Do sweet potatoes go bad? The answer is yes. Store-bought sweet potatoes should last 2-3 weeks. On average, for the best flavor, you should use them within a few days after buying them. If you purchase a bag of sweet potatoes, then you need to make sure that you freeze the extras or they will go bad.
Sometimes fresh sweet potatoes will last longer than a couple of days but you need to know how to store them properly and where is the best place to store them to keep them fresh.
What is a Sweet Potato?
This vegetable is an underground tuber and is very rich in the antioxidant beta carotene, which is effective at raising the blood levels of Vitamin A. Sweet potatoes are high in fiber, delicious, nutritious, and filling. You can eat them baked, fried, boiled, or steamed.
Most sweet potatoes are orange but there are other colors like purple, white, pink, red, yellow, and violet. They are from the morning glory family.
Homegrown and store-bought sweet potatoes both require different handling. They are perishable and need to be stored properly. A sweet potato, though hard, is easy to bruise so you need to be careful how to handle them. Sweet potatoes have a high water count and these types are ones that spoil easily.
How to Store Sweet Potatoes
Homegrown Sweet Potatoes
Curing: If you plan to eat them right after you harvest them, they will probably not taste as sweet as you thought. The reason is that they need to be cured first. Clean off the soil and then put them in a plastic bag with holes poked in it to give air room to circulate. You need to store them in a hot, humid place, approximately 85-90% humidity for four to seven days.
When curing sweet potatoes, it will help them develop a sweeter flavor by breaking starch into sugar. It also helps to form a tougher skin and gives it longer shelf life. Once cured, if you have any that are rotten, moldy, or bruised, discard and do not eat them
Storage: Once the sweet potatoes are cured, you can store them for three to six months with a year being the maximum storage time. Store them away from moisture and heat in a cool, dark place. Do not refrigerate raw sweet potatoes. Make sure that they are out of the plastic bag you cured them and put in a bowl, basket, or box.
Frozen Boiled Sweet Potatoes
When you are boiling sweet potatoes to freeze for future meals, you slice or cube the raw sweet potatoes, put them in boiling water, and let cook for 10-15 minutes until they are tender but still firm. Drain them and let them cool completely. It will be easier to thaw if you do them in individual servings or family servings
When you are putting them in an airtight container, leave about one half inch headspace at the top of the container. With freezer bags, make sure that you squeeze as much air out as you can. Label each bag with the date it was done so you use it before it expires or turns bad.
Freezing Whole Baked Sweet Potatoes
Preheat your oven to 375-400 degrees Fahrenheit. Clean the sweet potato and make some holes in it. Put the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake until tender; one to one and a half hours.
Once done, let it cool to room temperature, and then wrap each one separately in aluminum foil. Put them in a freezer bag and squeeze as much air out as you can. Then, you can put the cooked sweet potatoes in the freezer.
General Storage Tips for Sweet Potatoes
- If you only need half of the sweet potato, cover what you are not using with plastic wrap, secure with a rubber band, and store it in the refrigerator. You can also put it in a sealed container.
- If you purchase cut sweet potatoes at the store, keep them refrigerated in a sealed container and use them as soon as possible.
- When freezing sweet potatoes, you need to make sure that you cook them first because if they are raw, they will not freeze well.
- After you have cooked the sweet potatoes to freeze, you can cut them up or leave them whole. You can divide them up into meal size portions. Always let them cool completely; 30-40 minutes if whole, less time if they are cut up.
- When freezing cooked sweet potatoes, make sure that they are wrapped correctly or put them in an airtight container.
- Make sure when stored in the pantry there is plenty of ventilation.
- You should not store whole raw sweet potatoes in the refrigerator
How to Keep Sweet Potatoes From Sprouting When Storing
- Do not cure too improperly or for too long
- Do not expose them to heat and moisture
- Do not expose them to ethylene gas as this can cause pithy areas
How to Know When Sweet Potatoes are Bad
Sweet potatoes is a vegetable that is prone to mold and bacterial invasion, physical degradation, and metabolism spoilage. Although you can keep sweet potatoes a long time, they will go bad and lose their quality.
- Dark spots, sprouting, pithy (holes): You can remove the dark or sprouted park and use the rest but if the entire sweet potato is affected, just throw it all away.
If there is the presence of any of these, you should certainly throw the sweet potato away and not even attempt to eat it. You can get sick if you eat a sweet potato that has gone bad.
- Presences of mold
- Significant discoloration
- Lost its texture
- Wrinkled/shriveled, which is a sign that the sweet potato is losing its moisture.
- Soft and mushy
- Turning from a deep shade of brown to black
How Long Do Sweet Potatoes Last? Shelf Life [Chart]
|Type of Sweet Potato||Pantry||Refrigerator||Freezer**|
|Home-grown||12 months (uncooked)||5-6 weeks||10-12 months|
|Fresh store bought||2-3 weeks (uncooked)||3-4 weeks||10-12 months|
|Fresh-cut store bought||See best before date label||3-5 days||N/A|
|Cooked in a dish*||N/A||3-5 days||N/A|
|Unopened cans||12 months (or more)||N/A||N/A|
|Opened cans||3-5 days||5-7 days||N/A|
* take time to look at the other ingredients in the dish that could go bad quicker to make sure that the dish is still good.
**before you freeze sweet potatoes, they need to be cooked. You cannot freeze fresh uncooked sweet potatoes.
- Sweet potatoes do not do well in hot or cold temperatures as they can cause the inside to be hard and have an altered taste if they get too cold and pithy if they get too hot.
- If you cut your sweet potatoes to use later, make sure that you put them in an airtight container with water. Put in the refrigerator vegetable drawer and use it within 24 hours for best results, but they will last a few days.
- After cooking sweet potatoes let them cool 20-30 minutes before you put them in the fridge.
- Although you can freeze cooked sweet potatoes for up to a year, for best flavor and quality, use them within a month.
- Sweet potatoes can go bad, especially if they are cooked and mixed with other ingredients.
- Cooked sweet potatoes will go bad faster than raw ones.
- Yes, sweet potatoes can go bad and if you eat them, they can make you ill. If you have had them for a while and stored them correctly, you should check to see if there are any signs of them being bad before you fix them.