Sweet potatoes are a popular starchy root crop with a creamy texture. Nowadays, it is an unavoidable ingredient in many popular meals.
Unfortunately, it can spoil because of the high percentage of water it contains, especially if you fail to store it properly. Let’s see do sweet potatoes go bad quickly and how long do sweet potatoes last.
Do Sweet Potatoes Go Bad?
Fresh sweet potatoes can last for weeks when keeping them in a cold and dark place, without contact with sources of heat and direct sunlight.
Be prepared that stored tubers will develop sprouts if you keep them in the pantry without adequate air circulation for too long. Even in such a situation, you can use them when sprouts are not too long.
On the other hand, you need to adequately store cooked ones in the fridge, especially when they are mixed with other ingredients. Unfortunately, storing these veggies that way will affect their taste negatively.
As for canned sweet potatoes, it can go bad quickly if you leave an open can at room temperature for more than an hour.
How Long Do Sweet Potatoes Last?
In most cases, sweet potatoes shelf life will depend on the way you store them. When kept in a pantry at a low temperature, raw tubers will remain tasty and healthy for a few months.
When deciding to put them in the can, you will have delicious food for a year. However, you can keep an open can in the fridge for only a week.
On the other hand, refrigerated fries will be edible for two or three days, but you can freeze them and prolong their life for six months.
How Long Do Sweet Potatoes Last (Chart)
Sweet potatoes type
|Fresh||About a month||2 to 3 months|
|/||Up to one week||Up to 6 months|
|Unopened canned||One year||/|
|/||Up to 1 week||6 to 8 months|
|Unopened fries||/||2 to 3 days|
4 to 6 months
Unopened dry (instant)
|Up to one year||/||/|
|Opened canned||/||1 week|
In the end, you can store cooked sweet potatoes in the fridge for 3 to 5 days or put them into the freezer if you want to keep them for long.
7 Tips to Tell if Sweet Potatoes Have Gone Bad
In most cases, sweet potatoes go bad because of the natural aging process. However, light and moisture will speed up the rotting process when storing them inadequately. Let’s summarize all the signs of possible tubers spoilage.
Any off-odor is a sure sign that sweet potatoes have gone bad, and you should toss them in the trash.
One of the first signs that tubers are not edible anymore is their discoloration. Their flesh becomes white, orange, yellowish, or purple while the skin gets white, yellowish, brown, purple, red, or even black color. Remember that two sweet potato varieties in the US have creamy-white flesh and golden skin.
There is no reason for panic if you spot holes after cutting tubers. Usually, the reason is variations in temperature and moisture while maturing. However, such sweet potatoes will be pithy.
Once sweet potatoes turn mushy, you can be sure that they have gone bad. Usually, their ends become soft before turning brown or black. As soon as these parts spoil, the flavor of the whole tubers will be affected.
In some cases, you can see wrinkles on the surface. The reason is the loss of moisture, and such tubers are not edible anymore.
You can see so-called eyes on the sweet potato peel. Any growths from these spots will result in tubers’ quality deterioration. However, this occurrence doesn’t mean your veggies are spoiled, and you can eat them without any worry.
The only problem is that sprouts pull nutrients from the tubers, and they will start losing nutritional value over time. Anyway, avoid consuming sprouts and cut them off before starting preparing the meal.
Spots and growths
Once you notice that soft brown or black spots developed on sweet potatoes surfaces, you can be sure that tubers have begun to spoil. Since spots are located only superficially, you can use the veggies after cutting them away. Also, look for any weird growths on the peel and throw tubers away if you see them.
Mold and black rot
As soon as you spot sizable white or green mold over your sweet potatoes, throw them away immediately. If there are only small amounts of it, you can cook tubers after peeling them carefully. In most cases, surface mold doesn’t impact the internal parts.
On the other hand, once you see black spots on peeled tubers, you will know that your sweet potatoes are infected and inedible. Fungi cause black rot while tubers are in the soil, but changes will become visible only after a while. It will result in bitter and tasteless veggies.
How to Store Sweet Potatoes
1. How to Store Sweet Potatoes in Cellar
Our ancestors kept vegetables, including sweet potatoes, in their cellars. Nowadays, many of us don’t have such an opportunity at our disposal. If you are the lucky one and have a basement, you can store these veggies there.
The best option is to place sweet potatoes in a well-ventilated basket. Provide 55 F (13 C) temperature and constant darkness to prolong their shelf life as much as possible.
2. How to Store Sweet Potatoes in Pantry
For a start, you need to buy appropriately treated intact sweet potatoes with the firm, tapered ends that are taken immediately after harvest. Allow your veggies dry thoroughly, and put them in a paper bag, basket, or string bag that allow necessary air circulation.
An excellent solution is to place your sweet potatoes in the dark and dry pantry with a constant temperature from 45 to 55 F. Make sure not to store them next to onions since they accelerate each other’s decay.
It will be enough to store unopened cans with sweet potatoes in the pantry. They will last in such conditions for about a year.
3. How to Store Sweet Potatoes in Fridge
It is not recommended to keep sweet potatoes in the fridge since too low temperatures create white woody spots on their flesh. That way, you will get tasteless veggies with poor texture.
Many women cut sweet potatoes in the morning to be ready for cooking as soon as they come back home from work. It is quite a practical way to make it easier for yourself, but take care to do it properly.
Place cut tubers in water in an airtight container and store them in the fridge. The best option is to use slices within 24 hours, but they can stay edible for a few days. Be prepared that a bright orange hue won’t last more than a day, and acid taste will occur over time.
The best option to keep your cooked sweet potatoes tasty is to pack them in an airtight container and store them in the fridge. That way, their flesh will stay bright orange, but the outer edges will darken over time.
An excellent option is to add lemon juice into mashed sweet potatoes before storing them in the fridge to prevent color change. Plus, always let this food to cool down for about 20 to 30 minutes before storing this way.
4. How to Store Sweet Potatoes in Freezer
You can’t store fresh sweet potatoes in the freezer but can keep flash-frozen sweet potato fries this way. You can also place cooked meals in an airtight container to protect them from moisture and freeze them.
The Risk of Consuming Expired Sweet Potatoes
In most cases, sweet potatoes won’t rot or become spoiled, but their taste will change over time. You won’t enjoy eating shriveled or mushy veggies that have turned brown or black. However, once mold develops, and tubers go bad, they will become highly poisonous.
Can You Freeze Sweet Potatoes?
You shouldn’t freeze fresh sweet potatoes because you will ruin most of their benefits that way. However, it is an excellent option to store fries and cooked tubers since you only need to thaw and reheat them to get a tasty meal for a short time.
The procedure is uncomplicated. Prepare sweet potatoes and divide them into small portions. After cooling down for about half an hour at room temperature, put them into a freezer-safe container or freezer bags.
In the end, properly label packages, put your veggies into the freezer and use them when needed. You can store sweet potatoes this way for months without changing texture and taste.
If you want to use frozen raw tubers only for mashing, you can store them in the freezer. In such a case, it is better to peel and cut them into small cubes and sort them on a tray first. Transfer frozen pieces into an airtight bag and keep them until needed.
Sweet potatoes are tasty and healthy vegetables high in antioxidants and low in calories. If you store them properly, they will last long. Once tubers go bad, you can’t do anything to save them. So, be careful!