You’ve just brought home a fresh bag of little potatoes and want to make sure they keep fresh until you’re ready to cook with them. There are two common battles that you may face when storing potatoes—potatoes growing sprouts and potatoes turning green. So, what’s the best way to store your potatoes to keep them fresh and delicious?

Hold the sprouts

Maybe this has happened to you before: you’ve just returned from the grocery store with a fresh bag of your favorite potatoes, and you want to make sure they stay fresh. You lovingly place them in the cool and dark corners of your pantry…and then immediately forget you ever bought them.

Time passes, you begin to have that feeling like you’ve forgotten something, and then the next time you organize your cupboards you realize what’s happened. Your beloved potatoes have started growing strange coral-like clusters that don’t look entirely edible. In fact, they look more like they belong at the bottom of the ocean than in your stomach.

After quickly tossing them out, you vow that the next time you bring home a bag of spuds you will keep them out of the dark.

When you purchase your next bag of potatoes, you opt to keep them in a well-lit spot in your kitchen. “They shall not be overtaken by sprouts this time!” You declare triumphantly, as you relish in your victory over the tiny aliens emerging from your produce.

When green is not your best color

As the days pass, you start to notice your potatoes shape-shifting again, but this time they’re not sprouting, they’re changing color. What was once a healthy and earthly hue is now a vibrant, borderline offensive shade of green. “What is the meaning of this strange metamorphosis?!” You demand of the heavens, crying out in anguish. How are you supposed to find victory in this eternal potato battle between light and dark?! Where is the happy medium? Will you ever enjoy potatoes again?!

If this speaks to your battle-weary soul, fear not. As it turns out, there are perfectly natural and logical explanations for potatoes sprouting limbs and looking like they’ve been infused with plutonium. And what’s more, there’s a perfectly realistic way of storing your spuds.

Why do potatoes sprout?

Fun fact: Potatoes don’t actually need soil to sprout—they just need favourable environmental conditions. So, if you keep your potatoes somewhere that it’s cool, dark, and they have access to moisture, they will joyously begin to spread their sprouts and grow in the shadows. The more sprouts that grow, the more depleted their nutritional value becomes.

Why do potatoes turn green?

If you’ve ever kept your potatoes in a brightly-lit place, you may have experienced this. When potatoes are exposed to too much fluorescent light, they will turn a surprisingly vibrant shade of green. This happens because of chlorophyll being produced inside the potato, which isn’t necessarily bad, but it can also cause toxins like glycoalkaloids to reproduce. When this happens, it’s best to just find your nearest compost bin and let them move onto a better life in the soil.

How to store potatoes and win the eternal battle of light and dark

The answer is easier than you might think—and doesn’t require you to become a self-proclaimed warrior against potato-kind. Turns out that storing your potatoes in a cool, dark, dry place is ideal! A temperature of around 38°F or 3°C is the ideal way to keep your potatoes cool and out of direct light until you’re ready to cook them.

This is especially true for Little Potatoes, which come pre-washed and ready to eat. Keep your potatoes in a visible spot in your pantry, so you don’t forget they’re there. By keeping those spuds in your sights you can turn them into something delicious the whole family will enjoy. Learn more about where our Little Potatoes come from here.

Ready to get cooking?

You can find all our favorite recipes at our Recipe Center. Not sure where to start? Try our Chicken Pot Pie Soup for a hearty family dinner recipe. Or, if you’re looking for something a little lighter, try our Herbed Potato Salad for a fresh and tangy side dish.