Do Potatoes Go Bad? How Long Does It Last?

Do Potatoes Go Bad How Long Does It Last
Image: Lucky Belly

Potatoes originated in South America’s Andes. Nowadays, it is one of the most popular vegetables worldwide. Even though you can keep it for a long time, you probably need to know when do potatoes go bad and how long do potatoes last. The secret is in the proper storing. Let’s see.

Do Potatoes Go Bad?

Do Potatoes Go Bad
Image: Lucky Belly

Unfortunately, potatoes can quickly go bad when stored inappropriately, and you can notice these process’ signs, including moldy and rotten spots on the surface. There are two ways to solve the problem. If only a small part is affected, you can cut it out and use the rest. Once most of the plant is changed, it is time to throw away tubers.

It is the same with the sprouts occurrence. They are not harmful when starting to grow, but you shouldn’t use potatoes once they are longer than 5 inches (12.7 cm). It is a sign that potatoes have been stored for too long in inadequate conditions, which affects their quality.

How Long Do Potatoes Last?

How Long Do Potatoes Last
Image: Lucky Belly

Potatoes are vegetables with long shelf lives when stored adequately. In most cases, it will last differently depending on the potato variety, sell-by date, the way of storing, humidity in the region where you live, and preparation method.

How Long Do Potatoes Last (Chart)

Potatoes type

PantryFridgeFreezer
White potatoes3 to 5 weeks3 to 4 months

/

Red potatoes

2 to 3 weeks2 to 3 months/
Gold potatoes2 to 3 weeks2 to 3 months

/

Sweet potatoes

3 to 5 weeks2 to 3 months/
Fingerlings2 to 3 weeks2 to 3 months

/

French fries

/1 to 2 days6 to 8 months
Mashed potatoes/5 to 6 days

6 to 8 months

Baked potatoes

/1 week6 to 8 months
Cooked potatoes/1 week

6 to 8 months

Instant potatoes

One year5 days

/

Potatoes will be healthy and edible for 3 to 5 months in a cold basement. You can also keep them in the dark pantry and kitchen cabinet for about 2 to 5 weeks before losing their firmness. On the other hand, it is better to store cooked potatoes in the fridge.

5 Tips to Tell If Potatoes Have Gone Bad

If you forget about some potatoes in the pantry, they will look entirely different after a while, but the question is whether they have gone bad. There are a few visible signs of potatoes aging that you need to recognize and learn what will change their taste.

Smelly potatoes

Unlike fresh potatoes that have a characteristic earthy smell, spoiled tubers always smell bitterly and moldy. That is the sign that your veggies are rotten even though they look healthy from the outside.

Green spots and shoots

Green spots you can notice on the potatoes surface contain toxic solanine. You can remove smaller areas in most cases, but you shouldn’t eat tubers with larger green changes.

Be prepared that organically grown potatoes often develop sprouts after harvesting. Unlike mass-produced supermarket potatoes, those grown on farms are not treated with chemicals, so the process of sprouting is not slowed down.

It will be enough to remove small sprouts before preparing a meal, but avoid using tubers with too long ones.

Sagging, wrinkly and mushy potatoes

Potatoes’ surface will age as human skin does. It will wrinkle and sag over time, but it won’t affect the taste in the beginning. However, you should throw away such tubers to prevent other potatoes from ruining. Once your veggies become mushy, they won’t be edible anymore, and it is time to get rid of them.

Soft and sprouting potatoes

Even though potatoes go soft, they can still be safe to eat, but only to a certain extent. As long as tubers are still a bit firm, it will be enough to remove sprouts and eyes before preparing a meal. Unfortunately, you need to discard your veggies once they become too soft and mushy.

Moldy potatoes

When your potatoes are not stored appropriately, you will notice mold formed on the surface. It often occurs as a result of high humidity and inadequate temperatures in the storing place.

If you see only small moldy spots, you can remove them and use your veggies as usual. Otherwise, throw away tubers affected to a greater extent.

