Sweet potatoes are a versatile and nutritious root vegetable that can be enjoyed in various dishes. However, it’s essential to know how long they last under different storage conditions to ensure you’re consuming them at their peak freshness and quality.
How Long Do Sweet Potatoes Last?
Raw Sweet Potatoes
Stored on the counter
When stored at room temperature on the counter, raw sweet potatoes can last up to two weeks. It’s important to keep them away from direct sunlight and heat sources to prevent premature spoilage.
Stored in a cool, dark, dry area (root cellar)
For a longer storage life, place raw sweet potatoes in a cool, dark, and dry area, such as a root cellar. Under these conditions, they can last about a month. To maintain their freshness, store them at a cool temperature and allow for proper air circulation. You can determine their freshness by checking for firmness and ensuring there is no sprouting.
Cooked Sweet Potatoes
Cooked sweet potatoes have a shorter shelf life compared to their raw counterparts. At room temperature, they can only last for a few hours. To extend their freshness, store them in an airtight container and refrigerate. Under these conditions, cooked sweet potatoes can last for three to five days.
In the Fridge
Whole, raw sweet potatoes should not be refrigerated, as this can cause them to spoil more quickly. However, if you have cut sweet potatoes, it’s best to refrigerate them. To keep them fresh, cover the cut pieces in cold water, and they should last about a day.
In the Freezer
Freezing is an excellent option for preserving cooked sweet potatoes, but raw sweet potatoes do not freeze well. To prepare sweet potatoes for freezing, follow these steps:
- Roast, boil, or microwave the sweet potatoes until they are cooked through.
- Mash the cooked flesh and mix it with a small amount of lemon juice to prevent discoloration.
- Store the mashed sweet potatoes in airtight containers or freezer bags, ensuring there is minimal air inside.
- Frozen cooked sweet potatoes can last up to six months in the freezer. Remember to label the containers or bags with the date of freezing to keep track of their storage time.
The shelf life of sweet potatoes varies depending on their storage conditions and whether they are raw or cooked. By following the appropriate storage methods, you can enjoy sweet potatoes at their best quality and taste.
How Do You Store Sweet Potatoes For A Long Time?
Proper storage of sweet potatoes is essential to maintain their freshness, flavor, and nutritional value. Here are some guidelines on how to store raw and cooked sweet potatoes.
Storing Raw Sweet Potatoes
- Do not rinse before storing
Avoid rinsing raw sweet potatoes before storing them, as moisture can promote mold growth and spoilage. Instead, wait until you’re ready to use them before washing.
- Use a dry cloth to remove dirt
To remove any dirt or debris from the sweet potatoes, gently brush them with a dry cloth. This will help keep them clean without introducing moisture.
- Cure for 1 to 2 weeks for increased flavor and sweetness
Curing sweet potatoes can enhance their flavor and sweetness, as well as extend their storage life. To cure them, place the sweet potatoes in a warm and humid environment, maintaining a temperature of around 80°F and 90% humidity. This process should take 1 to 2 weeks. After curing, store the sweet potatoes in a cool, dark, and dry place.
Storing Cooked Sweet Potatoes
To store cooked sweet potatoes, follow these steps:
- Allow the cooked sweet potatoes to cool to room temperature.
- Place them in a shallow container to promote even cooling.
- Store the container in the refrigerator to maintain freshness.
- For a longer shelf life, transfer the cooked sweet potatoes to an airtight plastic bag or container before refrigerating.
Where Is The Best Place To Store Sweet Potatoes?
The ideal storage location for sweet potatoes is a dry and cool place, such as garages, basements, or cellars. These environments help maintain the quality and freshness of the sweet potatoes for an extended period.
- Avoid washing sweet potatoes before storing them, as moisture can lead to spoilage. Instead, clean them with a dry cloth to remove dirt and debris.
- Store sweet potatoes in a dark place to prevent exposure to light, which can cause them to sprout or turn green. Under these conditions, sweet potatoes can last up to 6 months.
- Do not store sweet potatoes near other vegetables, such as onions or potatoes, as they can release gases that can cause the sweet potatoes to spoil more quickly.
Proper storage of sweet potatoes is crucial for preserving their quality, flavor, and nutritional value. By doing so, you can savor the taste and health benefits of this versatile root vegetable.
Can You Freeze Raw Sweet Potatoes?
Freezing sweet potatoes is an excellent way to preserve their flavor and nutritional value for an extended period. This method is particularly useful for storing baked sweet potatoes or cooked yams. Here is a step-by-step process for storing and freezing sweet potatoes:
- Wash and peel: Begin by thoroughly washing the sweet potatoes to remove any dirt or debris. Then, peel the skin using a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife.
- Boil until tender: Place the peeled sweet potatoes in a large pot of boiling water and cook them until they are tender. This process usually takes about 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the sweet potatoes. To check for tenderness, insert a fork or knife into the sweet potatoes; they should be easily pierced when they are ready.
- Mash or slice, sprinkle with lemon juice: Once the sweet potatoes are cooked and tender, you can either mash them with a potato masher or fork, or slice them into your desired thickness. To prevent discoloration, sprinkle the mashed or sliced sweet potatoes with a small amount of lemon juice.
- Transfer to airtight space (wrap or container): Allow the sweet potatoes to cool to room temperature. Then, transfer them to an airtight container or wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Make sure there is minimal air inside the container or wrap to prevent freezer burn.
- Freezer storage extends shelf life to 10-12 months: By storing sweet potatoes in the freezer, you can extend their shelf life to 10-12 months. Remember to label the containers or wraps with the date of freezing to keep track of their storage time.
How To Tell If A Sweet Potato Is Bad
Sweet potatoes are generally quite durable, but they can still go bad if not stored properly or if they have been stored for too long. Here are some signs that a sweet potato has gone bad:
- Patches of mold (white, green, or black): Mold growth on sweet potatoes is a clear indication that they have spoiled. Mold can appear in various colors, such as white, green, or black. If you notice any mold on your sweet potatoes, it’s best to discard them.
- Sour smell: A sour or off-putting smell is another sign that a sweet potato has gone bad. Fresh sweet potatoes should have a mild, earthy aroma. If the smell is unpleasant, it’s time to throw the sweet potato away.
- Mushy and soft texture: Fresh sweet potatoes should be firm to the touch. If a sweet potato has become mushy or soft, it’s likely spoiled and should not be consumed.
- Sprouting with small sprouts is still edible, but indicates spoilage: While sweet potatoes with small sprouts can still be eaten, it’s a sign that they are beginning to spoil. To salvage the sweet potato, remove the sprouts and any green areas before cooking. However, if the sprouts are large or the sweet potato has become soft and mushy, it’s best to discard it.