If you want to know how to cure and store sweet potatoes and search for the answer online, likely as not you’ll come across an article telling you that the only way to cure the tubers is to stick them in a room that is 90 degrees Fahrenheit and 90% humidity, for an entire week.
Maybe if you do it that way, they’ll last all year at room temperature. But if you either don’t plan to keep them for that long, or you just don’t have the ability to create that high of a temperature or humidity, they will cure nicely at regular humidity and between seventy-five and eighty degrees. It may be better to keep them warm for a week, but I do it for four days and it works.
What I do is spread out all my cleaned and dry tubers, with all the little skinny parts and roots broken off, on the floor of our Tuff Shed. Then I set up the space heater in front of them, turn it on, and go away. Halfway through the process, I rotate the tubers, putting the ones in front and vice-versa to make sure they all get an even exposure to the heat.
Since I generally do this at the end of October, and we live in southeast Oklahoma, the shed will get as hot as ninety degrees during the day. But I’ve cured them as late as mid-November when it was colder outside and thus the space heater wouldn’t get the red on the thermometer past eighty degrees. The tubers still lasted for several months at room temperature before they began sprouting.
Curing does three things:
- It helps heal the skin where you’ve broken off parts and exposed the meat under the skin.
- It helps increase the sugar content of the tubers.
- It increases the tubers’ longevity.
Which leads us to…
…After the cure.
After the curing period ends, the tubers will last longest if you can store them between fifty and sixty degrees. If not, room temperature will work. Just understand that after about three to four months, they will begin sprouting.
I’ve read that storing apples with them helps to inhibit sprouting, but in my experience it does not. Or, you need a lot of apples for it to work.
Pro tip: don’t eat the sweet potatoes until about two months after curing them, or they’ll taste like cardboard.
Now you know the easiest way to grow sweet potatoes, and how to cure and store them without any fancy footwork.