5 Tips to Store Potatoes

As I have already mentioned, potatoes can last a long time when you store them well. Once you buy potatoes, never wash them. It will be enough to brush excessive dirt before putting them into storage. Always choose a cool, dark, and well-ventilated place.

Keep in mind that tubers have their own life even after storing them. So, exposure to various environmental factors will significantly impact their flavor, texture, and overall appearance. Let’s discover the best ways to store your potatoes.

Pantry

Storing whole, raw potatoes at room temperature is undoubtedly the best option you have. Your tubers will be edible for a month in such conditions, but you will notice first sprouting after about two weeks.

Countertop and cupboard storage

You can use potatoes kept this way for approximately one to two weeks before they start sprouting. Make sure to separate them from onions and store them away from direct sunlight. It is also necessary to provide adequate air circulation by keeping them in aerated bags.

Basement

Whole, uncooked potatoes stored in a cool, dark place like a basement can last about two months. Keep them loosely covered in a cardboard box, paper bag, or mesh bag, and take care to provide excellent air circulation.

Fridge

The ideal temperature for storing potatoes is approximately 45 to 50 F (7 to 10 C), so you should keep them in a cold basement or pantry if possible. Even though the refrigerator is not the best place for this purpose, it is sometimes the only solution.

  • Raw potatoes – In such conditions, potatoes will last about a month, but you will notice an unusual sweet taste of these tubers when cooked. The reason is the starch that turns into sugar at low temperatures.
  • Cut raw potatoes – When you need to store raw potatoes for a maximum of 24 hours, you should cut them, put pieces in cold water, and keep them in the fridge.
  • Cooked potatoes – You should put potatoes in a tightly-closed container and keep them in the fridge for about three to four days.

Canning

Canning is an excellent option for long-term storing your potatoes. When you prepare tubers this way, you can use them for as long as five years. The only things you need are to find a proven recipe, prepare glass canning jars, and buy a pressure canner.

Place potatoes into small pint jars, add salt and water with lemon juice and finish the pressure canning process as required.

The Risk of Consuming Expired Potatoes

The Risk of Consuming Expired Potatoes
Image: Lucky Belly

Unfortunately, consuming spoiled potatoes can be highly risky and may cause food poisoning. The potatoes skin and sprouts contain solanine, a severe neurotoxin. It is a natural pesticide, but it can cause a lot of problems after consumption. Symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Stomach cramps and vomiting
  • Difficulty in breathing

Once you feel the bitter taste of your potatoes, you should throw them away to avoid poisoning.

When you see that this veggie starts rotting, get rid of them immediately. It may contain harmful pathogens like salmonella, staphylococci, clostridium botulinum, and listeria. Food poisoning usually causes the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach cramps and diarrhea
  • Dehydration

Sometimes, you can see a few red, bluish-gray, brown, or black spots on cooked potatoes as a sign that mold has started growing.

Can You Freeze Potatoes?

Can You Freeze Potatoes
Image: Lucky Belly

You can’t freeze every form of potato without negative consequences. However, you can store some of them this way successfully. For example, cooked potatoes can last for months stored this way if you seal it tightly in an airtight container before freezing.

  • Raw potatoes – It is not a grocery you should put into your freezer. Too low temperatures will negatively affect their quality and make this food almost inedible. In fact, you will spot the occurrence of tubers browning and softening, followed by a higher sugar percent.
  • Cooked potatoes – It is recommended to store cooked and mashed potatoes in the fridge or freezer. However, the storing method primarily depends on the way you have been prepared tubers. You can keep well-prepared food in the freezer for 6 to 8 months before the first signs of degrading appears.
  • French fries – This grocery was made for the freezer. It is necessary to cook your French fry partially before freezing. Otherwise, you will have an issue with ice crystals forming inside the bag.

Summary

This starchy root veggie is well-known for extended shelf life if stored appropriately. If you occasionally cut the sprouts and green spots on the potatoes surface and regularly check them for mold, you can enjoy this delicious food for months. Even though cool places are the best option for storing potatoes, you should avoid freezing raw tubers.

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