The Q&A Archives: Sweet Potato Storage

Question: I have a great crop of sweet potatoes every year, however I can't seem to make them keep well. I have tried to cure them first (2 weeks at 75-80 degrees at high humidity) then store them in the basement. They shrivel up after just a few weeks. Help!!

Answer: I'm not sure what you have tried in the past other than the curing method so I will tell you the recommended storage procedure and you can see how it compares to what you have been doing. Sweet potatoes should be stored in an area that is in the temperature range of 55-60 degrees. Relative humidity is an extremely important factor. For sweet potatoes you need relative humidity of 85-90%. You can purchase devices that will measure this for you. The average storage life of a sweet potato under these conditions is 4-6 months. The spot you pick for storage should remain constant in the temperature and humidity ranges; fluctuations will effect the sweet potatoes. If you are storing in the basement of your home north and east sides of the house are preferred. Avoid heat ducts and hot water pipes. Preferably the room should have an outside window through which cool air can be admitted as necessary. The window should be shaded however to exclude light. If you are storing fruit and vegetables, besure to keep them separated. Ethylene gas produced by apples can causes potatoes to sprout.

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