Making different recipes that have potatoes can truly change the taste of a meal. Over the years, trying different methods of storing potatoes has shown me the longevity of just how long potatoes can last.
Most potato varieties can stay for a month, but if stored at room temperature, the potatoes stay about 2 weeks before you notice signs of potatoes gone bad. They can stay fresh much longer if proper storage conditions are met.
Sometimes I might find one or two that have gone bad, but storing potatoes in different ways has actually helped.
In the next few sections, let’s talk about how to choose fresh potatoes, ways to tell if potatoes are bad, and how to store the potatoes for maximum life-expectancy.
How to Check for Bad or Spoiled Potatoes
Before potatoes begin to go bad, they start to have a bad smell. Also, they undergo certain changes like sprouting or changing color. This means that their quality has started to degrade and the nutritional value has reduced which will eventually lead to potatoes going bad.
Here is what to look out for when you notice sprouts or discoloration.
Look for those with deep cracks, mold, green spots, or sprouts. Watch this video to know when potatoes go bad.
This is an indication that potatoes have been stored for a long time at room temperature. On average, most potatoes begin to sprout after 1-4 months of harvesting. If the sprouted potatoes are still firm you can remove the sprouts before you consume them and it’s best to consume them a week of sprouting as they will decline rapidly.
Green potatoes are an indication of toxicity and the green discoloration on the skin can lead to serious health problems. The green color occurs when the potatoes are exposed to light and chlorophyll begins to grow. Other varieties have a purple color. You can cut off the green part and enjoy the rest of the potato.
Wrinkled or saggy potatoes
As potatoes age, they begin to shrivel up, get wrinkles, and begin to wither. Once this happens the taste can change and it’s time to discard them because they aren’t good to eat. This goes for taste and age.
Potatoes with thumbnail cracks mean they underwent rough handling and storage. The cracks can contain mold or fungus that can cause the potatoes to spoil. However, small and shallow cracks that have healed indicate natural cracking during the growth process. You can ignore these cracks as they’re not a sign that the potatoes have gone bad.
Potatoes can get mold if not stored properly. If the mold has only affected a small part of the potato, you can cut it off but if it has spread it’s best to discard the whole thing. Mold on a potato usually forms if there is exposure to moisture.
Storage tip: do not wash potatoes before placing them in the pantry.
Musty or soft potatoes
Old potatoes are no longer fresh and they won’t have that fresh earthy smell. This is an indication that the potatoes are spoiled. As with most vegetables, it may look perfect on the outside but rotting on the inside.
Bitter tasting potatoes
If your potatoes taste bitter it means it possibly contains a poisonous substance called solanine. You should discard such potatoes as they aren’t fit for consumption.
The color of the potatoes doesn’t matter when it comes to storage but the type of potato does. The skins of new potatoes are thin and smooth when fresh and they don’t contain any blemishes. Any kind of potato should be firm and don’t have any cuts or sprouts.
Buying Tip: It’s easier to inspect potatoes as you buy them individually instead of getting them pre-packaged.
The Best Way to Store Potatoes: at Room Temperature
- Fresh potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark, and dry place at room temperature.
- Avoid exposing the potatoes to light as light accelerates the production of solanine which makes them toxic with time.
- Store your potatoes in an open container and a place that is well ventilated but don’t put them in plastic bags.
- Refrigerating potatoes isn’t a good idea as the cold temperatures turn the start to sugars giving the potatoes a sweet taste and a darker color.
- With time your potatoes will develop eyes which are small sprouts that develop after harvesting. Get rid of them because they will spoil your potatoes.
- Don’t store your potatoes next to onions, bananas, or apples because they release ethylene gas that causes the potatoes to spoil since they ripen more quickly.
- Constantly check on your potatoes to remove the ones that are spoiled so that they don’t ruin the rest of the good ones.
Storage Tips for the Best Potatoes
- Don’t use plastic bags; even if they came from the store, transfer the potatoes to a brown paper bag
- Use a cardboard box as food storage (upcycling at it’s best!)
- Make sure air circulation is possible. i.e. leave the paper bag open
Types of Potatoes and Shelf Life Expiration
The shelf life of potatoes is dependent on two things: the type of potato and how it is prepared. For a longer shelf life, using fresh potatoes is always best, but if you freeze the prepared meal, you can help make it last for up to 8 months!
Use this chart to see how long the potato will last from pantry to freezer. Keep in mind with potatoes in a cool dark place, the pantry time could be even better than a couple of weeks.
|Russet or White Potatoes||3-5 Weeks||3-4 Months||—|
|Yukon Gold Potatoes||2-3 Weeks||2-3 Months||—|
|Red or New Potatoes||2-3 Weeks||2-3 Months||—|
|Sweet Potatoes||3-5 Weeks||2-3 Months||—|
|Sliced Potatoes / French Fries||—||1-2 Days||6-8 Months|
|Cooked Potatoes||—||5-7 Days||6-8 Months|
|Baked Potatoes||—||5-7 Days||6-8 Months|
|Mashed Potatoes||—||4-6 Days||6-8 Months|
|Instant Dry Potato Package||1 Year||4-5 Days||—|
How Long Do Potatoes Last in the Refrigerator?
Potatoes in the fridge can make them last longer but it is definitely not the recommended method. If you store potatoes in a colder environment, it leads to the creation of acrylamide (known to be harmful) and also converts the starch to sugar, changing the quality and taste.
Resist the urge to make them last longer and instead buy them in smaller increments or prepare them more often.
Preparation Method for Raw Potatoes
You can either boil, bake, roast, or fry potatoes as part of your dish or by themselves. Remember that if properly stored, they can last for about a month. But, they can easily spoil if not properly handled and stored.
Potatoes are low in calories, high in fiber and vitamin B6, and support cardiovascular health and fight cancer. If the ones you buy are very fresh, they will stay firm after cooking and not become mushy.
FAQ about how long potatoes last
Are grey potatoes safe to eat?
When you peel potatoes you expose them to air which makes them turn gray or brown. This is a harmless natural reaction that doesn’t compromise the quality of the potatoes and you can safely cook and eat them. This commonly happens when preparing hash browns or homemade french fries.
Is it safe to eat potatoes with black spots?
These are called internal black spots and are a result of bruising when lying against each other for a long period of time. The potatoes are safe to eat; just cut out the spots.
Do potatoes become poisonous?
Green potatoes and sprouts are poisonous to eat. Throw away green potatoes and cut out sprouts before eating the potatoes.
Can undercooked potatoes make you sick?
Potatoes can absorb E. coli or salmonella found in the water and soil while growing or during harvesting. Cooking potatoes helps to destroy these bacteria which can cause diarrhea, upset stomach, abdominal cramps, or fever.
Do cooked potatoes go bad?
This depends mostly on how they are stored. All cooked potatoes should be refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking and if properly stored, they will last 3-5 days in the refrigerator.