drying potatoes after harvesting them

lroberge(5)September 13, 2009

Greetings! Yes, it has been a while.

I have a question about when I harvest potatoes.

Ok, I dug them up and put them on a screen to air dry for a few days. Now that is what I read in a garden book. Do I keep them on the screen, but cover them to prevent exposure to sunlight?

I got some great potatoes-my first successful harvest!

But, I want to do this right. How long should I leave them to dry?

Any thoughts?

I would appreciate any input folks.

Thank you.

Lawrence

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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

If you just allow them to dry whole, they will rot and turn black. Potatoes also turn toxic and green if left exposed to sunlight. To dry, they would need either a partial cooking, then peeling and slicing, or peeling, slicing raw and dipped in a sulfur water solution to prevent blackening. Simply sliced and dried will give you black only. There are other recent threads about how to dry potatoes.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dryng potato threads after a SEARCH

    Bookmark   September 13, 2009 at 9:55PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Air drying can be quite difficult and honestly most of us use a dehydrator so I'm not sure how much help this might be for you.

But yes, I would think that you are going to have to either cover them or place them in a shady place where there is no sun exposure.

Can't really give you a length of time as that is all going to depend on your weather but since it can take several hours in a dehydrator at 120-140 degrees I'd guess you are looking at 48-72 hours anyway with air drying.

You might want to review this discussion on Preserving Potatoes and this article linked from University of Georgia Extension might be of help to you as it has some air drying info in it.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Drying Fruits & Vegetables at Home

    Bookmark   September 13, 2009 at 9:58PM
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melva02(z7 VA)

Lawrence, are you trying to make dehydrated potatoes, or just let the potatoes dry out in storage so they make better french fries, etc?

Melissa

    Bookmark   September 13, 2009 at 10:48PM
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leahikesgardens

Your potatoes are good on a screen, but you must keep them out of the sun, a dry, cool shady place is best. The skin on the potatoes will dry, kind of toughen up, and be less liable to damage in storage. You probably know how thin new potato skin is. How long will it take for your potatoes, I would guess not more than a week. Lea

    Bookmark   September 13, 2009 at 11:33PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

Extension Service Garden Hints
How to harvest and store your spuds to make them last
CORVALLIS - Want to grow potatoes that stay fresh and store longer into the winter? Alvin Mosley, potato expert with the OSU Extension Service has sage advice for home gardeners. He's spent more than three decades studying the best ways to grow, harvest and store potatoes.

Mosley advises gardeners to:

* Grow potatoes that keep well. Red potatoes don't keep as long as yellow or white varieties. Thin-skinned potatoes don't last as long in storage as those with thick skins, such as Russets.

* Toughen up your potatoes for storage before harvest by not watering them much after they flower. Let the vines die all the way back before you harvest them.

* Clean your potatoes before storing them. You need only brush the soil off potatoes grown in coarse, sandy soil. But if you grow potatoes in fine, sticky clay soil, your potatoes may need washing. If so, be sure the potatoes are completely dry before placing them in storage.

* Cure your newly dug and cleaned potatoes for a week to 10 days in moderate temperatures and high humidity and they will last longer. After digging them out of your garden and cleaning them off, store your newly harvested potatoes where the temperature is about 65 degrees and the relative humidity ranges from 85 to 95 percent. Keep them under these conditions for a week to 10 days to harden off and heal any injuries caused during harvest.

* Sort out and cull your injured and diseased spuds before storing them long-term. Once they are cured, sort the potatoes, putting the best ones in well-ventilated containers. Eat the ones hit by your shovel and the ones with bad spots or disease in the first month or so after harvest, as injured potatoes don't last as long. They also may spread spoilage or disease microorganisms to uninjured potatoes.

* Store your tubers in a cold, dark environment with moderate humidity. Store your best tubers in a dry room with constant temperature of 35 to 40 degrees and moderate humidity. Make sure to keep them dark, as light will turn them green and make them unfit for table use. Discard potatoes with an excessive amount of greening.

Under these conditions, well-matured potatoes will stay in good condition for seven to eight months, said Mosley. When storage temperatures exceed 40 degrees, potatoes should keep for two to three months, but sprouting and shriveling may occur. If they sprout and shrivel, save them for planting in April.

To learn more about how to plant and grow potatoes, you can view EC 1004 on the Extension and Station Communications Web site. Select "Gardening," and you'll find EC 1004 under "Vegetables." You can order it as well, for $1 per copy plus $3 shipping and handling per order. Send your request and a check or money order payable to OSU to: Publications Orders, EESC, 422 Kerr Admin., OSU, Corvallis, OR 97331-2119.

By: Carol Savonen
Source: Al Mosley

    Bookmark   September 13, 2009 at 11:54PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Knock me upside the back of the head! I missed the whole point of your question with my dehydrator spiel. My old brain locked in on "drying potatoes" and ran away with itself. My apologies. :)

We just dig our, spread them out on some flats of cardboard in a dark corner of the basement for a couple of weeks, and then move them to storage.

Dave

    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 9:30AM
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cabrita(9b SoCal)

Dave answered Lawrence's question on drying them after taking them out of the dirt.

I wanted to add that I recently attempted to dehydrate potatoes. I cut them raw into french fries size sticks, dipped them in a citric acid solution to prevent discoloration, and put them in my little electric dehydrator. That was for a backpacking trip.

Big mistake! unfortunately the potatoes were inedible, even though they looked like they dried OK. Big bummer, since we had carried them over two mountain passes, and then could not eat them at all! (it is OK, we had plenty of other stuff to eat). After that incident, I have read that potatoes need to be thoroughly cooked before dehydrating. So my main mistake was to attempt to dry them uncooked. I have to mention that we did cook them for a very long time on the other end, after soaking them in boiling water to rehydrate them. We still could not eat them, they had the weirdest texture and did not taste good. I will definitely cook them before drying next time!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 7:42PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Thoroughly cooked no, then dried no! But they would do well if cooked a little while in slices. They cannot be eaten after being dried, unless rehydrated and cooked until done. Citric might help a bit to prevent browning, but the sulfur gives them a longer storage life with no blackening. The same method is used for all store bought boxed potato mixes like scalloped and Au Grautin. The sulfur dip dissipates once added to water and boiled.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2009 at 1:45PM
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