Can you Refrigerate Potatoes?

5/25/10 This question came from a reader of one the Mom Bloggers that visited Peapod recently.  Great question on whether to refrigerate potatoes or not to, because there is a lot of confusion on the proper way to store potatoes. First, the ideal temperature for potatoes is between 45 and 50 degrees. Peapod stores and picks their potatoes in rooms that are between 45 and 55 degrees. It is important that at this time of year that the consumer store their potatoes in the coolest darkest place possible and never ever store potatoes next to onions as both produce and emit gases that will cause each other to go bad more quickly (most people are guilty of this storage mistake). Also, one thing to remember is how potatoes are picked;  the growing season in most potato producing regions ended back in October/November. The growers remove the potatoes from the ground let them dry, then store them in vast underground caves where the temperature is a constant 50 degrees or below all year round. As the demand calls for, the potatoes are released and shipped all over the world. So as the potato gets older the will have a tendency to sprout. So russet potatoes in the months of May, June and July are especially susceptible to sprouting so that is why they should be kept at the proper temperature.

Finally to answer the question, potatoes can be refrigerated with no ill affect to potatoes, but it will alter the flavor as potatoes like some other vegetables contain sugar and at lower temperatures even some of the carbohydrates will convert to sugar making for a sweeter potato. So yes you can refrigerate potatoes, but I would take out of the refrigerator and let them warm up for at least 30 minutes before using. 

The person that asked the question,regarding refrigerating potatoes  also referred to a natural occurring toxin in potatoes called solanine.  If a potato produces long sprouts and or is a greenish color it indicates elevated levels of solanine and should be discarded, but don't worry 99.9% of potatoes are safe to eat.

Mom Bloggers, Cherries, Peaches and more...

5/13 First, I would like to thank all the Mom bloggers who took the time to tour Peapod's facilities in Washington D.C and Chicago.  It was great to meet everyone and I admire your blogs and the effort you put into sharing your knowledge, your fun, and your experience with everyone.  I aways enjoy talking to customers and potential customers about Peapod.  I especially enjoy talking about my produce and it appeared quite a few of you enjoyed my tips about produce.  So here are some quick produce updates for this week:

Cherries 

They are here, the first cherries of the Season in Peapod by Giant and Peapod Chicago!  A word of warning they are expensive as they are the first of the season, but the quality is good and I give them 6.5 on the flavor scale.  As I was tasting them, my produce assistant remarked how much he loved cherries and how he missed the flavor, so all cherry lovers should love the taste. 

Next are the first peaches of the year, the flavor of peaches at the beginning of the season is always better than nectarines so that is why I am recommending peaches.  Tip:  when choosing peaches avoid peaches with greenish hue or background as this usually indicates under-ripe fruit.

Lastly, I really love the asparagus!  In Chicago it is coming locally from Michigan and don't forget vidalia onions on sale and some of the sweetest vidalias in recent memory.