Do Potatoes Go Bad? How Long Do They Last?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on July 30th, 2022

It’s easy to overlook a bag of potatoes in the back of your pantry. Or to purchase a huge bag to discover that you can only eat potatoes so many times a week. This naturally raises the question, “Do potatoes go bad?”


Or perhaps you wanted to stock up on potatoes and performed some study into alternative long-term storage methods. And, no doubt, you came across some contradictory information, particularly concerning whether or not to refrigerate potatoes.

brown potato lot

If any of these questions or worries seem familiar, this post is for you. In it, we discuss potato storage, shelf life, and spoilage. Continue reading to discover more about these garden vegetables.

Do Potatoes Go Bad?

Potatoes, like garlic and onions, keep for a long time. If you keep them in optimum circumstances, they should survive at least a month, if not longer. They keep for approximately 2 weeks at room temperature and another week or two in the fridge.

When it comes to boiled potatoes, they normally keep their quality for 3 to 5 days in the fridge. The same is true for preserving potato salad.

That is true, of course, assuming the container is firmly closed, and no hazardous microorganisms have gotten inside before it is stored.

Potatoes typePantryFridgeFreezer
White potatoes3 to 5 weeks3 to 4 months/
Red potatoes2 to 3 weeks2 to 3 months/
Gold potatoes2 to 3 weeks2 to 3 months/
Sweet potatoes3 to 5 weeks2 to 3 months/
Fingerlings2 to 3 weeks2 to 3 months/
French fries/1 to 2 days6 to 8 months
Mashed potatoes/5 to 6 days6 to 8 months
Baked potatoes/1 week6 to 8 months
Cooked potatoes/1 week6 to 8 months
Instant potatoesOne year5 days/

Please keep in mind that, while the refrigerator storage period is greater than pantry storage time, it has a disadvantage. Furthermore, the mentioned above are simply estimations.

What Is the Room-Temperature Shelf Life of Potatoes?

Without a doubt, storing whole, uncooked potatoes outside of the refrigerator is the best option. When you refrigerate potatoes, the starch converts to sugar, giving them a sweet flavor that you don’t want from your potatoes.

How Should Potatoes Be Stored at Room Temperature?

Whole, uncooked potatoes can be stored for up to two months in a cold, dark place (warmer than the fridge but cooler than room temperature). However, unless you have an unheated cellar, you’ll have to do with room temperature. Store them in a paper bag, mesh bag, or cardboard box to keep them fresh. Potatoes may be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

How Long Can Potatoes Be Stored in the Refrigerator?

While we’ve already established that the refrigerator isn’t the best place to store potatoes, there are times when you don’t have a choice. For various reasons, including a shortage of cabinet space and hot or humid surroundings, you may choose to put your potatoes in the refrigerator.

If you want to store your potatoes in the refrigerator for whatever reason, they can keep for three to four weeks but will develop a sweet flavor when cooked.

Cut fresh potatoes should be cooled in a bowl of cold water. They’re only good for the next 24 hours.

Finally, cooked potatoes will stay in the fridge for three to four days, like any other leftover.

How Long Can Potatoes Be Stored in the Freezer?

While cooked potatoes keep well in the freezer, raw potatoes do not. Therefore they should be boiled before freezing. However, cooked potatoes can be frozen for up to 12 months if stored in a freezer-safe bag or airtight container. See our tutorial on freezing and reheating mashed potatoes for more details.

How Can You Tell If Your Potatoes Are Bad?

Do you have some potatoes in the pantry that you forgot about? That does occur. You might be surprised at how much your potatoes have changed. Is it conceivable that my potatoes have spoiled? What does a bad potato look like?

Wrinkled, saggy, and mushy potatoes

Potatoes age in the same way as human skin does. Over time, it will wrinkle and droop. Although wrinkling and sagging will not affect your potato flavor, removing them before they spoil other potatoes is best. Also, as your potatoes grow, they will get mushy. This is an obvious sign that your potatoes are no longer edible.

The Smell of Potatoes

The fragrance of fresh potatoes is earthy. However, some potatoes may appear in good condition but are decaying on the inside, generating a strong bitter and moldy stench.

Green Splotches

These spots appear before shooting. Green spots indicate the presence of a mild toxin. According to this research, the greening of the peel is associated with an increase in solanine. Minor green spots are readily removed, but large green spots should be eliminated.

Mold

Mold can form on your potatoes if they are not stored correctly. Is it OK to eat rotting potatoes? It is a conditional statement. If it just affected a little portion of your potato, you may easily cut it and toss it. However, if the mold has taken over most of your potato, it’s important to get rid of it as soon as possible.

Potatoes that are soft and sprouting

Is eating soft potatoes safe? It is also reliant. It is still edible if your potato is not “too soft,” mushy to the touch, drooping, and shrinking.

Is it safe to consume sprouting potatoes? If the eyes and sprouts are still fairly firm, remove them. Remember, you should never consume discarded sprouts. The solanine component of potatoes is concentrated in these sprouts, making them unsafe to eat.

Signs That a Cooked Potato Is Bad

It is more difficult to detect rotting in cooked potatoes than in raw potatoes. However, if you have a cooked potato and are concerned that it is going bad, look for the following signs:

  • Smell. Steamed potatoes can have an unpleasant odor after cooking.
  • Mold. Molds might take the appearance of brightly colored patches or fluff.

Cooked potatoes should be eaten within four days following cooking. When freezing cooked potatoes, make sure to thaw them before eating. This helps to eliminate any bacteria that may have developed on it. Potatoes can harbor dangerous pathogens without exhibiting symptoms, resulting in food poisoning.

Can You Eat Soft Raw Potatoes?

