Let’s face the fact that potatoes are a staple of our diet and we like it very much irrespective of our tastes. Potatoes are the cheapest nutrition option for every household and larger the family the bigger stock of potatoes is found in the kitchen.
So the question that bothers everyone and you also is exactly how long the potatoes remain good or how long do potatoes last?
- How Long Do Potatoes Last
- Can Potatoes Go Bad?
- How Bad Can the Potatoes Go?
- How long can the potatoes be consumed after they have started going bad?
- Store Your Potatoes the Right Way
- Additional Tips for Enhancing the Preservation of The Potatoes
How Long Do Potatoes Last
The answer is not simple as the longevity of a potato depends highly on its type and preservation technique, but if you are looking for an average measure, then we can say that a potato lasts for 1 to 2 weeks.
To be more precise, different potatoes have different shelf lives under different conditions. The various conditions are:
- Stored in the freezer – 10 to 12 months (but not recommended as the freshness is lost).
- Stored in the pantry – 1 to 2 weeks at normal room temperature. (recommended as the potatoes remain fresh).
- Stored in the refrigerator – 3 to 4 weeks (turns the starch into sugar).
Can Potatoes Go Bad?
Since potatoes are so frequently consumed that the question of them going bad remains at the back of our minds. Alas, like other common vegetables and food items, the potatoes go bad too. And in some cases, they can go very bad.
As we said earlier, the potatoes are an important part of the daily diet of people from all over the world. And hardly a single day goes by when you don’t have potatoes in some form.
So, the potatoes going bad is a very serious problem since we tend to do the monthly or weekly grocery shopping together at a time.
How Bad Can the Potatoes Go?
The potatoes going bad is not a localized problem and it also affects the other vegetables with which it’s stored. So, if we do not identify the bad potatoes and separate them from the other vegetables they might also go bad and our losses will be increased.
Despite having a relatively lower shelf life and going bad pretty soon, the potatoes are still fit for consumption for a certain period after it has started going bad.
You can just skim off the outer bad portions and eat the rest of it, but it’s highly recommended that you discard a bad potato immediately and also separate it from other vegetables of yours.
How long can the potatoes be consumed after they have started going bad?
The potatoes of any kind have a certain amount of time before they can be surely discarded as unfit for eating. Some of the basic pointers for ensuring that the potatoes can still be eaten even after they have started going bad are given below.
- The first sign of the potatoes going bad is the appearance of eyes on them and beginning to grow sprouts.
- Don’t worry, the potatoes can still be consumed, just cut off the eyes and sprouts. But make sure that there has been no spreading to the insides of the potato.
- It’s important to remember that the appearance of sprouts is not harmful to the potatoes or it isn’t what makes the potato unfit for eating.
- The main problem is that how long we allowed the sprouts to grow. The longer the sprouts become, the more unfit it becomes for eating.
- The main reason behind the prolonged growth of sprouts on the potatoes is unhealthy storage conditions.
- Sometimes your potatoes may look perfectly fine without any eyes or sprouts growing from them, but they might feel a little less firm and also start to appear wrinkly.
- These are the signs telling you to consume the potatoes as soon as possible as they will go very bad soon enough.
- You can consume soft and wrinkly potatoes. The quality of food made from them may not be of very high quality, but they have no potential harm in eating.
- They can be a little difficult to peel and would go well for mashed dishes instead of fries. However, you have to notice if they have started shriveling.
- If they have, then it’s a sign that the potatoes have started losing their moisture and there can be no excuse about this and they have to be discarded.
- This is another common dilemma, whether it’s safe to consume potatoes with a green tinge on them. This raises questions about solanine poisoning.
- But contrary to popular belief, the potatoes with a green tinge on them are perfectly safe for consumption, you just need to peel off the green portion and you are good to go.
- If you are still not satisfied, then the answer to your question is, the green tinge is a result of exposure to sunlight and nothing else.
- Instead, the concentration of solanine is the least in the tubers.
- If you bought some potatoes and notice some green tinge starting to form which wasn’t there when you bought them then it’s nothing but an indication that you are not storing them in the right place. Just reduce the exposure to light and you are good to go.
- It’s important to keep a regular check on the potatoes you have and separate the bad ones from the good ones. The bacteria spread very fast and one bad potato may rot the entire stock you have. This is the best way to improve the storage of potatoes and delay them from going bad.
Store Your Potatoes the Right Way
The best way to extend the shelf life of not only potatoes, but also any other vegetable or fruits is to optimize the storage techniques and keep them fresh for as long as possible.
Given below are some basic pointers for people who are worried about storing their potatoes the right way. Following the given tips can be very helpful for extending the shelf life of your potatoes.
