How to Store Potatoes and Onions in a Small Apartment


Potatoes and onions are generally part of easy-to-do recipes we love to make at home. But to store these staple veggies in a small apartment can be a challenge without getting a little creative.

Unlike a large or medium-sized kitchen, there isn’t always enough space for plenty of supplies in an apartment kitchen.

Potatoes and onions should be stored separately in a cool, dry area. In a small apartment, they could be placed on the countertop or a shelf provided that they are inside a container. Put them inside different a paper bag with ventilation. Limit their exposure to light to avoid sprouting.

If you find it challenging to find the right storage area for your potatoes and onions, then stick around to know your options.

Can You Store Potatoes and Onions Together?

Here’s the rule of thumb when storing potatoes and onions. They shouldn’t be placed in the same storage area or container. They hate each other. Or at least they cause spoilage to one another at a faster pace.

You may encounter plenty of internet sources saying that the reason for this condition is due to the fact that onion releases ethylene gas. This substance can be found in fruits like apples and bananas as well as other vegetables. It speeds up the ripening process which in turn leads to faster spoiling.

However, onions do not actually give off ethylene gas. The true reason why you can’t keep onions and potatoes together is that both vegetables emit moisture.

Microbes that cause spoilage love moisture. It allows them to grow exponentially over a short period of time. The more microbes reproduce, the higher the likelihood of wrinkling and rotting.

Thereby, the high amount of combined moisture released by potatoes and onions is to blame for why they rot faster together.

If you plan to use your potatoes and onions for a longer time, better keep them away from each other.

Can You Store Potatoes and Onions in a Drawer?

The vegetable drawer in the fridge is not the best place to store your potatoes and onions. Doing so will alter some of their properties.

Raw potatoes may be kept fresh in a fridge but their sugar content will increase. Thereby, when you cook your potatoes there’s a high chance that the taste may be a tad sweeter for your intended recipe.

But what’s worse than an altered taste in the potato is the formation of a substance known as acrylamide. This chemical has been associated with cancer.

Onions experience the same changes in taste as that of potatoes. In addition to that, they become mushy and stink up the entire fridge. They also spoil faster in the fridge.

On the other hand, keeping potatoes and onions in a kitchen drawer is alright as long as they are separated, and ventilation is not an issue.

Tips on Storing Potatoes

If you’ve lived in a small apartment long enough, you probably already understand the value of storing potatoes properly. Potatoes are involved in many meals that letting one go to waste can be frustrating.

Imagine hankering for homemade fries only to find out the potatoes have gone bad. Sure, the nearest Mcdonald’s could respond to your craving, but your satisfaction is at stake.

The relative shelf life of potatoes is at 3-5 weeks. This can be shortened due to improper storage.

So, if you plan to never have rotten potatoes in your kitchen, here are some helpful tips to effectively store your potatoes.

1. Keep it in the dark.

Potatoes are root crops that will continue to sprout green shoots for a short time. If they do so, it could lead to rotting. To avoid this condition, you need to cut the growth requirements.

After all, potatoes and plants, first and foremost. Hence, you restrict its access to light which is its primary source of energy for photosynthesis. Without this process, energy will not be produced, and growth will be halted.

2. Place it in a ventilated container.

Ventilation is important for the freshness of the potatoes. It prevents moisture from building up. It allows them to breathe and keep a longer shelf life. Remove them from plastic immediately after to get to your kitchen. Place them in a mesh bag, a paper bag, or basket.

3. Do not wash them until you’re going to use them.

It may sound off-putting that you shouldn’t wash your potatoes immediately. If you’ve bought them from a Farmer’s market and they still have traces of dirt, it could be really tempting.

But if you wish to lengthen its shelf life, washing it before use is the last thing you should do. It adds moisture that is retained during storage. And we know what happens to potatoes with high moisture content.

4. Check for soft spots and sprouting sections.

Even before you make a purchase, carefully inspect the potatoes for soft spots and areas that seem to be sprouting.

Potatoes are prone to fungal infections that cause internal rot without outside manifestation. Soft spots can be an indication of infection. In the same way, sprouting may be good if you’re gardening, but for long-term consumption, they lead to spoiling.

To get your money’s worth, make sure to use the potatoes you bought within their shelf life. Always check for parts that are about to get rotten. Quickly separate the bad ones from the healthy ones.

Tips on Storing Whole Onions

Not everyone is a fan of onions. But it is undeniable, that they dominate a lot of recipes. They are an important ingredient if you’re aiming for a savory meal. Thereby, storing onions for a long time saves you more money and keeps your pantry flavorful.

Whole unpeeled onions have a relatively long shelf life. They can retain their freshness for up to two to three months if you store them right.

1. Place them in a ventilated area.

Much like potatoes, onions require ventilation to minimize moisture. The ideal temperature for onion storage is between 40 oF to 50 oF.

In this condition, fungal growth is prevented which essentially causes mold formation and rotting. Keeping them in a dry, cool place prevents spoilage and extends their shelf life.

2. Avoid placing them near other fruits and vegetables.

Aside from the smell, onions can also have a critical effect on the quality of other fruits and vegetables. If you’re unsure, just keep the onions separated from your other produce.

3. Don’t keep them inside a plastic bag.

Putting onions in a plastic blog blocks the circulation of air. In turn, moisture will build up and you’ll end up throwing your onions away. Avoid placing them in clothes as well.

For extended shelf life, place them on a wicker basket, a mesh bag, or improvised with an unused pantyhose with holes.

Keeping your onions fresh is not exactly hard. Just follow the recommended practices in storing onions and you’ll never have spoiled ones in your kitchen.

In a Nutshell

A small apartment may have a limited kitchen area but it’s not an excuse for improper storage of produce. 

Always bear in mind that there are fruits and vegetables that aren’t supposed to be together. Onions and potatoes are two of them.

While it could save you a lot of space in storage, you’d be risking the freshness and overall quality of these vegetables. Keep them separated in a dry, cool area with little to no light. Always check for signs of rotting and spoilage. With the best storage practices, your supply will last longer, and a trip to the grocery need not be too frequent.

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