Different varieties of potatoes differ in the thickness of their skins. When cured correctly, potatoes develop a thick skin, one of their best characteristics when stored properly. The curing process of potatoes is essential to get the most out of your tubers. It helps transform your potatoes by increasing their life span, preventing them from rotting, and enhancing their sweetness and flavor if they’re sweet potatoes. The curing process of potatoes creates an ideal condition for transforming your product by adjusting the humidity level, temperature, and light exposure.
When it comes to storing potatoes for a long time, there are mainly two factors that play a crucial role: cool temperature and darkness. To get the best results, you should ensure that the temperature is not above 60 to 65 degrees or below 40 degrees. Additionally, you can use mesh bags or containers to keep moisture away from potatoes and avoid the rotting process.
The Process of Potato Curing
Potatoes should be cured at the temperature at 45 to 60°F and high relative humidity (85 to 95%) for 14 continuous days. During the process, potatoes heal minor blemishes and nicks and are dried a bit to prevent them from rotting. The storing process is different from curing, as each vegetable type has different curing requirements. Curing your potatoes before preparing them for storage for the winter season extends their lifespan and keeps them fresh for storage. The curing process followed before storing them decreases the chances of potatoes getting damaged during the storage process.
How to Cure Potatoes After Harvest
The curing process is easy and doesn’t take up much time. You can cure potatoes after the harvest process in the following ways:
- The harvesting process of potatoes in the fall season begins when the tops have died back and the tubers have matured. To test the tubers for their maturity, you should check the skin. If it rubs off easily, it indicates the potatoes are not yet mature and require more time in the soil. The skin of matured potatoes is usually complex and cannot be rubbed off easily with hands.
- Next, brush off excess soil from the potato tubers. It is essential to dry potatoes thoroughly before you initiate the curing process. To dry the potatoes, you can keep them outside in a shady area or put them in screened trays. It will allow air to circulate and dry the tubers.
- Put the potatoes in a slatted wooden box to allow the air to pass freely. Ensure that the space is dark and has good ventilation with a temperature of 45 to 60°F and a relative humidity of 85 to 95%.
- Storing potatoes at lower temperatures can run the risk of chilling them. In chilled conditions, potatoes have a sugary and sweet flavor, and their flesh gets black when fried. In contrast, under higher conditions, the potatoes sprout.
The Significance of Curing Potatoes
- Hardening of its Skin
Curing potatoes for about 10 days allows the skin to toughen and harden. This hardened skin will help the potatoes stay fresh for months.
- Dries Off Wet Spots
Moisture plays havoc and can cause damage to any long-storing food. Allowing potatoes to sit for 10 days will ensure that they are dry before you store them.
- Damaged Spots to Heal
Believe it or not, potatoes have a unique healing ability to deal with damaged spots. Minor damages to the potato skin will heal when harvesting, provided potatoes are left out and exposed to open air for about 10 days. It assures that damaged spots on the potatoes don’t spoil more and end up rotting.
It is crucial to allow your potatoes to fully mature before you choose to harvest them; this is essential for good storage. You should also follow the curing procedure to allow air to circulate properly through the potatoes before you store them. The curing process extends the life span of your potatoes by several months. The life span of uncured potatoes will be about 2 to 3 months, while the cured ones removed fresh will last 6 to 8 months.
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