Good potatoes should be firm and crisp when uncooked. If you can squeeze your potato and it gives, it’s a sign that it’s soon to go bad – or has gone bad already.

If there is no mold, it should be OK to eat, but the quality will be lower, and it would be best mashed or shredded to make hash browns.

Can I eat sprouted potatoes?

Yes, if they have just sprouted. No, if they’ve grown long enough.

If the potatoes have only recently sprouted and have very short sprouts, remove the sprouts and boil the potato as usual.

Sprouts require minerals and carbohydrates from the potato to develop, causing it to fade. As a result, the longer the sprouts grow, the fewer nutrients your potato has.

Can potato sprouts be eaten?

No, the sprouts are rich in hazardous compounds such as solanine.

WHY ARE MY POTATOES TURNING GREEN?

If potatoes are not properly kept and are exposed to light, they will frequently become green due to chlorophyll formation.

If they are green, this indicates an increase in toxins, such as solanine, in the potato. Toxins are commonly contained in sprouts, peels, or immediately behind the peel.

Do I get to eat a green potato?

Yes, however, it’s preferable if you peel the potato first since this will eliminate the bulk of the accumulated toxins. In addition, it’s advised not to consume a potato if it’s bitter after peeling and boiling.

If only a section of the potato is green, you can remove it; however, if the entire potato is green, it is preferable not to use it.

What Happens If You Eat a Bad Potato?

Of course, we anticipate something unpleasant if we eat some nasty potatoes by accident. Can stale or old potatoes make you sick? Yes. Poorly cultivated potatoes may be hazardous.

Solanine, a neurotoxic compound found in potato plants, is a known carcinogen. The spud is the root crop, and the plant is toxic; therefore, a sprouting potato– it’s turning into a plant!– might be dangerous. Potato peel and sprouts have significant levels of solanine. This naturally occurring toxin found in food plants acts as a pesticide.

Eating decaying potatoes can cause solanine toxicity. Some symptoms include headaches, vomiting, fever, stomach pains, and difficulty breathing. Other symptoms include diarrhea, shock, and hallucinations.

How to Select the Freshest Potatoes

The longer your potatoes remain, the fresher they are when you bring them home. When it comes to proper storage, the color of the skin makes no difference, but the kind of potato does.

New potatoes of all hues are just potatoes that have been plucked before they have reached full maturity. Their skin is often thin and smooth, with no imperfections while young. All-purpose and baking potatoes are typically bigger and have thicker skins.

All potatoes should be solid and free of wounds, bruises, or sprouts. Individual potatoes are preferable to pre-bagged ones since you may check each tuber for flaws.

How to Store Potatoes

When you go home with the potatoes, don’t wash them before storing them. Brush them if they’re too dirty, but don’t use water. That will only hasten their demise.

Regarding storage, the optimal temperature for potatoes is between 7 and 10 degrees Celsius (45 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit). That suggests the refrigerator is too cold and the ambient temperature is too warm.

So, unless you have an unheated basement or another location that maintains such a temperature, you’ll have to settle for one of the less-than-ideal solutions.

To begin, store potatoes at room temperature. As previously stated, it is not perfect, but it is also not horrible. A few things to keep in mind here are to keep them out of direct sunlight and in a well-ventilated area.

If you carried them in a plastic bag, poke small holes in it to allow the vegetables to breathe. Otherwise, a mesh bag or a basket with holes would suffice.

They sometimes sprout if you store potatoes in a moderately warm (room temperature) environment. That’s fine; it’s not a warning that the potatoes are going rotten.

All you have to do is remove the sprouts before cooking, and you’re ready to go. The same is true for sweet potatoes.

Let us now discuss the fridge as an alternative to room temperature.

The problem with keeping potatoes in the refrigerator is that the starch in potatoes converts to sugar when exposed to cold temperatures. As you may expect, this causes the potatoes to become fairly sweet. As a result, numerous websites recommend that you never keep potatoes in the refrigerator.

If you live in a hot environment and the potatoes don’t survive long in the pantry, try storing some in the refrigerator to see how they turn out. Then, maybe you won’t mind them so much.

When cooked, refrigerated potatoes tend to change color. To mitigate this impact, take them out of the fridge one hour before cooking to allow them to warm up to room temperature.

Whether you keep potatoes at room temperature or in the refrigerator, check on them once a week and discard any that are rotten.

Overall, keeping raw potatoes in the pantry is the best option for most of us. If possible, avoid refrigerating them.

Cooked potatoes are stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Is it possible to freeze potatoes?

Although raw potatoes may potentially be frozen and stored forever, they do not survive the process well, suffering texture changes that render them practically useless for anything other than mashing when thawed.

Cooked potatoes may be frozen, such as mashed potatoes, French fries, and hash browns. However, for the greatest quality, cooked potato items should be kept in an airtight container and consumed within two months.

Freeze Partial or Completely Cooked Potatoes

Although raw potatoes may not freeze well, partially and completely cooked potatoes do. To freeze partially or fully cooked potatoes, follow the recipe and then totally cool the potatoes.

Cooked Potatoes, Frozen Removing As Much Air As Possible 

Before freezing your partially or fully cooked potatoes, remove as much air from the container as possible. This will ensure that your frozen potatoes stay as fresh as possible. Your frozen potatoes should last for at least a few months if properly stored.

Conclusion

If kept properly, this starchy root vegetable has a long shelf life. You may enjoy this tasty cuisine for months if you clip the sprouts and green patches on the surface of the potatoes regularly and inspect them for mold. Even though chilly settings are ideal for storing potatoes, fresh tubers should not be frozen.

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Editorial Staff

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