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Where & how do you keep your potatoes & onions

I have tried many places in my kitchen/pantry and many dif containers. I am never satisfied. I have looked for quality 'potato keepers' on the internet and found nothing that impressed me. I know that kept under optimal conditions potatoes shd keep well for a long time (look at the early Americans with their root cellars!). At any time, I could have several varieties of potatoes and onions in the house, but often find (or smell) rotten ones. I have a wonderful antique wire hanger with 3 baskets, but the light gets to the potatoes and they sprout or green. I cover them with towels but that is not perfect. i tried keeping them all in their separate brown paper bags - that doesn't work for me, it's out of sight - out of mind... then they rot because I forget what's in all those bags or under those towels. I have a pantry between the kitchen and garage but it is only cool during the winter months, it becomes very warm in the summer. And I do not co-mingle the potatoes and onions.

I'd love to hear of how other chowhounds protect their potatoes and onions for best keeping quality. Thanks!

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  1. Mine are co-mingled - at least on either side of a single large (about 1-1/2' wide) plastic storage bin (kinda like what college students might use for sweaters or t-shirts) in a gap under the stairs going down into the basement. It can get warm down there in the summer, so I tend to buy fewer potatoes at a time in the summer. But otherwise, the cooler months, they seem to hold pretty well, even being separated by only about 6" or so.

    1. I use alot of onions (3-4 a week), so long term storage does not come into play. I store them on top of my fridge.

      As an Irish-American, potatoes are another staple I use quickly, so they also live on top of the fridge for the short time they are around in my house.

      1. I keep them out of their plastic bags just out on my counter...The onions tend to last the longest...I really don't expect the potatoes to last more than a few days or so...after that they get a bit soft for my taste...If I am going to makes potatoes, I generally buy them just a couple of days in advance......

        1. I have a small apartment kitchen with very limited counter space and overflowing cabinets, so I keep them in a French-type string grocery bag that hangs from a hook beneath my butcher-block table, which is also my cutting board. It doesn't keep them as cool as they should be, but it does keep them to hand and pretty much out of the light.

          1 Reply
          1. re: JoanN

            Sounds like my kitchen! My sink is in the corner of my kitchen, and so behind it I have triangular shaped stacking metal mesh baskets that I use.

          2. For onions and smaller potatoes, a great storage tool is a large bamboo steamer set on the counter top. It is able to keep air circulating and keeps them cool and dark. So, if you live somewhere near an Asian grocery or restaurant supply, you can get 2- one for each item- pretty cheap.

            Putting onions in the fridge does something strange to sugars and it just doesn't taste right to me.

            1 Reply
            1. re: charlottecooks

              I really like this idea. Due to my kitchens lengthly list of quirks, this seems to be the most workable idea for me. Thanks!