Did you know that storing potatoes incorrectly can lead to stomach problems after consumption? That is why knowing how long do potatoes last and how to store them properly are necessary. Especially if you want the produce to stay fresh for longer.
Throwing out spoiled potatoes every week is a common sight if you don’t cook potatoes very often. You always end up buying potatoes in bulk and then forget to incorporate them in recipes for the week.
Potatoes are nutritious and delicious but they do spoil faster since they grow beneath the soil. So replicating that environment in order to prolong the shelf life of potatoes, here’s everything you need to know.
How Long Do Potatoes Last?
Let’s get this out of the way. Potatoes, when stored correctly, can last for as long as 3 months. But what do you mean by “stored correctly?”
When you store potatoes raw, you can store them in any 1 of 2 ways – at room temperature or at 10-degrees Celsius. That sounds crazy, right? Who would care enough to store potatoes at 10-degrees Celsius?
But what if I told you that storing potatoes at 10-degrees Celsius means that it’ll last for up to 3 months? Do you think it’s crazy now?
10-degrees Celsius is 50-degrees Fahrenheit which means it’s cold since a refrigerator’s ideal temperature is about 40-degrees Fahrenheit.
Storing raw potatoes at room temperature, however, will keep them fresh for about 1-2 weeks maximum.
Cooked potatoes last for several months depending on where you store them.
Cooked potatoes kept in a refrigerator can last for up to 2 weeks. And cooked potatoes kept in a freezer can last for 10 months to a year.
The cooking method of storing potatoes is very simple. Boil the potatoes in water and transfer them to a bowl of ice water for a few minutes. You can also steam or bake the potatoes. The cooking technique may differ, and it won’t affect the shelf life of potatoes.
But, having said that, the more ingredients you add to cook the potatoes with such seasonings, the shorter will be its lifespan. Keeping the potatoes cooked but unseasoned and plain is a good idea to prolong their shelf life and avoid spoilage.
How to Spot Spoiled Potatoes?
Do you know how to figure out when potatoes have gone bad? These are the signs you need to look out for…
The first sign of spoilage is wrinkly, sagging, and spotty skin. If the outer layer of the potato looks hardened and wrinkly, those are the first signs of spoilage. But do not throw away the potatoes right away. Cut one open to inspect the condition inside. If there are black spots, then throw the potatoes out.
Green or black spots are common signs of spoilage.
Dampness is also a sign that the potatoes are going bad. And also that they are not edible anymore so there’s no need to salvage what’s good. Rotten potatoes become damp and attract moisture; hence the mushy appearance which means the potatoes have gone too soft and squishy from inside as well.
Usually, sagging skin and odor appear together when a potato turns rotten. But just in case you can see the bad, rotten appearance, you can smell it. Rotten potatoes have a strong, moldy, and bitter scent.
There have been cases when the potatoes look fine from outside but they stink horribly! That is when the potato starts rotting from inside out. Do not assume that a bad-smelling potato is fine to eat even though it looks good. Throw it out immediately.
3. Growing Shoots
In most cases, a potato keeps developing or sprouting, even after harvesting. So they form shoots or eyes that grow from various spots on the surface. This is often coupled with tiny green or brown spots on the exterior.
When you buy potatoes from an organic produce stand or a supermarket, do not pick potatoes with growing sprouts.
It’s completely fine to remove the shoots before cooking. And as long as the potato smells and looks fine, you have nothing to worry about. But sometimes, these sprouts grow all over and that’s when you need to throw the potatoes out.
The green spots growing around the sprouts contain a toxin that should not be digested. Cutting around those green spots when they are tiny is fine. But once they start growing out of control, do not eat them. It may cause an upset stomach, acidity, bloating, pain, or worse.
Some Tips Before You Go
If there’s one thing that has helped me become a better cook is stuff I’ve learned from practice.
If you’re storing raw potatoes outside, always keep them in a dry, cool, and dark place. Never keep them next to a kitchen appliance like a refrigerator, oven, or stove. The heat will spoil them quickly. Heat and moisture cause mold and growing sprouts so be careful where you store the potatoes.
Even if people tell you that it’s alright, never store raw potatoes in the fridge. It will double the sugar content of the potatoes causing them to soften and become moldy soon.
And the last thing, even if you’re storing cooked potatoes in the freezer, do not use them for longer than a few months. They will lose most of their quality in the freezer. Becoming saggy and soft only means that after thawing, it will become moldy and squishy.
Everywhere, potatoes are a staple in kitchens. They are nutritious and appetizing no matter how you cook them. That is why putting thought into how to store potatoes and how long do potatoes last can be of big help to you.
You can avoid risking food poisoning and wasting potatoes once you know how long potatoes last. And from this article, you can also take with you the basics of storing potatoes in versatile ways.