Some vegetables just don’t handle refrigeration all that well, and raw sweet potatoes are one of them. Instead of putting them in the fridge, you should keep them in your pantry. A cool, dark area with little moisture will help you keep this wonderful veggie fresh for months at a time, in some cases!
Sweet potatoes are a uniquely delicious root vegetable that can be prepared in an extremely wide variety of ways. As versatile as it might be when it comes to cooking, though, the sweet potato isn’t a particularly hard plant.
Namely, neither the plant nor the root can tolerate frost very well. As a crop, it’s also pretty sensitive to droughts and other extreme kinds of weather, though frost is our main consideration here, given that we preserve food mainly by refrigerating it.
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How to Store Sweet Potatoes Properly
Much like regular potatoes, sweet potatoes, too, prefer a nice, dark, and dry basement or pantry over any other form of storage. Since sweet potatoes usually have a slightly more distinct taste than their unsweetened counterparts, the last thing we want is for it to dissipate due to poor storage conditions.
Ideally, you’d want your supply of sweet potatoes to be kept at the temperature of about 55°F (13°C) for maximum effect. Keep them away from strong sources of heat, and preferably
Some experts go a step further and recommend keeping the roots attached to the ‘taters to keep them as fresh as possible for as long as possible. This isn’t a bad idea, to be sure, but you’re highly unlikely to be able to do so with store-bought potatoes, as the roots are usually trimmed off before reaching the store shelves.
As those of you who’ve kept a supply of potatoes already will know, this particular veggie is prone to budding or sprouting. Not a cause for alarm by any stretch, mind. You can just tear the sprouts off and use your sweet potatoes as you normally would.
What Happens To Refrigerated Sweet Potatoes?
Sweet potatoes are a very starchy vegetable, and as we said before, they handle frost and low temperatures in general rather poorly. If you get your batch of sweet potatoes refrigerated, expect them to lose their flavor and become firmer and harder to cut through.
Something similar happens to regular potatoes, too, it’s just that they’re more neutral in taste, making the problem far less prominent than it is with sweet potatoes, as they are far more susceptible to chilling injuries.
Should I Cure Sweet Potatoes, Instead?
Instead of refrigerating sweet potatoes, you should try to cure them! This will not only keep their unique flavor intact, but improve it even further, making them an even more delicious treat when the process is over.
Curing sweet potatoes takes one or two weeks’ worth of time, so it’s not a huge amount of work overall. Here’s how to kickstart the process:
- Prepare a room with the relative humidity of about 90%, where the temperature sits around 75°F (25 – 26°C)
- Spread your spuds so that they’re not touching each other
- Direct a small electric ventilator towards the spuds to prevent mold formation and rot
- Wait for 7-14 days, regularly monitoring the potatoes for bruising
Your sweet potatoes will have been cured once they’ve formed a thick, hardened crust. Be sure to throw away the spuds that bruise along the way, as they’re unsafe for consumption.
Cured sweet potatoes can last for up to a whole year!
Can Cooked Sweet Potatoes Be Refrigerated?
If you’ve got some leftover ‘tato goodies that you just don’t want to throw away, you should refrigerate the food to keep it edible for as long as possible. Use a plastic container (like this one)or a Ziploc bag from a reliable manufacturer to get the best results.
How Long Can Sweet Potatoes be Safely Stored?
If you’re keeping a batch of raw sweet potatoes in your pantry, as we described above, they should last a good long while – up to a couple of months, depending on the exact conditions.
Now, it’s good to keep in mind that sweet potatoes will stay reasonably fresh for even longer stretches of time if you refrigerate them, though you obviously lose out in the taste and quality departments, respectively.
How Do I Know If My Sweet Potatoes Have Already Expired?
Naturally, if your sweet potatoes are growing mold or leaking strange fluids all over the place – do not eat them. Just throw them away, and get a new batch, because it’s not worth the trouble.
In less extreme cases, look for dark spots and suspicious smells. If your spuds are oddly soft and mushy to the touch, you can count on them being past their prime, too.
Popular Sweet Potato Storage Mistakes!
It’s not particularly easy to do something wrong with potatoes, all things considered, but one mistake we’ve seen recommended many times over was to put a couple of apples in whatever container you might be using to keep your spuds safe and sound.
While the studies on the effects of ethylene and sprouting are still strangely conflicting, in our experience, apples have the opposite effect on ‘taters. They’ve promoted fast sprouting more often than not. Keep them and any other ethylene-emitting fruit/vegetable (such as onions, for example) well away from sweet potatoes.
An interesting trick we’ve seen some people use is to mix small pieces of charcoal among the spuds. This might work, but your mileage may vary.
Store Sweet Potatoes to Keep Them Fresh
Keeping sweet potatoes stored for a long while isn’t particularly difficult. With a variety of different options at hand, even if you don’t have access to a dry and dark pantry, you should be able to work something out.
As always, it’s best if you can munch on those delicious spuds while they’re actually, genuinely fresh. Provided that you don’t freeze all the flavor out of them by throwing them in the fridge, though, you can keep them for significantly longer stretches of time than you may have thought.