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Potatoes are an essential part of the daily diet of many families. Today you can find many recipes where this vegetable is used. Moreover, for many, this product becomes the main one in the winter. With this in mind, potatoes are purchased and stored for the entire cold period.
Vegetables always require special handling and, when it comes to potatoes, you have to tinker. The purchase of potatoes is carried out in the fall and storing them all winter is a whole science.
But what if you live in an apartment building and you do not have a cellar, barn, and the like? In this case, there is an original solution - storing potatoes on the balcony. How to choose the right potatoes, prepare a place for wintering vegetables - let's try to figure it out in this article.
The most important criterion for maintaining the taste of potatoes throughout the entire winter storage is the right choice of vegetable:
- Early potato varieties are not suitable for the selected purposes.
- The potatoes must be dry. Wet potatoes are prone to rapid rotting and premature germination.
- If, when buying potatoes, spoiled or dented, rotten tubers were identified, then you should not take such a batch. The fact is that even one potato in a box is capable of "infecting" the entire stock.
- The thickness of the rind is critical. The thicker it is, the longer the shelf life of a given batch, and the better all the taste qualities of the product will be preserved.
Reference! The most stable and “long-lived” varieties are “Lasunak” and “Bronnitski”.
For storage you need:
- Shake the tubers off the ground.
- Dry the harvest. This is the most important stage of preparation. A moist vegetable is most prone to rotting. Drying is carried out on a warm day on a blanket in direct sunlight. You can do this at home by drying the root crop on the loggia or balcony. Excess moisture should leave the entire surface of the root vegetable skin.
- Sort whipped and unhealthy potatoes from the whole. Healthy tubers must be stored, and those that are damaged can be hidden in the refrigerator and eaten in the near future.
- Arrange in boxes and bags and place in a suitable storage location.
We select a place for storage
Loggia or balcony should preferably be glazed... At a minimum, there should be side walls. Below are the main criteria for storing potatoes on the balcony:
- The preservation of vegetables throughout the winter is possible at a temperature that does not exceed 5-12 degrees and does not fall below 3 Celsius.
- Humidity should be organized in the range of 30-45%.
- Vegetables should not be exposed to direct sunlight.
- Mandatory ventilation, or little air circulation.
- Protection against water ingress.
- One of the most reliable ways of storing tubers is an insulated box (read about the rules for storing potatoes in a box in winter here). It is made independently from scrap materials and old boards. You can purchase a ready-made one. A prerequisite for the box is a double bottom, as well as walls, which are filled with insulation. You can use foam or cotton wool.
- Used and unnecessary refrigerators are especially popular. They are placed so that the door can be opened upwards. Such storage involves covering the potatoes with a cloth to absorb condensed moisture, as well as regular airing.
Storing potatoes on the balcony in winter is possible only at a temperature of at least 3 ° Celsius. But what if it is not glazed? In this case, you should make and equip your own mini - cellar.
- Boxes and potatoes... Potatoes are poured into polypropylene or fabric bags and placed in wooden boxes. The top is covered with insulation (mattress, cotton blanket). As soon as the cold sets in, and the air temperature drops to -14-17 °, the vegetables must be transferred to the dwelling.
- Thermal cabinets... Off-the-shelf cabinet models are available to ensure proper storage temperature and continuous ventilation. Such cellars are powered by electricity. Ideal for keeping stock.
- Flexible cellars... It is made of special fabric and looks like a huge backpack with a built-in temperature regulator.
The advantages of this type of equipment:
- It opens and closes with the installed zipper.
- The built-in temperature maintenance system is able to maintain the selected heat mode regardless of weather conditions from + 3 ° to -35 ° Celsius.
- Even if the electricity goes out, the smart mechanism will still be able to keep the heating mode for several hours.
- Economical to use. Electricity consumption is no more than 30-45 watts per hour.
- You can store not only potatoes, but other vegetables as well.
- Compact and does not take up much space. If not needed, it can be easily folded up and placed in a special small-sized bag.
Potato lovers make one of the biggest storage mistakes by leaving potatoes uncovered on the balcony.
The lid of the box should always be closed, and if it is not there, you can cover the potatoes with insulation (blanket or mattress).
When the balcony is not warmed up by central heating, then for the proper preservation of tubers during the cold season recommend to take care of additional heating of the storage room... Such a repository is assembled very simply:
- You will need two wooden boxes of different sizes.
- One is inserted into the other, the gap between them is filled with insulating materials - polystyrene, foam rubber, you can fill the voids with foam.
- Pour sawdust or rags on the bottom. You can use straw chopped into small fractions. It keeps heat well and ensures proper air circulation in the chamber.
Very it is economically possible to maintain the temperature of the chamber by fitting several low-watt lamps inside... Working a couple of hours a day, they will provide the temperature you need for storage, and even in the most severe frosts you will not have to worry about the safety of potatoes on the balcony.
An old refrigerator will fit perfectly into a balcony without heating. There is no need to insulate it, and the lid can be turned into a pouf for sitting.
The necessary conditions
The main mistake when storing potatoes on a balcony without heating is untimely measures to insulate the box... As a rule, they begin to think about this only when the temperature outside the window has already dropped too much, and the potatoes have received their first frostbite.
Do not worry about excessive overheating when insulating a container. In any case, the temperature inside will not be able to quickly rise and harm the crop. Insulation is not made for heating, but in order to keep the heat.
At a constant temperature above 0 ° C
Many issues of storing vegetables immediately disappear at a constant above-zero temperature on the balcony or loggia. There is no need to bother with insulation, ventilation can be arranged by opening the window for a while. The following are the most common ways to store potatoes on a warm balcony.
- Nets with potatoes - You can build a small storage room with regular wire mesh by pulling and securing it between the walls. Cover the walls of such a niche with polypropylene fabric or burlap. You can put potatoes in such a structure. A lid can be built on top, or simply covered with a cloth.
- Storage in bags - The most common storage method in warm rooms, which does not require the construction of structures. The bags have sufficient ventilation properties and do not allow sunlight to pass through. Each bag can hold up to 30 kilograms of potatoes.
- Wooden boxes Is a favorite way of storing potatoes. They have a large capacity and are compact in use. Can be placed in two rows one on one.
The temperature on the balcony should not exceed 17 degrees, otherwise the tubers will dry out and the potatoes will lose their taste.
A tightly closed balcony throughout the entire winter storage will be able to provoke the onset of rotting tubers... Ventilation is a prerequisite for proper preservation of potatoes. Humidity in a warm room should be 45-50%.
How to keep potatoes for a long time?
- The main condition for the successful and long-term storage of potatoes is its selection during purchase and sorting after it. Healthy tubers store well and are not prone to dry out or rot.
- Do not store the "second bread" together with other vegetables in the collection. The only ally of potatoes is beets. They can be put into the box together. Beets tend to absorb excess moisture.
- When sorting through the tubers, do not allow the soil to stick to the potatoes. Such oversight can lead to the development of molds.
Only high-quality potatoes can be stored for a long time, so you need to carefully approach the purchase and preparation of potatoes.
We talked in detail about the secrets of storing potatoes in the cellar in winter here, and from this article you will learn about what conditions should be in the vegetable store in order to avoid rotting and spoilage of the vegetable.
Watch a useful video on how to make a thermobox with your own hands for storing potatoes on the balcony