It can be infuriating to pick up a bag of potatoes at the grocery store, only to have a few days pass and realize they’re all full of eyes — those little growths that come out of the sides.
One Instagram user showed her audience how to improve their potato storage to keep eyes off their potatoes and decrease food waste.
She said viewers should transfer their potatoes into a paper bag rather than storing the spuds in a plastic one. Then, she recommended adding an apple to the bag before placing the produce in a cool, dry place.
“This will keep your potatoes fresh for months. You can thank me later,” she wrote in the caption.
The hack works because potatoes sprout when kept in moist, dark environments, which mimic the ground the plant is grown in. Transferring the potatoes to a paper bag can allow the spuds to breathe and regulate moisture exposure.
The apple element of this hack is more contested. Apples and other types of produce release ethylene gas as they ripen. While the fruit may increase the respiration rate of the potatoes and cause them to stay fresh longer, the potato itself isn’t that sensitive to ethylene. The impact may be negligible.
How it’s helping
With the apple or without, this paper bag trick can help home cooks reduce kitchen waste by preventing the amount of sprouted spuds they have to throw out every week.
Not only is the accumulation of this lost food problematic because it releases planet-warming, polluting methane gas in landfills, but also because of how much money and energy is lost in harvesting, storing, and transporting food that gets thrown in the trash. This translates to money coming out of the consumer’s pocket, but also the planet bearing the cost of wastefulness.
What people are saying
Users were intrigued by the hack but noted that eye-covered potatoes are still safe to eat. Just don’t eat the eyes themselves. Experts recommend cutting them away because they contain potentially toxic compounds called glycoalkaloids.
If the potato is green, which is caused by light exposure post-harvest, it’s best not to eat it. The same goes for potatoes that are soft and wrinkled. If you don’t want them to end up in the garbage, place the spuds into your garden, and they’ll mature into potato plants.
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