Do Potatoes Go Bad?

Potatoes are a great shelf-stable vegetable that can last a long time, but since you can’t remember when you bought the ones you have you’re probably wondering if potatoes go bad.  Let’s find out.

Quick Answer

Potatoes have a long shelf life, but how you store your potatoes determines how long they last.  If stored in a cool, dark place away from other vegetables, your potatoes should last several months.  If potatoes are refrigerated, however, they will only last about 3-4 weeks.

Knowing how each storage option affects your potatoes will help you keep your potatoes for as long as possible.

Do Potatoes Go Bad? How Long Do Potatoes Last?

Potatoes, like any vegetable, do not last forever.  How you store your potato determines how long it will last. Depending on how you decide to store your potatoes, they will be good for either a few weeks or for several months.

How Long Do Potatoes Last Outside?

Potatoes are a vegetable and no vegetable can last forever.  If you store your potatoes properly, however, your potatoes can stay fresh for several months.

Dark Storage:  Basements provide the best storage for potatoes as they are cool and dark.  The more light and the warmer the air around a potato, the shorter amount of time it will last.

Storage in an Open Area:  Potatoes are best stored in an uncovered bowl, an open bin, or a paper bag.  This type of storage will allow air to circulate and keep moisture from accumulating around the potatoes. Moisture will cause the potatoes to spoil faster.

Store Separately From Other Vegetables:   Potatoes should also be kept separate from other vegetables so the gases from the other vegetables don’t affect the potatoes.  Those gases could cause the potatoes to spoil sooner.

How Long Do Potatoes Last in the Fridge?

Potatoes can be stored in the refrigerator, but they won’t stay fresh nearly as long as those stored in a basement.  Refrigerated potatoes will only stay fresh for 3-4 weeks.

Store Potatoes Uncovered:  Potatoes will last as long as possible if they are stored in an open container or mesh bag.  Moisture can form around potatoes so it’s important not to store potatoes in plastic packaging or any other enclosed container.

Separate Potatoes From Other Vegetables:  When refrigerating potatoes, be sure to keep them separate from other fruits and vegetables, especially onions and apples, as the gases from each can cause sprouts to form on the potatoes.

How Long Do Potatoes Last in the Freezer?

Raw potatoes do not freeze well due to their high water content.  Frozen raw potatoes can change color, become watery and grainy, and change in taste as well.

Partially or Completely Cooked Potatoes Can Be Frozen:  While raw potatoes don’t freeze well, partially or completely cooked and cooled potatoes can be safely frozen.  For the best results, consult your recipe for further instructions on proper freezing and how long your item can safely stay in the freezer.

Remove As Much Air As Possible:  As with all items to be stored in the freezer, you will want to be sure that as much air is out of the container to be frozen as possible to help your potato dish last as long as possible. Most partially or completely cooked potato dishes can be safely frozen for a few months.

By storing your potatoes in a cool, dark place, such as a basement, and ensuring that air can circulate around your potatoes, they should stay fresh for several months.

How to Tell if Potatoes are Bad? / How To Know if Potatoes are Fresh?

Potatoes can last a long time, but eating a spoiled potato can make you sick so it’s important to be able to tell if your potato is fresh or not.

Bad Potatoes Are Obviously Bad:  Potatoes have spoiled and are bad if they are shrunken, have black spots or bruises, or smell moldy.  Eating bad potatoes can make you sick so it’s important to throw out potatoes that have spoiled.  If one potato goes bad be sure to check all of the other potatoes in the storage bin as one bad potato can affect the others around it. Sprouts or eyes, the places where sprouts once were, do not necessarily mean a potato is bad, but the sprouts and eyes should be few.  Remove and throw away all sprouts and eyes before eating the remaining potato.  Sprouts should never be eaten as they are harmful.

Fresh Potatoes Are Obviously Fresh:  Fresh potatoes are consistently firm, are one predominant color, and have only an earthy odor.  Sprouts and eyes can occur on potatoes that are fresh and safe to eat, but they should be removed and thrown away before eating the remaining potato.    Check your potatoes carefully to ensure the whole potato is good before using it.  If you have any doubt as to the freshness of your potato, throw it out.

Be careful to only eat potatoes that are fresh and check all potatoes carefully to help your supply last as long as possible.

How to Store Potatoes?

Proper storage of your potatoes will ensure they stay fresh for several months, which will save you money.

Store Potatoes in a Cool, Dark Place: The best way to store potatoes is to keep them in a dry, dark place such as a basement.  Exposing your potatoes to light and warmer, damper air will cause them to spoil faster.

Make Sure Air Can Circulate:  Potatoes should be stored uncovered in a bowl, an open bin, or in a paper bag so air can circulate around them.  Potatoes are primarily made of water and if they are kept in an enclosed area, even a closed plastic bag with holes in it, condensation can form causing the potatoes to spoil faster than they otherwise would.

Once One Potato Spoils, Check The Others:  If one potato in your bin or bowl has spoiled, carefully check the other potatoes around it as they too may have spoiled.  One spoiled potato can affect the others near it so it’s important to remove potatoes as they spoil from the storage area.

Separate Potatoes From Other Vegetables:  Potatoes are best kept in the open container by themselves, but other vegetables can be separately stored nearby.  The gases from some vegetables, such as onions, can make potatoes spoil quicker but by ensuring air circulation around the vegetables this potential problem will be minimized.

Keeping your potatoes as fresh as possible for as long as possible is a great money and time-saving tip.  If you follow these instructions, you will always have fresh potatoes on hand and ready to use.

Can You Freeze Potatoes? How? Why?

Raw potatoes, due to their high water content, do not freeze well.  When frozen, raw potatoes can change in color and can become watery and grainy.

Freeze Potatoes That Are Partially or Fully Cooked:  Although raw potatoes do not freeze well, partially and fully cooked potatoes do freeze well.  In order to freeze partially or fully cooked potatoes, you should follow your recipe carefully, and then completely cool the potatoes.

Store Frozen Cooked Potatoes Removing As Much Air As Possible:  When storing your partially or fully cooked potatoes, remove as much air as possible from the container before freezing.  This will keep your frozen potatoes as fresh as possible.  With proper storage, your frozen potatoes should be good for at least a few months.

Are Potatoes That Are Green or Sprouted Safe to Eat?

Green spots and sprouts occur on potatoes naturally.  If there are only minimal amounts of each on a potato, once removed the potato can be safely eaten.

Remove Minimal Green Spots and Sprouts:  Minimal green spots can be cut or peeled away and the remaining potato is safe to eat.  Potatoes with a few sprouts are also safe to eat once the sprouts are removed and thrown away.

Potatoes With a Lot of Green Spots or Sprouts Should be Thrown Away:  Potatoes that are predominantly green or have a lot of sprouts should be thrown away.  If there is a lot of greening or a lot of sprouts the potato is either spoiled or is very near spoiling and it should be thrown away.  It’s also wise to check the other potatoes in the storage area as one bad potato usually impacts the other nearby potatoes and could cause them to spoil as well.

Minimal greening and limited sprouts don’t mean your potato is bad, but they should be removed before eating the potato.  If your potato contains a lot of greening or several sprouts it is best to throw that potato away.

Wrap Up

Now you should only have potatoes that are safe to eat left in your storage area.  Comment below and let us know how long you have been able to safely keep your potatoes.

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