If you have everything ready for lunch, the vegetables, the meat, your salad maker and dishes are also at hand, all you need to do is check if you still have some potatoes left. And as you prepare to take them out of the bag, you start asking yourself – ‘how long do potatoes last?’ We are here to answer this question, along with others related to how potatoes should be stored properly. Read on and find out how long you can store potatoes for and what the ideal storage place looks like.
How long are potatoes stored in supermarkets?
This is a very good question if you are worried that you might have kept those potatoes for too long and you can no longer make good use of them. Any products you buy from the supermarket have previously been stored in a deposit, for a certain amount of time, so you should keep that in mind when you consider the durability of perishable goods.
Nonetheless, to the delight of consumers and sellers, potatoes are one of the exceptional natural products that can be stored in the long term. If they are kept in proper storage conditions, potatoes can last anywhere between several weeks and several months.
How long do potatoes last based on how they are stored?
There are multiple factors that influence potatoes’ lifespan. One of the most significant ones is whether you want to preserve them uncooked or cooked. The latter don’t last long, just like any other cooked meal.
If you’ve fried or boiled potatoes or prepared any meal that contains this ingredient in any form, you should not keep them in the refrigerator for further consumption for more than 4 days. If you don’t put them in the refrigerator, you should eat them right after they were cooked or no more than several hours afterward, if kept at room temperature. The warmer the temperature is, the easier the food will go bad.
It is also possible to keep cooked potatoes in the long term if you freeze them. In case you put them in a freezer, the potatoes should be able to last up to a year. However, when you eat them, you will realize that the taste is nowhere near the one of the freshly prepared dish.
In case you’re preparing to cook potatoes and you cut and stored them in water beforehand, you should not let them stay there for more than 24 hours.
If stored in good conditions, at home, or in supermarkets, raw potatoes should last for about three months if they are kept at cool temperatures of around 50°F (10°C). If the space where they are stored is at room temperature, their shelf life is shorter.
How long do potatoes last based on their variety?
This is a very good question as there are various types of potatoes and their lifespan varies accordingly.
After you bought potatoes from the supermarket, you can preserve most varieties for several months past their sale date, provided that you have a proper storage place, which we will describe in detail further below.
Some of the most common potato varieties that store well at low temperatures in the long term are Cal White, Red Gold, Russet varieties, and Defender. If you don’t have a proper storage place for your potatoes and you live in a warm climate area, here are some varieties that last for long even at warm temperatures: Viking Purple, Red LaSoda, and Yellow Finn.
How to store potatoes correctly
There are several criteria a proper storage place for potatoes should meet. The general requirements include a dark, cold, and well-ventilated space. You might not be able to provide these conditions if you live in an apartment, but if you have a house with a basement or cellar, that is the best place to keep your potatoes.
If you have a plastic box with holes in it or another type of uncovered box, you can safely use it to keep your potatoes inside. If you don’t have one and the most practical solution you can find is to put the potatoes in a bag and hang it, choose bags that are not made of plastic as these will enhance condensation and promote mold. The only plastic bags that are suitable are the original ones, with holes, in which potatoes are sold.
Pantries are also not a good option for potatoes because they can promote sprouting and dehydration which means you can’t store your potatoes there for too long. Another rule to store potatoes safely is to keep them away from sunlight. If they get exposed to the sun, they will turn green, their taste will become bitter, and they might even have harmful health effects.
Furthermore, it is worth remembering that, although potatoes like cold temperatures, keeping them in the fridge is not a good idea. Fridge temperatures are too low, and this will make potatoes taste sweeter and turn dark when you cook them. An ideal temperature for storing potatoes is around 44-50 °F (7-10°C); anything beneath this interval or significantly higher temperatures can harm them and shorten their lifespan.
If you are storing mature potatoes, you can keep them for several weeks in proper storage. However, it is recommended to consume them after 8 weeks maximum. In case you’ve bought new potatoes, those should be eaten within a few days because they don’t last that long. The same applies to sweet potatoes which maintain their properties only for about 7 days.
How do you know that the potatoes have gone bad?
There are multiple signs to watch out for before you buy or cook potatoes that might have gone bad. In case you are buying raw potatoes, only choose those specimens that feel firm when you touch them. Also, take a close look at their skin; it should be tight, with no ‘wrinkles’.
Avoid those potatoes that have many bruises, marks, spots, or blemishes of any kind as this is the obvious sign that they are either affected by disease or that they have gone bad. In any case, they are not safe to eat.
Another common sign to take into account is how soft the potatoes feel. If they are mushy, you should not have second thoughts about getting rid of them. Grabbing each potato firmly to see how it feels, is the easiest way of making sure you only cook those that are still good.
The smell is also a good feature to consider. Potatoes have a typical smell that somehow resembles that of the earth. Many people feel this smell differently and associate it with different things; however, if your potatoes start having a strong unpleasant moldy smell, they should be in the garbage and not on your table.
Always throw away those potatoes that have gone bad and that meet one of the criteria above. If you let them in the same box or bag with the rest of the healthy specimens, you risk letting them contaminate and ruin all your supply.
Moreover, another common sign to take into account when choosing the potatoes you want to buy or cook are sprouts. If potatoes have them, this shows that they are about to go bad in the near future. However, if the sprouts have just started growing, and they are not very long, you can safely remove them and eat the potatoes.
One good reason why you shouldn’t eat the sprouts (besides their unattractive aspect), is that they contain toxins such as solanine which can cause digestive issues and several other health problems.
When taking into account cooked potatoes, it might be more difficult to figure out if they have gone bad, unless the aspect of the food has clearly deteriorated and it contains mold, for example. The smell can also help you understand when the potatoes have gone bad as they will start having an unpleasant strong odor.
Once cooked potatoes are no longer good for consumption, you should throw them away as they develop bacteria that can be harmful.
Potatoes are nourishing and quite tasty. There are countless ways to cook them and you can easily prepare a delicious potatoes-based meal in a few minutes. To enjoy their qualities and make sure they are suitable for consumption, store them in a suitable place for as long as it is recommended.