Inspect the Potatoes Regularly
We are always very busy with our daily chores and forgetting to regularly check our groceries is a common mistake we all do.
But, if you want to ensure that the potatoes, or any other vegetable for that matter, stay fresh for longer then it’s recommended that you check them regularly. For potatoes, it’s important to check for sprouts, pest infestation or any other abnormal spots or any kind of damage.
If you see any kind of signs that indicate that the potatoes have gone bad or are starting to go bad then you should immediately separate it from other vegetables to ensure that they are not damaged as well.
Place the Potatoes with Sufficient Ventilation
This one again goes for other vegetables as well. Wherever you store the potatoes the place must have proper ventilation systems to ensure that they remain fresh for a longer period.
If there is no proper ventilation then the potatoes start to develop molds on its skin and spots that may cause it to go bad. But take care that there should be not so much air that the potato starts losing its moisture and starts to shrivel.
You can consume potatoes with some molds and spots, but it’s very harmful to consume shriveled potatoes.
It’s best to store the potatoes in a paper or cardboard bag. You can also keep them in a basket, but never keep them in plastic bags as they do not allow enough room for breathing.
If you bought them in a plastic bag, then it’s advised to remove them from it as storing them in plastic bags considerably reduces their shelf life.
Store Under Proper Conditions
It’s important to determine the right place for storing your potatoes as the right storage conditions are very helpful for prolonging the shelf life of the potatoes.
The best conditions to store your potatoes are in a cool, humid and dark place. Make sure that the room has enough room for the breathing of the containers.
The most vital thing is to make sure that the potatoes are not exposed to sunlight as they help the growth of sprouts and more the sprouts, higher is the toxicity of the potatoes.
An insulated basement or garage is the perfect place to store your potatoes, but never store them in the fridge. When stored in a fridge, the extreme cold temperature turns the starch in the potatoes into sugar and reduces their shelf life.
Remove Any Potato That Has Gone Bad
This is an echo of the first tip. It’s very important to regularly check for any signs of damage in the potatoes to ensure that you do not consume one by mistake.
So it’s necessary to identify the ones that have already gone bad and the ones that have just started to go bad.
The bad ones have to be discarded immediately, there is no getting around that. However, if you identify some potatoes that have just started to go bad then you can still consume it.
Like sometimes potatoes may develop eyes or sprouts growing from them but you can still safely consume them, you just need to remove the harmful parts, i.e., the eyes and the sprouts.
However, if the sprouts have grown too much, then it’s recommended that you discard them immediately.
Additional Tips for Enhancing the Preservation of The Potatoes
The above-mentioned tips are some basic pointers that you can use while storing your potatoes. Apart from them, there are tonnes of other factors that help in the storage of potatoes and they all differ depending on the geographical conditions.
So what works for someone in China might not work for someone in the U.S. and vice versa. So, to help you out there are some additional tips that can help you to store your potatoes for a longer period.
- Never wash the potatoes until you are ready to use them. I know, this sounds weird, but it’s a fact. The soil and dust on the potatoes go a long way in delaying the rotting process.
- You can clean them a little, but it’s advised to keep the little amount of soil and dust on them until the moment you are putting them in to cook.
- This can exponentially increase the shelf life of the potatoes and also keep them fresh longer.
- Some people also cultivate their potatoes. If you are one of them, then you must let them rest in the open for a while.
- This is done so that the potatoes get time to heal itself from the wounds it has received while being harvested. While harvesting the potatoes, they might receive damage from the tools that are being used by the cultivator.
- Allowing them to rest in the open helps them in healing themselves. This is important since the wounds are a key factor in the drying of the potatoes and then going bad.
- There is a large variety of potatoes and to be honest, not much difference is there in their cooking.
- Some potatoes are simply more suitable for storing for a longer time compared to other varieties.
- So if you are unable to go through any of the above-mentioned steps for storing the potatoes, it’s recommended that you pick out the ones that are known to last longer than the others.
- Some potatoes are just too bad for long term storage.
- Such potatoes are best if consumed quickly or removed from the good ones.
- Check them regularly for any abnormalities and just sort them out from the fresh ones as the fresh ones are suitable for long term storage and keeping them with the bad ones can reduce their shelf life as well.
As we all agreed at the start that potatoes are an important part of our daily diet and we all are bound to buy some in our groceries.
So it’s important to know how to store them well so that you don’t have to eat bad potatoes and suffer from solanine toxicity or the other slew of side effects that may occur.
You can just try out the above tips and preserve your potatoes for a long time and also keep them fresh.