. Talk about making a potato go rancid.
I'll keep a lookout for a burlap sack. If it will gain me a few more days it will be worth it. Thanks for the tip.
You can buy burlap at fabric stores and sew your own <g>. I don't remember where I got the burlap sacks...but I love them. I harden the potatoes and carrots from the garden for a couple of days in the sun (on old window screens--out in the sun during the day, in at night--but I think you can do this in sunny windows too) and then pack the potatoes in the clean burlap sacks and the carrots in sawdust. I am just finishing the potatoes from last summer. Maybe the potatoes weren't hardened off enough before being put into storage and if it is sunny out and above freezing, you could harden them for afternoon/day on the picnic table?

I get my chicken feed in those "fake" burlap sacks (the white ones). The feed store fills the bag, so maybe that would be a place to get a "burlap" sack? These bags also allow air flow. I take my chicken feed sacks, cut them in half, and use them under the grass clipping mulch on the garden.
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Old 03-22-2013, 02:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pacanis View Post
Thanks for fixing my typo

Laurie, I even did a search because I've never seen spuds turn so quickly and all that was said was they were old. And they can sit for up to a month before even coming to market, which makes them darn old. It reminded me of reading about eggs.

So other than feeling for a soft one, looking for wrinkles or already seeing eyes, the only way to tell if they are really old is if they are too cheap?
This is going to sound really strange and I am sure others may not agree, but I have learned a lot about the smell of food - I can tell when something is done by it's smell faster than looking at it, sticking in a thermometer or toothpick or cutting in. This is the same (for me) for produce. If the potatoes smell strong and very earthy, unless they are covered in dirt they are probably old. The bags should have holes in them so you should be able to smell them (and not look too obvious about it). I do this with broccoli and many other veggies as well.
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Old 03-22-2013, 02:56 PM   #10
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This is going to sound really strange and I am sure others may not agree, but I have learned a lot about the smell of food - I can tell when something is done by it's smell faster than looking at it, sticking in a thermometer or toothpick or cutting in. This is the same (for me) for produce. If the potatoes smell strong and very earthy, unless they are covered in dirt they are probably old. The bags should have holes in them so you should be able to smell them (and not look too obvious about it). I do this with broccoli and many other veggies as well.
LP--I am with you on that. I have a very sensitive sense of smell...I can tell if an Addisonian dog is "off" re meds or if a dog's kidney levels are too high. My sense of smell drives me crazy at times. I can also tell if people are coming down with a cold or throat infection.
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