Can You Store Onions And Potatoes Together

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Can you store onions and potatoes together? It’s a common question with a surprising answer. While these two root vegetables are often found side by side in the produce section, their storage needs differ significantly. Understanding the ideal conditions for each vegetable is crucial to maximize their shelf life and prevent spoilage.

In this article, we’ll delve into the storage conditions, ethylene production, moisture considerations, odor transfer, and disease and pest prevention associated with storing onions and potatoes together. By understanding these factors, you can make informed decisions about how to store these vegetables for optimal freshness and flavor.

Storage Conditions

Maintaining the right storage conditions is crucial for preserving the quality and extending the shelf life of onions and potatoes. Understanding their specific requirements ensures optimal storage and minimizes spoilage.

The following table summarizes the ideal storage conditions for onions and potatoes:

Onions45-50°F (7-10°C)60-70%Dark
Potatoes40-45°F (4-7°C)85-95%Dark

Ethylene Production

Can you store onions and potatoes together

Ethylene is a natural plant hormone that plays a crucial role in the ripening process of fruits and vegetables. It initiates and accelerates the ripening process, causing changes in color, texture, and flavor.

Both onions and potatoes produce ethylene, although at different rates. Onions are considered moderate ethylene producers, while potatoes are low ethylene producers. When stored together, the ethylene produced by onions can affect the shelf life of potatoes.

Impact on Shelf Life, Can you store onions and potatoes together

The ethylene released by onions can stimulate the ripening process in potatoes, causing them to sprout and deteriorate more quickly. This is because ethylene triggers the breakdown of starch into sugars, leading to increased respiration and water loss. As a result, potatoes stored with onions may have a shorter shelf life compared to those stored separately.

Moisture Considerations: Can You Store Onions And Potatoes Together

The moisture content of onions and potatoes plays a crucial role in their storage life. Onions are typically 80-85% water, while potatoes contain around 75-80% water. Proper storage conditions are essential to maintain the optimal moisture levels in both vegetables.

Storing onions and potatoes together can lead to moisture loss or spoilage. Onions release moisture into the air, which can be absorbed by potatoes. This can cause the potatoes to become soft and mushy, as they absorb excess moisture. Conversely, the moisture from the potatoes can also cause the onions to become soft and rot.

Managing Moisture Levels

To prevent moisture loss or spoilage, it is important to manage the moisture levels in the storage environment. Here are some tips:

  • Store onions and potatoes separately:This is the best way to prevent moisture transfer between the two vegetables.
  • Provide proper ventilation:Ensure that the storage area has good air circulation to prevent moisture build-up.
  • Use moisture-absorbing materials:Place a layer of paper towels or newspaper at the bottom of the storage container to absorb excess moisture.
  • Monitor moisture levels:Regularly check the moisture levels in the storage area using a hygrometer. The ideal humidity level for storing onions and potatoes is between 60-70%.

Odor Transfer

Can you store onions and potatoes together

Storing onions and potatoes together can lead to odor transfer, where the pungent aroma of onions permeates the potatoes, affecting their taste and smell. Onions release volatile compounds that contain sulfur, which can easily be absorbed by other vegetables, including potatoes.

The strong aroma of onions can overpower the delicate flavor of potatoes, making them taste and smell like onions. This can be undesirable for those who prefer the distinct taste of potatoes without any onion influence.

Mitigating Odor Transfer

  • Store onions and potatoes separately in well-ventilated areas to minimize odor transfer.
  • Wrap onions in paper or plastic bags before storing them to contain their aroma.
  • Use airtight containers for storing potatoes to prevent the absorption of onion odors.

Disease and Pest Prevention

Potatoes onions garlic onion

Storing onions and potatoes together can increase the risk of disease or pest infestation due to their shared susceptibility to certain pathogens and pests.

Fungal Diseases

Onions and potatoes are both susceptible to fungal diseases such as fusarium rot, which can cause soft rot and discoloration. Storing them together can increase the spread of fungal spores, leading to a higher risk of infection.

Bacterial Diseases

Bacterial diseases like soft rot can also affect both onions and potatoes. Close proximity can facilitate the transfer of bacteria, leading to rapid spoilage and decay.


Pests such as onion thrips and potato weevils can infest both vegetables. Storing them together provides a larger food source for these pests, increasing the risk of infestation and damage.