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Shelf Life of a Potato

Q:

I’ve read that a potato’s shelf life is 30 days. However, I’ve seen other sources like the Idaho Potato Commission say that potatoes can last for several months if properly stored. Which is the right answer?

A:

The 30-day shelf life is an arbitrary number developed by the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) while working with chains to create a standard shelf life for all fruits and vegetables.

In Idaho, we harvest potatoes once a year so the potatoes you might buy in a store or eat in a restaurant were harvested and put into controlled storage (high humidity, 45 – 48 degrees F) last September and October. We are able to store potatoes for a whole year this way, while potatoes stored at room temp (70 degrees) can sometimes start to sprout in a week or two. There are some similar quality issues with potatoes that are washed and then left out (like with some of the wet racks in grocery stores).

Previous blogs address some of the issues you’ve raised: