There’s an old bad of sweet potatoes in the pantry.
They’re a bit dark and sprouted. But maybe they’re still good…
Do sweet potatoes go bad?
You’ve come to the right place to find out the answer. In this article, we’ll cover all the info you need, from shelf life to storage options.
Let’s dive straight in.
How Long Do Sweet Potatoes Last?
Like with most veggies, the shelf life of sweet potatoes depends a lot on the way they’re stored. Both too high and too low temperatures can cause fresh sweet potatoes to go bad faster.
Obviously, this means you shouldn’t keep fresh sweet potatoes in the refrigerator or freezer. But if you store them in your pantry, you can expect them to last anywhere from 2 to 5 weeks.
But if you cut it into pieces, then you’ll have to keep it in the fridge. That’s because the inside of the sweet potato is exposed to air and susceptible to microbial growth.
If you refrigerate freshly cut pieces of sweet potato, you can expect them to retain their quality for about a week.
Once cooked, sweet potatoes shouldn’t be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours, since it’s susceptible to bacterial growth. But if you store them in the fridge, they’ll stay edible for another 3 to 5 days.
But, you can freeze cooked sweet potatoes to preserve them for longer. In fact, they can stay there practically forever, without a change in quality.
As for canned sweet potatoes, they have a rather long shelf life. The exact amount of time they stay fresh depends on the brand, but it’s most likely indicated on the label.
But generally, canned sweet potatoes can last as much as 4 years. This means having them stored at room temperature, as keeping them in the fridge doesn’t extend the shelf life at all.
Once you open the can, you should transfer the content into a different container and keep it in the fridge. There, it will stay fresh for about 2 to 4 days. Alternatively, you can freeze them to extend the shelf life for up to 2 months.
|Raw||2 to 5 weeks||Not recommended||Not recommended|
|Chopped/sliced||Not recommended||~ 1 week||Not recommended|
|Cooked||2 hours||3 to 5 days||Indefinitely|
|Canned, unopened||Up to 4 years||Not recommended||Not recommended|
|Canned, opened||Not recommended||2 to 4 days||~ 2 months|
How To Tell If Sweet Potatoes Are Bad
The change in appearance makes it easy to tell if sweet potatoes have gone bad.
First, let’s talk about texture.
When fresh, sweet potatoes have a hard but somewhat creamy texture. But if you notice they’re mushy, that’s a clear sign you should throw them away. The same goes for sweet potatoes that have started wrinkling.
The discoloration goes alongside the change in texture.
Depending on the variety, the skin of sweet potato can range in color from white to even brown or purple. But it’s not black. So if you notice sweet potatoes have gone very dark, they’re not good anymore.
Because of high moisture content, sweet potatoes are susceptible to mold growth. So don’t be surprised to see white or green specks forming on the surface.
If the dots are small in size, you might get rid of them just by peeling them. In that case, you can still use those sweet potatoes. But if the mold has formed on the inside as well, they’re not good anymore.
Keep in mind that this can happen even if you store them properly (and we’ll talk about that in the next section). That’s because there are a lot of fungi in the soil as well. In other words, those sweet potatoes were destined to doom anyway.
When kept in storage for some time, sweet potatoes might grow sprouts. That, of course, doesn’t mean that they’ve gone bad. You can still eat them without a problem.
But sprouts pull all the nutrients from the tuber, meaning it leaves them with very little nutritional value. Cut the strouts as soon as you notice them, to prevent losing nutrients.
How To Store Sweet Potatoes
Raw sweet potatoes are best when stored in the pantry. They stay fresh for longer when kept at a temperature around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. If it’s a bit hotter than that inside your pantry, don’t be surprised to see them sprouting.
Furthermore, sweet potatoes also need to be kept away from light and moisture, as it can cause them to degrade at a much faster pace.
Ideally, you want to store raw sweet potatoes in a basket with good ventilation.
When it comes to canned sweet potatoes, they should also be kept in the pantry until opened.
Once you open the can, transfer the content into a non-metal container and store it in the fridge.
Remember how we said that raw sweet potatoes shouldn’t be kept in the fridge? That’s because temperatures lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit can cause chilling injury to tubers, even if they’re exposed to cold for a few hours.
However, that’s not the case if you slice or chop it.
The inside of the sweet potato reacts with oxygen within a blink of an eye. So if you don’t plan on using them in the next hour or so, soak them in water and store them in the fridge.
When it comes to cooked sweet potatoes, you shouldn’t leave them at room temperature for more than 2 hours. So if you have leftovers, transfer them to an airtight container and store them in the fridge. To prevent darkening, you can sprinkle a bit of lemon juice.
Raw sweet potatoes shouldn’t be frozen, because their high moisture content will turn them mushy.
But you can definitely do that with cooked sweet potatoes. Just transfer them into a freezer-safe container beforehand.
Don’t be afraid to stock up on sweet potatoes, as they can sit in your pantry for weeks.
Once chopped or cooked, they need to be kept in the fridge and won’t last near as long.
But if the meal was too good, you can always freeze it to save for later.