Sweet potatoes are delicious and hearty to cook and eat. You can cook them in a variety of ways – boil, bake, roast, grill, fry, mash, and so on. Although the shelf life of sweet potatoes depends primarily on how and where you store them, there are a few things you should know about keeping sweet potatoes fresh and firm.
How Long Do Sweet Potatoes Last?
Sweet potatoes last for 2 to 4 weeks at room temperature. And once stored in the refrigerator, they last for about 2 to 3 months.
There is another way to keep sweet potatoes fresh longer than that. I’m sure you’ve guessed how right?
Freezing sweet potatoes can keep them fresh and hearty for months and months.
Having said that, the method of keeping sweet potatoes at room temperature versus in the fridge or the freezer is slightly different. So if you want to know the tips and tricks behind each, read on below.
How to Store Sweet Potatoes Properly?
The first thing that you’ll need to do know when you get a bag of sweet potatoes home is to wipe the dirt and dust off. Do not wash the sweet potatoes unless you’re going to cook them right away.
For storage, remove the dirty and dusty layer with dry tissue paper or a towel. Make sure the potatoes are completely dry and moisture-free. This will prevent rot when stored at room temperature.
Raw sweet potatoes thrive and stay fresh for longer when stored in a darker place. So away from direct sunlight, in a dimly lit or pantry space.
Too cold a temperature, however, can stiffen the sweet potatoes even more causing a shift in taste and texture during cooking. And an extremely warm temperature will form holes in the surface of the sweet potatoes. The sweet potatoes will start to sag or have a squash-like texture which means it’s rotting faster than anticipated.
If the sweet potatoes become a little spongy, they’re known as pithy sweet potatoes. They’re safe to eat. Just that they’re softer in texture and have a slightly changed taste.
But, all in all, firm sweet potatoes are the best to eat so make sure you store them dry and at room temperature.
This begs the next question…
Can You Chop Raw Sweet Potatoes & Store Them?
The answer to this question is also yes. You can store sweet potatoes in a variety of ways. And chopping them into cubes and storing them in an air-tight container is one of them.
But, the shelf life of cubed sweet potatoes is shorter – between 24 to 48 hours. Store the cubed sweet potatoes in the fridge. Once, I stored the cubed sweet potatoes in the fridge for 3 days and cooked them with rice and chicken. And they tasted completely fine.
So there might be a possibility for you, too, to use cut sweet potatoes after the 2-day mark. But always check the texture and smell of the sweet potatoes before cooking.
If you don’t have a container, you can also use aluminum foil, wrap, or kitchen paper to wrap the sweet potatoes in.
How Long Do Cooked Sweet Potatoes Last?
I’ve been talking about storing raw sweet potatoes at room temperature, in the fridge, and freezer. But what about cooked sweet potatoes? They’re more accessible when you cook during the weekends and practice meal planning.
No matter how you cook your sweet potatoes, storing them is quite simple and easy. Put all the cooked sweet potatoes in an airtight container or ziplock bag or aluminum foil. Seal it well so no air or moisture gets in.
When you keep the sweet potatoes in the fridge, you can eat them for 3-5 days. And to make them last for a month, even longer, store them in the freezer.
Freezing is the better option when you don’t want to risk the texture and flavor of the sweet potatoes. In the fridge, due to frequent opening and closing of the doors and the sudden temperature changes, the food might spoil faster.
And again, it doesn’t matter what type of sweet potatoes you cook. Mashed, fried, grilling, boiled, candied, or baked. Storing them in the freezer to maintain freshness and flavor is cooking 101.
How to Defrost Sweet Potatoes for Cooking?
The next step would be to figure out how to use frozen sweet potatoes in your recipes. Let’s say you’ve frozen plain and simple boiled sweet potatoes for 2 weeks. It’s obvious that you can’t defrost sweet potatoes the way you defrost meat. So what to do?
Defrost feature in microwave
You can either select the reheating or defrost function in a standard microwave. It’s faster and you don’t have to put in any effort at all.
Gently heating on a cooking pan
If you don’t have a microwave with a defrost or reheating functionality, do it the traditional way. Take a pan and set it on low heat. Place the frozen sweet potatoes on the pan. Do not add any oil or butter. The low heat will slowly loosen the meat of the sweet potatoes. You may increase the heat higher toward the end to accelerate the defrosting process.
Place the frozen chunks of sweet potatoes in hot water also does the trick beautifully. It will only take a few minutes to cook all the way through. You can do this easily if you plan on making mashed or grilled potatoes for dinner.
Keep in the fridge overnight
If you have 12 hours before you need to use the sweet potatoes, transfer them into a fridge. 12 hours should do the trick.
It’s important for any cook to know how to wash, prepare, cook, and store sweet potatoes. This hearty vegetable has an excellent shelf life. But always keep checking on the appearance and texture of sweet potatoes to make sure they’re edible.
The only way you’ll know when sweet potatoes are rotten is when they have a bad odor. Fresh, properly stored sweet potatoes can be used in a variety of recipes. And you can store and defrost them using basic kitchen tools. So what’s holding you back?