FARM PRODUCE FAQS

Storing Onions

Should I Store my onions in the refrigerator?

No. Onions should not be store in the household fridge because of its high moisture atmosphere. If you have chopped an onion and have some left over, you can wrap in plastic wrap or put in an air tight container and store in the fridge for reuse within 3 to 4 days.

Where is it best to store my onions?

Onions are best stored in a place that can provide a cool and dry environment. A pantry or a low cupboard, which can minimise the exposure to heat and light, is the ideal option. You can use a wooden box with a lid. It is recommended that onions and potatoes NOT be stored together because they both negatively affect the storage life one of another when they are in the same storage space. A storage area under a sink can also harness moisture, which can affect the shelf life so it is best to avoid the under sink area as a storage option. If stored in an ideal environment your onions should last weeks, even months.

For more information about onions you can visit www.onionsaustralia.org.au

Potatoes and Nutrition

Are potatoes a low or high GI food?

The potato has a GI of 65-101 and is generally considered to be a high GI food. This is not an overall guide as the GI can alter depending on the variety of potato and the cooking method and also how it is stored. Not all potatoes have a high GI. There are some potato varieties that have been tested and given a low GI. GI can be variable and is influenced by methodology and GI is not a reflection of nutrient content. Source: Potatoes South Australia.

What is GI?

GI stands for Glycemic Index. GI is a figure associated with a given food that represents the total rise of a person’s blood glucose level after the immediate consumption of the given food. There are other factors that can contribute to the rise of one’s blood glucose level.

Storing Potatoes

Should I store my potatoes in the refrigerator?

No. Your potatoes are best stored in a cool, dark and well-ventilated area. Keep them away from exposure to heat and light, to help prevent them from breakdown.  The temperatures of your household refrigerator are too low. This converts the potato’s starch into sugar and can result in a sweet taste. It also causes the potatoes to darken early when frying or roasting, due to the extra sugar content. (This conversion process can sometimes be reversed by storing the potatoes at room temperature for a week to 10 days.) Always remove potatoes from plastic packaging, where they can sweat when in storage with inadequate ventilation. They are best stored in a hessian bag, heavy paper bag or a wooden box with lid.

How long will my potatoes last?

When selecting potatoes, look for produce that is free of skin blemishes, soft spots and any signs of greening. If you store your potatoes in an optimum environment they should keep for at least a week. If they are exposed to temperatures above 10°C they will increase their risk of shooting. It is recommended that onions and potatoes NOT be stored together because they both negatively affect the storage life one of another when they are in the same storage space. Washed potatoes will not last as long as brushed potatoes. (Brushed potatoes are potatoes that have the soil residuals left on them)

Can I eat green potatoes?

Firstly, what causes potatoes to go green is when the potatoes have been exposed to natural, artificial or fluorescent lighting. It can also occur during the growth stage if the potato tuber is exposed to sunlight. This can occur when the soil bed does not provide adequate cover and consequently exposes the tubers to sunlight.  The greening colouring on the potato is due to the production of chlorophyll in the skin, making the extra energy required for the new plant through photosynthesis. The green patches on the potato act in the same way as the leaves do.

The role of a potato tuber for the potato plant is to produce the next generation of potatoes.

The potato plant has the interesting ability to produce its own protective chemicals which can make it lethal to insects, animals and fungi which attack it. These protective chemicals are called glycoalkaloids. They are at high levels in the leaves, stems and sprouts of the potato plant and are normally at very low levels in potato tubers. However, if the tuber is exposed to light the tuber will then produce elevated levels of these glycoalkaloids.

The CSIRO have found some undiagnosed cases of gastroenteritis have been caused by eating green potatoes. So it is best that if potatoes have green patches, cut them off as they may have a bitter taste. It is recommended consumers should avoid buying potatoes that show signs of greening or damage and should remove sprouts (if any) before cooking.

For more information on greening potatoes see the full report from the CSIRO.