While potatoes are classified as perishable, they have a relatively longer shelf-life than most food substances.
However, the longevity is mainly dependent on factors such as storage conditions and whether they are cooked or raw.
Since potatoes are found in many parts of the world, the question of how long they can keep fresh is rife.
How long do potatoes last? Do potatoes go bad? How do I know whether potatoes have gone bad? These are some of the questions that throw many cooks into a quagmire.
If you’ve found yourself asking these questions but have never found an answer, then you’re in the right place. This evidence-based article provides solutions to all your questions.
What is the Shelf-Life of Potatoes?
Potatoes have a more extended life shelf than many fruits and vegetables. However, longevity is determined by the following main factors:
- How are the potatoes stored?
- Are the potatoes cooked or raw?
These two factors directly affect the shelf-life of potatoes. For example, potatoes stored in a warm moist place will go bad faster than potatoes stored in a cool, dry place.
Ideally, raw potatoes have a life shelf of 1 week to several months, depending on the storage conditions.
How to Store Potatoes
The best environment to store potatoes is a cool and dry place. If you can achieve a temperature slightly below the room temperature and above the refrigerator temperature, you can have your potatoes fresh for up to 3 months.
However, achieving that environment can be tricky, unless you own a basement cooler. As such, you should always strive to keep your potatoes at room temperature but away from direct sunlight.
To achieve a dry environment, you can cover your potatoes with hay and keep them inside a relatively cold room. Avoid keeping them in the kitchen or any other room close to a source of heat.
Can Raw Potatoes Be Refrigerated?
Anything can be refrigerated; after all, it’s just about opening the fridge door and stashing the potatoes.
But the question is whether the potatoes will keep fresh even after refrigeration. And if yes, for how long?
Well, refrigerating raw potatoes are almost always a bad idea. The cold environment will convert the potato starch into sugar. As a result, you’re going to get sugary potatoes, a taste that you’ll not like!
If you must refrigerate raw potatoes, then they will last for 2-4 weeks. However, you must be ready to keep up with the sugary taste of your potatoes.
How to Store Peeled/ Cut Potatoes in the Refrigerator/Freezer
If you peel potatoes and, for whatever reason, you’re unable to cook them immediately, you can store them in a refrigerator.
However, it would help if you always kept peeled potatoes underwater to prevent oxidation. Cut potatoes underwater can last in a refrigerator for approximately 24 hours.
Potatoes that are cut and left at room temperature will darken. The darkening is due to potatoes oxidation, which turns them unpalatable.
How Long Do Potatoes Last in a Refrigerator
Like we’ve already indicated, you should always avoid storing uncooked potatoes in a refrigerator.
If cooked, then you should use an airtight storage container to keep the leftover potatoes in the fridge. Ordinarily, cooked potatoes should last for at most four days before they go bad.
How Long Do Potatoes Last in a Freezer?
If cooked potatoes are stored well in an airtight storage container, they can last 10-12 months in a freezer. The temperature should be approximately 0°F.
How to Know Whether Potatoes Have Gone Bad
Several signs are telling you that your potatoes have gone bad. It would be best never to ignore these signs since eating spoilt potatoes can be a health hazard. The signs include:
Soft or Mushy Potatoes
If your potatoes are still fresh, they should be firm to touch. When they started becoming spongy and developing black spots, then they started going bad. You should throw away mushy and bruised potatoes for guaranteed safety.
Potatoes shouldn’t develop a moldy smell or any other unusual smell. Even when a potato looks fresh but has a blemish inside, then it’s likely rotten, and you should throw it away.
A strong smell coming from either the inside or the outside of the potato is a spoilage sign.
Is it safe to eat sprouting potatoes? In the initial stages of potato sprouting, you can consume them without a fuss. However, you should start making plans to exhaust your stock since it will go bad in a few days/weeks from the day of initial sprouting.
Always ensure that you remove the sprouts since they are unsafe for eating. They contain high levels of toxic glycoalkaloids, solanine, and chaconine. These chemical compounds can lead to headaches, diarrhea, and nausea.
Are Potatoes with Green Spots Spoilt?
Green spots develop in potatoes when they are subjected to direct sunlight. The constant interaction leads to a chemical reaction that manifests with the green color’s development on the potato’s skin.
While the green part will be bitter, the rest of the potato is safe for eating. As such, you’ll just be required to cut off the green part and eat the rest.
How to Know Whether Cooked Potatoes Have Gone Bad
You should always endeavor to eat all your cooked potatoes the fastest you can. If you have leftovers, ensure that you refrigerate them since cooked potatoes left at room temperature overnight will go bad.
Always remember that the development of odor is the last stage of spoilage.
It is possible for potatoes to harbor life-threatening bacteria while they still smell fresh. If the food has not been refrigerated, avoid eating it if it spent hours on the counter.
Even when the food is still fresh, you must re-heat adequately (165°F) to destroy any harmful bacteria that may cause food poisoning and other ailments.
Tips for Storing Potatoes
- Separate the sprout and cut potatoes from the fresh ones
- Store the potatoes in a mesh bag, basket, cardboards, and other regions with enough ventilation. Avoid using plastic bags.
- Store your potatoes in a dark place
- Never wash your potatoes unless you’re ready to cook them.
How Long Do Potatoes Last – The Bottom Line
It is possible to forget potatoes in your pantry since you assume that they rarely go bad. However, potatoes go bad after approximately four weeks or several months, depending on the environment.
As such, you should always be sure to store your potatoes well, thus ensuring that they remain fresh for long. This article offers some of the proven tips that you can use to avoid early potatoes spoilage and ensure that you do not feed on spoiled ones.
How Long Do Potatoes Last – Frequently Asked Questions
How do I tell when potatoes are bad?
When potatoes go bad, they will develop an unusual odor and start sprouting. If they form a green patch on the skin, they are being subjected to too much light. In that case, you can remove the green patch and eat the rest of the potato.
How long does a bag of potatoes last?
You should avoid storing your potatoes in a bag since the environment can become hot and moist, thus encouraging sprouting and going bad. Potatoes in a bag may last for four weeks, while those spread on a dark, cool, and dry place may go for several months.
When should you throw your potatoes away?
When your potatoes start producing a stench, then you should throw them away. Also, it would be best if you did not eat moldy and musty potatoes.
Should you keep potatoes in a fridge?
Avoid cooking raw potatoes in a fridge since they darken and become sugary. However, cooked potatoes can last in a refrigerator for 3-4 days before going bad.
How long do honey gold potatoes last?
The shelf-life of honey gold potatoes depends on the storage conditions. If you store them in a dry and cool environment, the potatoes will last for three months.
Chef Boniface is a graduate in Culinary Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education, New York. He has worked in several restaurants and is currently the Head Chef at Cavali Restaurant.
He has excelled in developing unique recipes and influencing the menu at the restaurant. He prides himself in sharing his knowledge at thekitchenpot.com where he writes about the best cookware for various recipes.