According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, each Spaniard consumes 30.19 kilos of potatoes per year, and that is, who does not like potatoes? It is a real treasure that we have all year round and that can be kept for a long time. They are very versatile, as they allow you to always have something in the pantry to prepare a multitude of recipes. But, how to preserve the different varieties of potatoes correctly so that they do not deteriorate?
The potato season begins in June and ends at the end of October . If we keep these tubers dry and protected from light, they will last up to several months. Find out how to preserve cooked, raw and peeled potatoes. We started!
Potato varieties in Spain
We can distinguish different types of potato according to the time of harvest, just as there are different varieties of potatoes.
Types of potatoes according to their harvest
- Early potatoes. They are harvested between March and June before their complete maturation. Its water content is high, which reduces its conservation time. They are small and smooth, with the meat more compact and with a mild and somewhat sweet flavor.
- Seasonal potatoes. Its collection takes place between June and the end of summer, that is, at its right moment of maturity. They are larger and drier than the early ones, but not as intense as the late ones. Their midpoint of humidity and starch makes them very versatile in the kitchen.
- Old or late potatoes. Harvested in autumn, this type of potato is harvested late in relation to its ideal point of maturity. They are dark and wrinkled in appearance, with thick skin and dull yellow flesh. In addition, the flavor is more intense than that of the early ones and, since it contains less water, the concentration of starch is higher.
Potato varieties according to their origin
Although there are thousands of different types of potatoes, in Spanish markets we can find up to six different varieties of the most commercialized, a brief summary of each of them will help us distinguish them when buying.
Of all the varieties of potatoes, this is the most harvested in Europe and it is a potato that works for everything. They are large and oval with fine and mottled skin, their meat is whitish and very starchy due to their low water content. It is indicated for cooking, roasting or stewing.
It is small and oval in size and they are of early harvest, for that reason they have soft skin and a light yellow tone. Originally from the south of France and the Basque Country, they are perfect both for boiling and frying due to their balance between water and starch.
It is a new potato of Dutch origin, rounded and uniform in shape. Both the skin and the meat are light yellow in color and their taste and texture are mild, but they do not last long in storage.
- Red Pontiac
Also known as red potato, it is a semi-early harvest potato with reddish skin and white flesh. It is very versatile in the kitchen thanks to its high sugar content and low starch .
On the outside it resembles the Kennebec type variety, although it is darker and elongated. Its meat is compact and yellow and contains few sugars with a perfect balance between starch and water. They are ideal for frying, but they are not recommended for cooking.
Its almost black purple skin and purple flesh are due to anthocyanins, pigments present in other foods such as purple onion or red cabbage. It is a variety of potato highly valued thanks to its nutritional properties, since it is rich in antioxidants, in Vitamins B3, B6, B9 and C, and minerals such as iron, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. As for its flavor and texture, they are creamy and smooth.
How to keep potatoes from the garden
If we keep our varieties of potatoes stored properly, we will prevent them from sprouting quickly and going bad. We can even freeze potatoes so they last longer. Keep the following tips in mind:
- If there is too much light where you keep the potatoes they will germinate and form solanine, a toxic substance, so it is better to store them in a dark place.
- The perfect temperature for its conservation is between 8 and 15 ºC. If it’s warmer, they will dry out, shrink, wither and sprout. They will also lose many nutrients and could become inedible due to solanine.
- In humid or cold places,potatoes become moist and soft, as well as acquire an unpleasant sweet taste and tend to rot.
- Potatoes need to breathe to prevent moisture build-up, so choose an air-permeable container for your potato varieties. Do not keep them in plastic, better a cloth bag or a wooden box. It is best to pad the bottom of the box with dry straw or newspaper.
- Some types of fruits and vegetables release ethylene, a typical ripening gas, such as apples, pears, tomatoes, and bananas. For this reason, like potatoes, these foods should not be kept in the refrigerator.
- To freeze potatoes, cut them rather thick, boil them for five minutes, cool them in ice water and dry them very wellbefore putting them in the freezer bag.
How to preserve peeled potatoes
When we have leftover peeled potatoes, if we just keep them in the fridge they will go bad quickly. It is best to put them in cold water with a little lemon juice and keep them in the fridge. You can cover them with a little transparent film, but do not have them for long because they absorb water and when you cook them they will release a lot of liquid.
How to preserve cooked potatoes
If you want to keep the potatoes cooked, you can keep them in the fridge for three or four days. To do this, put them when they are cold on a plate and cover them with a cloth or absorbent paper . Before doing this, dry the tubers well with paper to prevent mold growth. You can also store the potatoes in an airtight container.
By cutting the potatoes, both raw and cooked, you will know if you can still eat them. If your interior is glassy, brown or stained, better get rid of them. Finally, after preserving the potatoes cooked from the day before, they can be fried and make a good potato omelette with onion.