I suppose this will reveal my total ignorance of potatoes until they became trendy. My mom didn't really make potatoes. I didn't make them when I was vegetarian or vegan. I didn't eat them when I did paleo or low-carb. But I started eating them sometimes maybe a little over a year ago when I realized I needed to eat a little higher carb in order to avoid hypotension issues.
Either way, I didn't know what I was doing. Like I didn't know you had to wash them or that if you boiled them it would make them easier to saute. Thanks Chris Masterjohn for teaching me that.
But the reality is that I don't eat them very much. I'll buy them and if I store them outside the fridge, even in my dark pantry, they sprout in just a few days. If I put them in the fridge, in a few days they look all bruised. So I end up eating rice for carbs most of the time. What am I doing wrong? How does potato work?
"How does potato work" (Did anyone else hear "How you make babby" in their heads?)
Dryness helps as well. When I was a kid in shop class, one of our "projects" was to build a "tater box". This was a wooden bin for storing potatoes, and a drawer below for onions and garlic. This wooden bin was hinged on top, but it's backing was made from pegboard to keep the bin from getting musty. The interior was also left unfinished, which I'm sure wicked additional moisture away.
My grandmother's first project once getting the "tater box" was to sew a muslin bag with about a pound of rice in it, and placing it in the bottom of the bin.
In traditional "root cellars", potatoes were packed in sand or very dry dirt in a basement where they would stay cool, and the dry dirt or sand would prevent surface moisture.
Mostly though, I think you need fresher potatoes. I only eat potatoes once a week, and they keep in my pantry for at least 2 weeks, most often up to a month. That being said, I only buy about 5 at a time - and when I was a kid we only ate our own potatoes that kept for what seemed to be months at a time.
I see my Tuber Guy, aka Joe of Healthway Farms, on Monday's at the Union Square Farmers Market here in NYC. I know by weight, yes I'm a nerd, how many I'll need for the week and will usually grab a variety - Adirondacks, Fingerlings, et al. I don't have a ton of room so buying large amounts isn't in the cards for me.
I've been N=1 a bit with carbs lately and have been purchasing less, more Japanese sweet potatoes right now, but when tubers - and the sweeties, are in the house?
If one is lost but found in the cupboard and still feels nice and firm but maybe some sprouting? I peel and eat.
Notes: If they're kept too cold then that may be the bruising you're seeing as sugars are developing - unless you're washing them first, accidentally bash them, hence the bruising. Or that section of the fridge is so cold they could be getting a little frozen. Try putting them in a paper bag and storing in a lesser cold spot.. maybe the door unless you have a magical fridge that actually has drawers.. sigh. That would be so nice to have.
I have an awesome book called The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times By Carol Deppe and mother trucking score - sections are available online. Viola! One of the available chapters is storing le tubers.
Faced with this Gordian Knot, I've employed a couple subpar options:
Cut out the sprouts, cook and eat.
Cook potatoes within a few days after buying, freeze the contents in a careful fashion.
The thing that I haven't tried, but want to, is storing them with apples and other shit... http://www.wikihow.com/Stop-Potatoes-from-Sprouting-in-Storage
In a cotton tote bag under your bed. Just don't forget they are there, lest you do some "spring cleaning" one day and find a root forest where the potatoes you bought 6 months ago once were.
Cool and dark is the way to go with potatoes. If you don't have a place to store them that's usually a little cooler than room temperature I'd buy small quantities. That's what I have to do here in southern Nevada.
I know it's a no-no to store them in the fridge, I think because some of the starches convert to sugar. I've done it many times and I thought they tasted fine but then I'm a fruit lover.
I don't know about the bruising, that might relate more to how they were handled before you got them--I never saw unusual bruising in my fridge. And, of course, you should handle them gently as well.
I put them under the sink--even sitting next to the garlic and onions they don't seem to ever sprout. I buy my tubers at a big-box wholesale place--i believe if they are not 'cured' correctly by the grower, you will face more problems at home. The under-sink area is actually ventilated somewhat, dark, cool and relatively humid. If your pantry is exposed to the air in your living quarters, it might actually be as warm, dry/humid/ etc as your living space:
on page 3 you will find a table with temp, humidity and weightloss after 5 weeks of storage in all likely locations of the home (which might not exactly apply to a smaller living space.) http://www.cals.uidaho.edu/edComm/pdf/cis/cis1153.pdf
i know a major factor in causing potatoes to sprout is if they're being stored with certain other veggies or fruit. like -- keep you bananas miles away from them. other than that dark, cool and dry is the biggest consideration.
From good ol' Martha Stewart...
Here is a link to Martha's very helpful Seasonal Produce Guide which gives basic tips on what to look for and how to store produce for every season... http://www.marthastewart.com/276955/seasonal-produce-recipe-guide?tab=index