It’d be an understatement to say that potatoes are an American staple. Whether you bake them, mash them, or just cut them up and stick ’em in an air fryer, there are a million ways to eat those spuds and never get sick of them! However, while potatoes are also a popular veggie given their longer shelf life, it turns out that placing them nexts to apples could accidentally shorten that timeframe drastically.
Why are apples so harmful to this beloved vegetable? It’s actually thanks to a strange chemical reaction you wouldn’t even notice. Apples contain a high amount of what’s called ethylene gas, a hydrocarbon gas that naturally emits from fruits as they age and ripen over time. Ethylene drives growth and development in fruits in a similar way that hormones regulate bodily processes in humans to keep everything running smoothly. Some fruits, due to structure and also size, tend to release greater amounts of ethylene gas over time, such as apples and pears. Meanwhile, smaller fruits like cherries and blueberries tend to let go of far less gas, thus not as dangerous to other produce around them.
Because the ethlyene gas in apples can hasten the ripening of anything in close proximity to it, it can start to spoil potatoes if they’re sitting near by. So instead of storing those spuds in some sort of fruit bowl or placing them next to a bunch of apples in the fridge, put clean potatoes in an airtight container, then place it in a cool, dry, dark place, like your pantry. This should help them last up to two weeks without any issues. If you follow this same process but store your spuds in the fridge, you could extend that shelf life to three to four weeks.
The next time you want to just leave all of your fruits and veggies sitting out together for convenience, consider putting those potatoes in their own separate area! Your dishes — and your grocery bill — will thank you.