The potato (Solanum tuberosum) is a kind of flower original from South America and cultivated worldwide due to its edible tubes, natives from Chile, Peru and Ecuador were the first cultivating this plant, afterwards arrived to Europe by 16th Century although people started to cultivate it a little bit later.
Potato is one of the most popular plant worldwide, it is recommended for human food, row material for agro-alimentary industries to produce fries, frozen potatoes, etc. and also for animal food.
Early potato: collected between April and June, small size, fine skin and plenty of water.
Season potato: collected between June and September, big size and better to conserve than the previous ones.
Late potato: thicker skin, collected till middle of January may be storage during the whole winter time.
Potato is an alive part of the stem, with a high quantity of water inside, and as every living being inhale oxygen and exhale CO2. For this reason, depending on the final destination, preservation should need different temperature and humidity parameters. That is why the best solution is a cooling room for potatoes. Refrigeration of onions is essential for the preservation of all its qualities.
Tubers are storage in coolant rooms for a period of 3 to 10 months approx., during this period of time is important to keep a constant humidity and temperature conditions.
Potatoes may be kept for a long period of time with temperature around 5ºC because tubers respire slowly and bacteria and fungi take more time to appear.
Regarding humidity, the best point should be to keep 90% humidity in air to avoid that potatoes loose water by evaporation and tubers become soft.
Obviously, temperature and humidity conditions may vary depending on the variety and consumption, potatoes for processing (fries, puree, etc.) conservation require higher temperature (8ºC) and relative humidity of 95%, this is because of decomposition from carbohydrates to sugar during the coolant conservation at low temperature, making the potato to become dark and sweet taste, what is not desired for human consumption.
It is important to realize the difference between a high relative humidity and to keep potatoes humid, first one is good for the conservation and second one should cause strong damages during the storage.
WHAT YOU MUST KNOW
Potato conservation in cooling rooms should be homogeneous to minimize the condensation risk.
Ventilation is important to keep products dry, leaving air circulation free.
Potato coolant from field to ideal temperature should be progressive.
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