We all love sweet potatoes due to their versatility and nutritional value. They contain the vitamins A, B, and C, iron, calcium, zinc, carotenoids, phosphorus, etc.
And, you might be having some in your home and are wondering how long they’ll last or the best way to store them; well, you’re in the right place.
Here we’ll discuss sweet potatoes, how long they can last, how to tell if one is bad, their storage, and why you shouldn’t consume a bad one.
Let’s get going.
How to Tell if Sweet Potato is Bad
It doesn’t require extensive knowledge of food preservation and testing to tell a bad sweet potato.
If you doubt whether your stored tubers are edible or not, avoid them, as you’ll suffer from food poisoning. Therefore, look out for these signs to tell if your sweet potato is bad.
- It has a sour taste
- The appearance of mold on the skin
- It’s softer than usual/ mushy
- Presence of brown or dark spots on the tubers’ skins
- It has a rotten smell
How Long Does Sweet Potato Last
How Long Do Sweet Potatoes Last
Sweet potatoes types
2 to 3 months
6 to 12 months
3 to 5 weeks
Up to 7 days
Up to 6 months
Up to 7 days
2 to 3 days
4 to 6 months
6 to 12 hours
Up to 7 days
6 to 8 months
Fresh sweet potatoes last for 3 to 5 weeks in the pantry, 2 to 3 months in the fridge, and 6 to 12 months in the freezer. Fried ones last 6 to 12 hours in the pantry, 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator, and 4 to 6 months in the freezer.
However, like any other tuber, fruit, or vegetable, how long a sweet potato lasts depends on the ambient storage conditions.
Storing sweet potatoes in the pantry without curing or in the freezer without blanching lessens their shelf life.
How To Store Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes have a higher shelf life and can last for several months if stored well. If not, you’ll expose yourself to a mild to severe case of food poisoning.
Avoid or limit storing sweet potatoes in your refrigerator as cold air may cause them to spoil fast.
Consequently, the best storage location is a cool, dry, dark, and well-ventilated area such as the pantry.
Here’s how you can store your raw sweet potatoes.
1. Select the Best Ones for Storage
Go through your harvest to select the best sweet potatoes for curing and storage. Pick the fat and “fleshy” ones as they’re bigger and easier to store.
2. Cure the Sweet Potatoes for 7 to 15 Days
Sweet potatoes taste better when eaten straight from the farm.
But given that you can’t consume all your produce at once, the best you can do is to store them in a way that allows them to retain their flavor, color, and texture during the storage period.
That’s where curing helps.
To cure, arrange your tubers carefully and let them dry for 10 to 14 days in a high humidity room with temperatures between 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a fan to circulate air if you feel that the room is stuffy.
After curing, wrap each sweet potato in a newspaper or paper box and store them in the pantry.
The preferable pantry temperatures should constantly be between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit (13 and 16 degrees C).
What Are the Risks of Eating Bad Sweet Potatoes
Storing raw sweet potatoes in the pantry is an excellent idea as they can last up to 6 months. However, if not correctly stored, they’ll develop molds and become highly toxic.
As such, eating bad sweet potatoes results in botulism, salmonella, and staphylococcal food poisoning.
You may experience some of the following symptoms:
- Stomach pains
- Muscle aches
Can You Freeze Sweet Potatoes?
Yes. You can freeze sweet potatoes for up to 12 months if they’re cooked or blanched first.
Due to their high water content, I’d recommend against freezing sweet potatoes without first cooking or blanching as they’ll get mushy and watery.
Therefore, it’s only appropriate if you get an idea of how to freeze your sweet potatoes for future consumption.
How To Freeze Sliced/Cubed Raw Sweet Potatoes
Sometimes, you might not want the struggle of preparing sweet potatoes for long-term storage, especially if you’re dealing with large quantities.
To avoid too much work, you may opt to cut them into fries, wedges, or cubes and freeze them directly, something which can cost you dearly as you should blanch them first.
