Sweet potatoes are the unsung heroes of every Thanksgiving meal. As these tubers are very versatile, you can enjoy tons of delicious and easy recipes. From sweet to salty, cooked, or baked, they always taste good no matter how you prepare them. They are terrific ingredients in stews, soups, fillings, and even as a side dish!
Additionally, sweet potatoes come in various sizes, colors, and they are rich with vitamins, fiber, minerals, and antioxidants. They promote overall health and can protect you from free radicals that harm your health! What more can you ask for?
There is only one downside of these popular root veggies. If you keep them in stock, you certainly know there will be more than just a few meals to see the bottom of your five-pound bag. Although there are pretty hardy veggies, they don’t have an indefinite shelf life. But how long do they last?
Fortunately enough, we carefully examined this topic and came up with this great guideline on how long do sweet potatoes last and how to store them, so read on!
How Long Do Sweet Potatoes Last?
There is no evident answer to this question as the lifespan of sweet potatoes depends on how you store them. When speaking about sweet potato’s shelf life, it is also crucial whether it is raw, cut, canned, or cooked.
First, let’s talk about the raw sweet potato. Its lifespan can go from 2 weeks to 4 months if stored properly in the pantry or cellar.
If you cut your sweet potatoes, they can last up to 7 days if stored in the fridge. Nevertheless, we recommend eating them within the first 3 days.
Canned sweet potatoes can last up to 1 year if stored properly in the dry, cool, and dark place.
As for cooked, baked, or fried sweet potatoes, it is essential you always store them in the fridge. You can put them in the shallow airtight container, aluminum foils, or freezer bags. Stored like this, they can last from 3-8 days. You can also freeze them, as this will extend their shelf life up to a few months.
About Sweet Potato
Sweet potato is a starchy, root vegetable that has a slightly sweet taste. The skin of the potato is brown and thin, but the colors from the inside may vary from orange, purple, and yellow. You can eat them whole or peeled. Moreover, sweet and white potatoes are not related as they come from separate plant families!
Also, they are a rich source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals such as iron, calcium, selenium, most B vitamins, and vitamin C. They are high in antioxidants such as beta carotene, which is good for our skin and eyes health. It is best to consume sweet potatoes with fats like olive oil as it can help absorb beta carotene better. Once absorbed, our body transformers it into vitamin A. Furthermore, sweet potatoes promote a healthy digestive system and can reduce the risk of cancer and are very good for health overall.
You should always pick small to medium-size sweet potatoes, which are more delicious, creamier inside, and tend to taste better than the bigger ones.
It is better to buy frozen varieties that contain less fat and no sodium salt.
When buying, always pick the ones with no bruises or pre-bagged potatoes.
Aim to buy the ones with deeper color, as those are richer in the beta-carotene.
How To Store Sweet Potatoes?
If you want to have sweet and delicious sweet potatoes whenever your craving kicks in, you should know how to store them, so that they can last the whole winter. Because the truth is, sweet potatoes can last for a few months if stored properly.
Firstly, you need to know sweet potatoes don’t do well in either cold or hot temperatures. It is best if you keep them at room temperature or slightly above. The ideal temperature would be between 55-60 °F. Aim to keep them away from direct sunlight, heat, and moisture. Additionally, always make sure there is enough air circulation around them.
The best storage locations for raw and canned sweet potatoes are a pantry, cellar, or well-ventilated cupboard.
Although, you shouldn’t keep your raw sweet potatoes in the refrigerator because they can change color and bruise, become hard in the middle, and take longer to cook. Instead, store them in the dry and dark place, at room temperature away from heat and moisture sources. Basement and root cellar are the best storage locations. You can also wrap them in the newspaper, towel paper, or aluminum foil to protect them from bruising and it will also give them proper airflow. You can also place them in an open box or basket and put an apple inside, as it can prevent the potatoes from budding.
Additionally, always check them every couple of weeks to make sure that none has started to rot. If you find any affected potato, remove it immediately to prevent spread. Remember to wash them before using and never before storing them. If you follow all of these instructions, raw ones should last up to 3 months.
On the other hand, if you have some leftovers of cooked and baked sweet potatoes, you should store them in the fridge. Give them at least 30-40 minutes to cool off before storing them. You can use a shallow airtight container or freezer bags. Stored like this, they can last from 3 to 7 days in the refrigerator.
Moreover, you can also freeze your sweet potatoes, to extend their shelf life. To do so, you need to wash and boil the potatoes first and let them cool down. After 30 minutes, put them in the freezer bags and into the freezer. This way, sweet potatoes can last up to 1 year. Also, defrosting is very easy as you can put them in the fridge overnight to thaw slowly. Another method is microwaving them; just make sure you prick some holes before you do so. You can also put them in the non-sticking pan on low-heat or throw them in with other veggies.
How To Tell If A Sweet Potato Is Spoiled?
There are a few sure signs by which you will know without any doubt, that your sweet potatoes are spoiled.
Firstly, take a good look at your sweet potato. If there are any signs of discoloration or bruises, it has started to rot slowly. Or, if the potato has turned into a deep shade of brown or black. Additionally, if you notice some mold spots, you should discard it immediately. Another reason to toss it is if there are any growths or holes on your potato’s skin.
On the other hand, if there are some small black or brown spots on your sweet potato, it does not necessarily mean that it is spoiled. You can cut the affected parts and cook the rest of the potato as soon as possible.
Spoiled potatoes smell like chemicals and have a very unpleasant smell overall. If your sweet potatoes have developed an off-odor, toss them immediately as this one is a sure sign of spoilage.
The spoiled sweet potatoes’ texture is shriveled, mushy, and wet because of the lost moisture. These should be discarded right away.
As for the cooked sweet potatoes, if there are any changes in flavor or color, or you notice some mold, they are no longer safe to eat.
How Long Do Sweet Potatoes Last – Final Thoughts
All things considered, there is no definite answer on how long sweet potatoes last as it all depends on how you store it. You must always keep them in a cool, dry, and dark place, as these are the ideal storage conditions. Cellar, pantries, and your basement are the best storage places to store your sweet potatoes. Also, avoid storing them in the refrigerator as this can change their taste and harden them inside. If you notice any changes in the texture, smell, or taste, discard them immediately.
Furthermore, chopped and cooked sweet potatoes will have a shorter lifetime while raw can last a few more days or even weeks. But if you want to extend your sweet potatoes’ lifespan, you can do so by properly storing them in the freezer.
Lastly, sweet potatoes are a versatile and indispensable addition to our Thanksgiving menus and everyday meals. They are also rich with nutrients and antioxidants and very low on calories. These tubers add that extra kick of flavor to our meals, and that’s one more of a reason you should always have them on your plate!