How To Tell If The Potatoes You're Buying Are Old Or New

Not all potatoes that look good are still good.

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Potatoes are one of the most hard-working vegetables in your kitchen. These are used in many dishes, including your ginisang corned beef for breakfast, the crispy potato wedges that came with your Korean chicken wings for lunch, and the beef kaldereta you braised for dinner. 

They are pretty hardy vegetables and normally will store for a long time. However, even hardy root veggies will spoil if not stored right. Potatoes are best as soon as it's plucked from the dirt it was growing in, but unless you have a garden or a friendly farmer who provides it, you're going to have to choose the potatoes that you go home with. 

Supermarkets might not store the freshest produce but there are ways to tell if you are picking up vegetables that are as fresh as you can get from among the lot. This is what you should do to find out if the potato you pick up from the bin is still fairly new or old: 

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1 Avoid potatoes with visible mushy spots or bruises. 

Even before you pick up a potato, you should already be on the lookout for signs of damage such as exterior bruising that you can see on the skin of the potatoes. 

Potatoes that look wet or mist moist might hide a mushy spot. Potatoes are literally dirty since these are commonly not washed before storage, and this dirt usually dries up the potato from the outside during storage. Any wet spots are suspicious and should be examined for other signs of spoilage. 

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2 Skip potatoes that have sprouted. 

Another sign that the potatoes have been stored improperly is that potatoes have sprouted eyes. These eyes are a sign that the potatoes were either stored in a too-moist environment making them ideal for developing roots. These sprouts are easy to remove but ensure that you remove some of the potato flesh under the sprout. Use your handy peeler to dig out the sprouts. (The tip of the peeler or the tiny scooper on the side of the Y-shaped peeler is perfect for this job.) 

3 Give it a squeeze to ensure it's not soft. 

Potatoes are hard root vegetables, so if you pick one up, give a gentle squeeze. It should feel hard and should not have any give at all. If it has gone soft, the potatoes are old. Pick another one from the bin that still feels hard. 

If however, you find that you have a potato at home that has gone soft, don't worry. These are still okay to eat. Softness or even wrinkles are really signs that the potato has lost moisture and is basically becoming old. It's best to cook these immediately or soon.  

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Once you have your potatoes, remember these potato storing tips so your potatoes will last as long as they can: 

  • 1 Do not wash potatoes if storing.
  • 2 Skip the refrigerator to prevent your potatoes from turning starchy.¬†
  • 3¬†Place in a dark and well-ventilated container or bag for longer storage.¬†

Learn more storage tips and even a few delicious potatoes recipes:  

*** 

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