Blanching inhibits enzymes from causing your sweet potatoes to lose color, texture, and flavor, enabling them to retain their nutritional value for 12 months.
Freeze Your Raw Sweet Potatoes
- First, start by washing and peeling your sweet potatoes, as they’ll be harder to peel after chopping them into smaller pieces.
- You’ll then use your kitchen knife and cut them into smaller pieces that you can easily store. And, whether sliced, cubed, or wedged, an appropriate thickness should be 1 inch or less.
- The next step consists of blanching. To blanch, add your sweet potatoes to boiling water and wait for 3 to 5 minutes while keeping the water boiling. You can check if they’re blanched using a fork or a knife; they should be soft but not mushy.
- After boiling, you can use a spoon to transfer the sweet potatoes to a pot of cold water for 2 to 3 minutes. Alternatively, allow them to cool down in the same blanching pot if you have more time in your kitchen. Allowing them to cool before freezing inhibits them from turning mushy when thawing.
- Put the cool sweet potatoes in an airtight freezer bag and push out all the excess air.
- And, since raw sweet potatoes don’t last more than 6 months, I’d recommend labeling the freezing date on the freezer bag.
Freeze Sliced/Cubed Boiled Sweet Potatoes
Boiling sweet potatoes before freezing is the best option that you can have. And, it isn’t as intensive as you may assume as you don’t need to peel their skins off before cooking as they’ll peel off easily afterward.
Freeze Boiled Sweet Potatoes
- First, wash your sweet potatoes to rid of all dirt since you’ll be boiling them without peeling off the skins.
- Then, place a large pot of water on your stove until it boils, and add in your sweet potatoes for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the water temperature.
- Use a fork or knife to check for tenderness before taking them out and allowing them to cool off.
- Next, peel the skins off using a spoon or a piece of kitchen cutlery and slice them into smaller sizes.
- Put the sliced/ cubed sweet potatoes in an airtight bag and remove all the air before sealing it.
Boiled sweet potatoes last for 12 months in the freezer before losing their texture, flavor, and color. Therefore, consume them early before the end of their shelf life.
How To Freeze Whole Baked Sweet Potatoes
Though time-consuming, freezing whole-baked sweet potatoes is arguably the best method to keep your food reserve in a good state.
Freeze Whole Baked Sweet Potatoes
- First, clean your potatoes to remove all dirt and select the best ones for storage.
- Then, heat your oven to close to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (220 degrees C)
- Place your tubers in a pan and put them in an oven until they become softer. This will usually take close to an hour, depending on the number of sweet potatoes you’re baking.
- Next, remove the pan from the oven to cool off. Once the sweet potatoes are cool enough, wrap them in foil and a freezer bag.
- Expel as much air from the freezer bag before sealing and putting it in your freezer.
Baked sweet potatoes have a high shelf life and can stay in good condition while frozen for up to 12 months.
Baking delicious sweet potatoes is an easy task that you can master in one go. And as raw sweet potatoes last for 3 to 5 weeks in the pantry, you can choose to either bake, mash, boil or fry them.
The only things you need are water, some ingredients, sweet potatoes, and an oven. Actually, you’ll be doing less than 10 percent of the preparation while the range does the rest.
- 4 clean sweet potatoes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons of butter
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1. Scrub the skins clean and rinse in clean water
2. Pat the wet sweet potatoes to dry
3. Pierce or poke holes into the sweet potatoes using a fork
4. Bake directly on the rack of a 375 degrees Fahrenheit oven for about one and half hours until they get caramelized and soft
5. Cut the sweet potatoes and serve with butter. Also, remember to season with salt and black pepper.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 205Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 447mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 4gSugar: 7gProtein: 2g
Sweet potatoes are versatile and add sweetness and immense nutritional value to our food. However, having a long shelf life doesn’t mean they won’t spoil fast.
Just like any other food, handle sweet potatoes with care as they have higher chances of going bad when you fail to store them properly.
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