From French fries to mashed, everyone loves potatoes. They are among the super versatile foods that are available throughout the year and can be prepared in a variety of ways. Most of us store potatoes in the pantry believing that they will last longer, but the shelf life depends on different factors.
This makes us question “how long do potatoes last in the pantry?’ The simplest answer to this is about 3 – 5 weeks, which again is reliant on storage conditions. So now that you have an answer to your question, let’s explore different ways to extend potatoes’ shelf life. Read on to know when potatoes go bad and what to do with sprouted potatoes.
How long do potatoes last at room temperature?
The make-or-break formula for giving your potatoes a longer life depends on how you store them. Even when raw potatoes are plucked from the vine, they still develop and grow where you store them with other potatoes.
Several environmental conditions also affect the quality, appearance, texture, and flavor of potatoes, plus in many conditions, potatoes can go bad naturally or become inedible over time.
Idaho Potato Commission suggested that you can actually store potatoes for almost a year in controlled storage. But unfortunately, we don’t have such facilities in our homes.
Shelf life of raw potatoes
- White potatoes/Russet: This type can last for five months if stored in ideal conditions.
- New potatoes/ red potatoes/fingerling/Yukon gold: These varieties have a shorter life span, though if they are stored in a temperature-controlled environment, they can stay edible right up to three months.
- Sliced raw potatoes/prepared: If submerged in ice water and stored in the refrigerator with the careful packaging, raw prepared potatoes can be stored for 24 hours.
- Cupboard storage: You may use your potatoes for 8-12 days if they are put in a warmer area of your pantry or shelf. After that time, they may start to sprout.
- Countertop Storage: Potatoes and all their varieties will remain edible for 1 to 2 weeks if they are stored on the countertops.
- Fridge storage: They can easily be stored in the fridge for up to three to four weeks if you don’t have any cool area to store them in your pantry. But they may lose their taste and quality over these three weeks.
- Freezer storage: The transformations can be more dramatic if you keep raw potatoes in the freezer. That’s why it is not recommended at all to freeze them.
- Cooked potatoes: Depending upon how they are cooked, you can easily store cooked potatoes in the freezer and fridge for up to a week. If stored properly they can stretch their lives up to one or several months.
How long do potatoes last in the fridge?
It is not recommended at all to keep raw potatoes in the fridge as the taste and quality of raw potatoes can go bad. You must find a cool place in your home if you don’t have a ventilated area in your pantry.
The reason why potatoes go bad in the fridge is that the cool temperatures affect quickly the starch content of the potatoes and turn it into sugar more rapidly than anything, leaving potatoes with a change in texture and a much sweeter taste.
If stored in moderate temperatures in the fridge, potatoes can last up to a month before losing the natural nutrients and flavor that make them delicious.
Whereas, if you want your cooked potatoes to last longer, you have to keep them in a sealed container. It is also recommended to consume the cooked and refrigerated potatoes within a week to enjoy the great taste of potatoes because once the cooked potatoes go into the freezer, their taste gets affected.
How to tell if potatoes are bad?
A potato undergoes many internal changes before it goes bad, like color change and sprouting. The changes don’t really mean that potatoes are decaying, but indicate that the quality of potatoes begins to degrade. Let’s talk about the changes that indicate that the potato is unpalatable and see what other transformations a potato goes through.
Here’s something that you should look for:
If potatoes are exposed to moisture, they grow mold. That’s why it’s not recommended at all to wash potatoes before storing them. If you encounter any change in color, you better cut that part before keeping it with the other potatoes.
Once the prime period is over, potatoes become wrinkly. Once these indications begin to appear, you should start discarding those potatoes as they are no longer edible.
Old potatoes would not have that fresh smell that comes from the raw potatoes, which indicates that they are healthy to eat. The musty and unpleasant smell is a sign that tells you the potatoes are not edible anymore.
Sprouted potatoes – are they edible?
We have already established that potatoes continue to grow even after they are plucked up from the vines. The sprouted potatoes are one of the examples that support the statement. Because potatoes are alive, the sprouts continue to grow until they are put into stasis storage or in hibernation.
Sprouting depends on the temperature as well. If they are put together at a warmer temperature, they will grow rapidly. But that’s not something that you should worry about as they are still safe to eat – unless you intentionally cut and dispose of the sprouts.
However, sprouting occurs due to the aging of potatoes, so they may not taste as delicious as fresh potatoes, but they are edible. It is also suggested to use sprouted potatoes within a week because after a week, the aging will lead potatoes to grow mold, have wrinkles, and they may also start smelling musty.
Are green tinge potatoes edible?
A green tinge is not something that spoils potatoes. It happens when potatoes are exposed to artificial or natural light because of the chlorophyll that grows within the skin. Many other varieties of potatoes develop a purple tinge when exposed to light.
Green-skinned potatoes are safe to consume – their skin may taste bitter than the usual ones, so better not eat it. Peel the greener part of the skin or cut the potato if the color penetrates underneath, and enjoy the rest.
Are soft potatoes edible?
Raw edible potatoes are good to eat when they are crisp and tender. If you see your potatoes have gotten soft and they are squeezed easily, then consider it as a sign of decay. If they are soft, then you should consume them as early as you can as hash browns or by boiling them.
Keeping potatoes safe at home
To keep potatoes safe and fresh for a longer period, the goal is to put them into a hibernation process to stop or delay their growth. For this, you have to create an environment for them. The important elements for creating a hibernating environment for potatoes are light, humidity, and temperature.
Potato experts at Idaho Potato Commission stated that the perfect temperature for hibernating potatoes is from 42 to 45 Fahrenheit. They also mentioned humidity as an important factor, which should be around 95% as well.
It may not be possible to create such an environment at home, so you should look for a darker and slightly cooler area than your pantry for potato storage.
Potatoes are alive at this stage, so they need to breathe. Avoid storing them in plastic bags or sealed containers. The best option to store them in a mesh bag, basket, paper bag, or cardboard box.
With regards to cooked potatoes, they should be stored in air-tight containers in the refrigerator.
Can you freeze potatoes?
Technically, raw potatoes can be frozen and they will last for a long time. This is because freezing stops the process of growing and halts the changes that may occur with aging. But you can only use them for the recipes that demand mashed potatoes, as they become useless for any other purpose after freezing.
However, cooked potatoes can be frozen easily in an air-tight container or sealed bags as French fries and hash browns. But for getting the best quality and taste, it is recommended that they should be used within the period of two months.
The shelf life of the potatoes can be increased by adhering to the following conditions:
- The room temperature should be between 42- 45 Fahrenheit
- Refrigerator temperature should remain under 40℉
- Frozen raw potatoes can be stored for an indefinite time but can only be used for mashed recipes.
- Frozen cooked potatoes that are stored in sealed containers should be consumed within two months.
- For hibernation, three factors including temperature, humidity, and light are important.
- Green-tinged and sprouted potatoes are edible.