Keeping your fruits and vegetables in the fridge can help prolong their freshness and slow down germ growth, right? Yes — sometimes. But not all fruit and veg should be stored in the fridge, especially not potatoes.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) advises never to store uncooked potatoes in the fridge, because not only can it alter their taste, it can also lead to some potentially harmful health effects.
When a potato is stored in the fridge, the starch is converted to sugar, which can alter the taste and texture of your potato, making them taste sweeter and become tougher. But more importantly, according to the FSA, “When baked or fried these sugars combine with the amino acid asparagine and produce the chemical acrylamide, which is thought to be harmful.”
According to Metro, the chemical acrylamide is a “genotoxic carcinogen that’s been linked to an increased risk of cancer.” However, the FSA says more research is needed to establish “the long-term effects of consuming large amounts of acrylamide.”
Regardless of this, the rewards of storing potatoes in the fridge just doesn’t seem worth the risk. So where should they live?
According to Eating Well, potatoes like cool not cold temperatures with the ideal temperature at around 7 degrees Celsius. For optimum results, place your raw potatoes in a paper bag (this is a better alternative to plastic as it is more breathable and thus delays rot) and store them in a cool, dark place without any direct sunlight.
Another top tip from Shelf Life Advice is to avoid washing potatoes before storing them, as the residual moisture will “accelerate spoilage and mold growth.”
Potatoes are not the only fruit that you may be storing incorrectly: hard avocados should not be refrigerated as they won’t be able to ripen; onions should not be stored next to potatoes; and keep your tomatoes out of the fridge and on the counter away from direct sunlight. For more information on how to store certain foods visit sites like Eating Well or Prevention.