Potato Storage and Cooking Quality

Once the crop has been harvested the story does not end.

The appropriate storage temperature depends on the potato market

  • Seed potatoes are stored at low temperatures, around 35-39˚F, to minimize decay and to control the physiological age of the tubers.
  • Fresh market potatoes are kept at around 37-41˚F to minimize weight loss and maintain a fresh, good-looking tuber.
  • French fry and chipping potatoes need to be stored at higher temperatures; 44-48˚F, to minimize the level of reducing sugars. Reducing sugars accumulate below and above 48˚F, and the changes induced by higher temperatures are irreversible.

Crop nutrition is essential

The nutrients below have important effects on potato storage and cooking quality:

  • Potassium - Potash affects bruising, enzymatic blackening and after-cooking blackening.
  • Calcium - Calcium helps prevent storage rots caused by Erwinia spp and also skin diseases.
  • Boron - Boron may reduce enzymatic discoloration.
  • Magnesium - Magnesium may reduce enzymatic discoloration.

Growers can also influence potato storage and cooking quality by 

  • Selecting the right variety with the right cooking quality for the market.
  • Irrigation scheduling to maximize quality characteristics.
  • Minimizing damage during harvesting.
  • Using storage treatments (e.g. fungicides) to reduce tuber disease build-up.
  • Controlling temperatures in storage.