Although it is the end of the winter at the moment, there is no harm in reminding you about several things which will be required to do down the line. One of those things is the matter of storage. Since I have already covered several of those, why not to explain this one as well?
Knowing how to store sweet potatoes before even planting them can help you a lot since you will know what will be required.
What Will Be Needed?
Regarding tools, equipment and such, not many things are required. Still, to save your sweet potatoes, start collecting newspaper. Those which are made of lacquered paper are not suitable, so ordinary one, which can absorb moist will be in order.
Next, you will need space to store the tubers. I have opted for basement since, during winter, the temperature doesn’t drop below zero. So, cleaning of the basement was in order. When I caught time, I swept the floor, made room, the usual things you do when you clean the room. Of course, you can do this late during the season, but if there is a lot of clutter, start earlier.
Since there are two ways to store sweet potatoes, the second one requires almost no preparation, since the tubers will be frozen, and the whole procedure takes place in the kitchen.
When Should I Start?
Contrary to popular opinions, storing well done begins much sooner than after harvesting. It all begins when the first tuber is sown, and this is another reason why this article is written now.
Namely, for tubers to be suitable for storing, they have to be healthy, without bruises, holes or cuts. This is done by proper watering and not too much of it, keeping the garden free of weeds, pests, and diseases.
Luckily, many of those can be avoided, and not every time chemical solutions need to be applied. Take pests for example. It became our reaction to reach for commercial sprays and treatments, while there are a lot of organic insecticide recipes you can use to tackle this problem.
Once the stems begin to brown, the time for harvesting comes, and you need to act. First, to choose the best time for collection, see that the weather is cloudy, if possible. This is important because sweet potatoes are sensitive to sunlight.
How To Harvest Sweet Potatoes?
If you have never collected sweet potatoes, the principle is simple. You will need a spade or hand fork. Start with digging the soil a bit further from the tuber, so that it won’t be damaged. Dig them out and transfer to somewhere warm with good air circulation. Of course, shake off any dirt which remained.
Spread the tubers for a few days and leave them to dry. The temperature in the room should be between 75 and 80°F, with high air humidity (90-95%). This process is called curing, and it can last from 7 to 14 days. During this process, the tubers will form a second skin, so they will be protected from bruising and spoiling.
Monitor the situation carefully, and if needed, add an electric fan to keep the air circulating. Also, don’t bundle up the potatoes together. Also, you will notice that the color is changing toward deep orange. This is normal, and don’t panic.
Storing Sweet Potatoes Without Freezing
The first and most natural way to save these tubers is a sequel to curing procedure. Remember those newspapers? Now is the time to use them.
Take each tuber, wrap it in the newspaper, and line them in a box. Add an apple inside to prevent budding, and close the box. The storage space should be between 55 and 60°F. I have used the basement, as I said. When tubers are stored in this way, they can last for several months.
Remember not to wash them before storing, but before usage. Sweet potatoes have their natural layer which can protect it from spoiling, and if washed, they will spoil much faster.
Call Freezer To Your Aid
There is a second way to store sweet potatoes, and this one is good if you are short on storage space. All that is needed are kitchen dishes.
Start with peeling sweet potatoes which don’t need to be cured, so tubers straight from the garden can be used. Wash them thoroughly, and cook for about 20 minutes. After that, you can either mash them or beat them by using a mixer. Also, sprinkle a bit of lemon juice over the mashed mass, to avoid the loss of the color.
Transfer those to an airtight container, and store them in the freezer. Like this, they can last for about a year. Of course, you should avoid to save them whole, because of storage space.
Now that you know how to store sweet potatoes, I hope that you will use this article to your advantage. Those two procedures are rather simple, and I believe that you will have no trouble in applying them.
As always, you are more than welcome to leave your thoughts, comments, and opinions in the comment section below.