Join The Potato Craze: How Long Do Potatoes Last?
If you are anything like me, you can cook no lunch or dinner without potatoes.
They are one of the main ingredients in all my favorite dishes. Their popularity is universal!
For this reason, a good cook must find out everything there is about this precious vegetable.
In order for your kitchen to be safe, the most important thing to know is how long the potatoes can stay good as that will prevent any health risks that potatoes gone bad can bring about.
So, how long do potatoes last?
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How Long Do Potatoes Last?
Determining how long the potatoes you buy can last is no easy task as that will depend on many different factors. First of all, the shelf life of this valuable vegetable will depend on the type of potatoes you intend to store.
It is also important to know the sell-by date, which is almost impossible if you buy the potatoes from the farmer markets or local grocery stores in which case the potatoes will most probably not be pre-packed.
It is also a mission impossible to find out how the potatoes were stored prior to you buying them and taking them home. Unfortunately, if they were stored improperly, they will last shorter than they could if they were stored in a recommended way.
For the potatoes sold in the supermarkets and packed in the plastic bags, you can always easily determine the sell-by date by inspecting the package. Do know that the printed date marks the last day the potatoes should be sold, but you can consume them for longer than that. If you cannot determine the sale by date, use the date of purchase to determine how long to use the potatoes safely.
Once you bring potatoes to your home, you have to store them the best you can in order for them to last the longest they possibly can. The factors that will determine the outcome are the humidity of the climate you live in, the storage options you have at your home (pantry, cellar, fridge, freezer), and finally how you plan to store them - fresh or already cooked.
How long will different types of potatoes last?
I have made an easy-to-follow table that will help you determine how long potatoes can last according to the type of potatoes most frequently bought and used:
Type of potatoes
Russet or White Potatoes
Red or New Potatoes
Yukon Gold Potatoes
For all of these time frames to be true, you have to make sure that the minimal storage conditions are met. Most of all, the pantry needs to be cold and dark, potatoes should be spread on a hard surface, and the humidity level should be as low as possible.
When it comes to storing potatoes in the fridge, it is a somewhat easier and less demandable process, but know that low temperatures will change the structure of the starch and thus alter the taste of the potatoes (they will become sweeter).
The refrigerated potatoes tend to darken when cooked or fried too, but you can prevent it by taking potatoes out of the fridge for a week or so prior to cooking them.
How long do the already prepared potatoes last?
If you choose to prepare the potatoes before you store them, or you simply often have leftovers that you do not want to throw away, there is also a predetermined time frame within which you should use them.
Of course, you need to refrigerate any potato-based leftovers, or, if you want to store them for longer, there is an option to freeze them.
How the potatoes were prepared
The time you can keep the potatoes, or any other food, in the freezer is limited only for the purpose of retaining the quality and nutritional value; keeping the food constantly frozen at 0°F will make it safe indefinitely.
Further Reading: Can You Freeze Potato Salad? – Find the Answer Here!
How to extend the shelf life of potatoes?
The ideal storage conditions are as follows:
- The temperature: 45°F to 50°F
- Humidity level: Low
- No light
The perfect place to store potatoes at your home would be the cellar or basement. Either spread them on a hard surface or keep them in a basket or a brown paper bag. Allowing for the air circulation will be very beneficial.
It would be best to keep a ripe apple around the potatoes as it will emit the ethylene gas and thus hinder the growth of sprouts. When the potatoes do sprout, it is a sign that they are losing the valuable nutrients, but they can still be consumed safely. Making sure that the temperature is always within the desired range (i.e. low) will prevent sprouting as well.
The potatoes that are bruised or cut open should be removed from the rest as they will oxidize and go bad rather quickly. This happens when you cut the potatoes for the cooking purposes as well, but you can slow down the process by putting the potatoes into a bowl filled with salted water as soon as you cut them.
When you want to store the already prepared potatoes, it is best to use a container that can be closed tightly. In this way, moisture and all the contaminants from the air will be kept away from your potatoes.
As you have already seen from the tables I have provided, raw potatoes cannot be frozen, but once you prepare them it is a whole different story - you can freeze as you please.
The best option is to freeze the French fries, and the best way to do it is to partially cook the fries, let them cool down, pack them in the bags and place them in your freezer. I do this all the time, and my boys love such French fries as they are crispier in comparison to the ones you fry fresh.
Once you take out and open the bag from the freezer you will notice a whole lot of ice, but do not worry, it is normal as that happens due to the moisture from the potatoes that are basically 80% water.
Extra advice for using up the mashed potato left-overs
Make the potato pancakes! They are simple and tasty!
Simple isn’t it?
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How to tell when your potatoes have gone bad?
Even when you have done all the things right, and your potatoes are safely stored in ideal conditions, they will eventually go bad - that’s the natural order of things!
It is your duty to make sure that the potatoes are safe to eat and will not endanger anyone’s health before you prepare and serve them. Knowing the proper food safety techniques helps in prevention of the foodborne illness.
Bad potatoes are soft, withered, discolored and have growths through their skin.
The problem lies in the fact that potatoes are still alive when you pick them, and when in humid conditions they will use the water to form new sprouts and regenerate.
As I have already mentioned, the sprouts only diminish the nutritional value of the potatoes, but when removed, the potatoes can be eaten safely. You can re-plant the sprouted potatoes too.
If the potatoes come in contact with water and get wet, most probably the mold will grow on their skin, and you will have to throw them away. For this reason, I advise you against washing them prior to storage.
Here is the Final Tip
Always add some milk when warming up mashed potatoes!
There you have it, folks! I hope you will enjoy your potatoes as they complement almost every dish!