Sweet potatoes are starchy root crops used in baking and cooking. Do not mistake sweet potatoes for yam because it has a creamy texture with very high water content. Yes, sweet potato goes bad, especially when mixed with other ingredients. Your fresh sweet potato will last longer than the cooked/mashed potato.
How long can sweet potatoes last?
Sweet potato, as explained earlier, isn't the same as yam. However, they both have a creamy texture. The shelf-life of your sweet potato depends on several factors, and they include the mode or storage, the mode of preparation, and the best-by-date.
- How long can raw sweet potato last?
If you are a lover of sweet potatoes, you should know this by now. Sweet potato can last about 2-3 months in the fridge and 3-5 weeks when stored in the pantry.
- How long can cooked sweet potato last?
If you consume sweet potato more often, you should be aware that your cooked sweet potato can last as long as seven days when stored in the fridge. However, if you won't be eating it anytime soon, you could store it in the freezer; it could last for at least 4-6 months.
- How long can sweet potatoes last when stored in the refrigerator?
Depending on the type of sweet potato, either cooked, canned, or raw, their shelf-life differs. If unopened, fresh sweet potato would last for 2-3 months in the fridge, your sweet potato fries could last for 2-3 days, while frozen sweet potato would last for 5-7 days. If opened, canned sweet potato and cooked sweet potato would last for seven days.
- How long can sweet potatoes last when stored in the freezer?
If you won't be cooking or making use of your sweet potato anytime soon, it's better you store them in the freezer. It helps prevent the quality from degrading and also helps to keep bacteria and fungi away. Your frozen sweet potato could last for 6-8 months in the freezer if unopened. If opened, the cooked sweet potato could last as long as 4-6 months when stored in the freezer.
How to tell if sweet potato goes bad
Just like every other food item, sweet potato can go bad. There are, however, several means to detect if your sweet potato is bad, and they include.
- Smell: once your sweet potato starts smelling off or smells rotten, toss it immediately.
- Colour: Here's another means to detect if the tuber is bad. It starts having spots and discoloration from its initial appearance—changes from brown to black.
- Holes: when you see holes on your sweet potato, it shows the tuber has been bruised, and they can be entry points for pests and rodents.
- Texture: if your notice your sweet potato has gone mushy or soft, toss it. It's probably bad.
- Sprouts: this is a sign that the sweet potato is beginning to overgrow. It happens when you store them in a closed (dark) chamber. Dispose of them immediately
- Spots and growth: these are common signs that your potato has gone bad. Once you notice spots and growth on the surface of the potato, you don't need to peel them. Dispose immediately.
- Mold and black rot: black rot is a distinctive feature of spoilt potato. Once you notice it on your potato, or you notice molds on the surface, toss it!
How to prevent sweet potato from going bad
There are ways to keep your potato from getting spoilt easily, and they can be done based on the mentioned below:
- Selecting: grouping your potato will help you choose the mode of storage. I'd advise you to select them based on if they are opened or unopened. This will help you effectively store them in the right place.
- Storing: Storing them is the most effective way of keeping them from getting bad. You could store them in the freezer, in the fridge, pantry, or a container filled with water, depending on the appearance of the potato (opened, unopened, or sliced). To prevent your sweet potato from going bad, store them in a cool and dry place. Please do not keep them in the dark/hot areas. It might cause holes in your potato. You can also store your potato in the fridge or freezer, depending on the time of use. If you will be cooking your potato sooner rather than later, you might want to store them in the fridge. If it's long term, you should store them in the freezer. You can also slice your potato and store them in a container with water and a sealed lid. The water will help prevent air from entering the potato. You should store this type of potato (sliced in a container filled with water) in the fridge.
The risks of consuming expired sweet potato
Once mold has developed on your tuber, it shows the sweet potato is bad. If you consume it, you could suffer diarrhea, stomach upsets, stooling, and vomiting. It's food poisoning, and it's not encouraged. It would be best if you didn't try it in the first place.