Last Updated on February 3, 2023 by Claire
Sweet potatoes are loved by almost everyone. Tasty, soft and lovely; we could praise them all day. But that’s not why you’re here, you’re here to find out how to store sweet potatoes long term safely so they don’t go bad so quickly. Besides, bad potatoes contain high levels of solanine and can cause solanine poisoning.
How to store sweet potatoes long term
Sweet potatoes are relatively easy to store and can last for several months if stored properly. There are about five or more varieties of sweet potatoes and they can all be stored in the same manner.
However, the method to use in storing your sweet potatoes will depend on whether it’s cooked (boiled) or uncooked (fresh).
Storing uncooked sweet potatoes (fresh) at room temperature:
- Room thermometer
- Electric fan
- Paper bag
- Large basket or container
Handle your potatoes carefully
Potatoes are a bit fragile and will peel easily if handled roughly. So you need to have this at the back of your mind when collecting your potatoes for storage.
Also remember that although it’s ok to shake off dirt away from your potatoes, washing the roots is a big “no, no”.
Cure your sweet potatoes for 6-14 days
Curing a potato simply refers to the formation of a secondary outer skin layer over the potato’s body. This will allow it to last longer in storage without rooting or producing mold.
Keep them in a cool place with temperatures between 75-80°F and humidity of 90-95% for 6-14 days. Per the University Of Nebraska–Lincoln, you should cure potatoes at a temperature of 45 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
For the best curing possible, put an electric fan in this area to improve the airflow, and spread them out evenly with spaces between them.
Throw away any sweet potatoes that show signs of mold or rot
After the curing process is complete, look through your stash of sweet potatoes for any ones that show signs of mold or rot and take them out. Besides,
This is because the spoiled or rotten potatoes are unsuitable for storage, and they will cause the other good ones to get spoiled if not they are not thrown out.
Wrap them in a paper bag and place them in a large basket or container
You can wrap a bunch of them loosely in a paper bag or any old newspaper you can get your hands on.
The key is to make sure enough air can get inside the paper bags or newspapers to keep the sweet potatoes from getting spoiled.
Store them in a cool, dry and well-ventilated area with temperatures between 55-60°F (13-16°C):
Keep the stash of sweet potatoes in an area that is cool, dry, properly-ventilated and away from any direct heat source.
Make sure you keep tabs on the temperature to make sure it doesn’t go above or below the preferred temperature range.
Your sweet potatoes will last about 6 months if you follow the storage procedures outlined above
Tip: Although you can store uncooked potatoes in the refrigerator, it’s not recommended because they will lose their sweet natural taste and become hard.
Storing cooked sweet potatoes (boiled) using a freezer:
- Vegetable brush
- Vegetable peeler or knife
- Freezer-safe plastic containers or plastic bag
It is best to boil sweet potatoes before you store them in a freezer.
- Wash and peel the sweet potatoes properly
Most times a light rinse with water isn’t enough to clean your potatoes, so you should use a vegetable brush to scrub them.
Use a knife or vegetable peeler to remove the skin off the potatoes.
Tip: Gently scrub the sweet potatoes to avoid bruising or chipping them away.
- Boil them for 20-40 minutes or until they’re done
Boil water in a pot, then add the previously peeled sweet potatoes and cook until they are tender to the touch.
The period of time required to boil sweet potatoes depends on the amount of potatoes you’re cooking and how intense the heat is. However, this should take an average of 20-30 minutes for a moderately sized potato.
Tip: If you’re boiling them whole, let them boil at 425°F (220°C) for about 40 minutes. If they’re sliced or mashed then leave them for about 20-25 minutes.
- Mash or slice your sweet potatoes and sprinkle them with some lemon juice
You can store cooked potatoes in three ways; whole, mashed, or sliced. You may use a knife to cut them up into slices or a potato masher to mash them. Then add some lemon juice to prevent discoloration.
Tip: To avoid altering the taste of your sweet potatoes, add only a small amount of lemon juice to them (about 5 ml or 1 tsp).
- Allow them to cool to room temperature before putting them in air-tight containers
Condensation build-up in the container or plastic bag will spoil your sweet potatoes, so it’s best to let them cool down before you put the sweet potatoes in any type of container.
Ensure you only use air-tight containers such as freezer-safe plastic containers or plastic bags. Do not use glass or metal containers.
Tip: To prevent bacteria build-up, you must also ensure you don’t leave your cooked sweet potatoes at room temperature for more than an hour or two.
You can also label the containers or plastic bags with labels containing the date the potatoes were frozen.
- Keep them frozen for 10-12 months
Boiled sweet potatoes can be safely stored in a freezer for about a year.
Tip: stored cooked sweet potatoes in a refrigerator will not last as long as those stored in a freezer.
How long do sweet potatoes last?
The lifespan of sweet potatoes is dependent on the storage method used and how well they’re stored. They will last for 6 months if kept at room temperature in a cool, dry and well ventilated area.
In the refrigerator or freezer? They will last about seven weeks or 12 months respectively.
How do I know when sweet potatoes have gone bad?
Here are a few signs you’d notice when sweet potatoes have gone bad:
Sweet potatoes are firm when they are fresh, but mushy when bad
Sweet potatoes should have a smooth and firm texture. A quick squeeze is enough to help you determine if your potatoes are still fresh or if they have gone bad.
They begin to emit weird or suspicious smells
Naturally, sweet potatoes do not have any strong or weird odors. However, when they are bad they begin developing weird or suspiciously strong odors which are a sign of rot. In reality, it can be a little difficult to figure out if it’s just one potato that’s bad or the whole batch.
Discoloration – dark or brown spots appear on the body
Discoloration in sweet potatoes can be superficial and won’t affect their consumption.
Dark or brown spots on your sweet potatoes are simply an indication that they may have been infected by a fungal disease that would cover their entire skin and if not consumed on time will begin to rot away.
They become moldy or leaky
Naturally, the leaky white ooze that seeps out of sweet potatoes is a type of sap that is completely safe to eat. However, the leaky discharge that oozes from sweet potatoes when a sizeable amount of mold begins to cover their outer skin is a sure sign of rot and is totally unsafe to eat.
So you must throw your sweet potatoes away once you notice a sizable amount of white or green mold appearing on the skin.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I reheat cooked sweet potatoes?
Reheat whole or sliced sweet potatoes by microwaving them in 20-30 second intervals until you feel they’re hot all the way through. For mashed potatoes, it’s best to use a stovetop to reheat them instead of a microwave so they don’t lose their natural texture.
What is the best way to store sweet potatoes?
The best way to store sweet potatoes is to keep them in a cool, dry, and properly ventilated area such as a basement or garage. And also away from strong heat sources. Storing them in the refrigerator is not recommended because they will lose their sweet natural taste and develop a hard center.
What is the best way to store potatoes long term?
The best way to store sweet potatoes for a maximum life span (about 10-12 months) is to make sure they are cooked, allowed to cool, and kept frozen in air-tight food containers or plastic bags. However, this method might make your sweet potatoes lose some of their “natural” taste.
Learning how to store sweet potatoes long term can prove invaluable in the long run.
Storing them for about a year means you need to cook them and keep them in a freezer, but you might lose that incredible sweet potato taste. While storing them in a cool, dry and well ventilated area might mean you get to keep that incredible taste, but they can only be stored for about 6 months.
Each method has its pros and cons, so it’s best to choose what would suit your needs and preferences.