There are a few ways to extend the shelf life of cut sweet potatoes since they are prone to spoilage. Cut sweet potatoes can be stored in plastic bags, airtight containers, or frozen for long-term use. Other long-term storage methods include dehydrating leftover potatoes or canning them. Discover how to store cut sweet potatoes, how long they last, and some great long-term storage methods below!
Why Storing Cut Potatoes Is A Challenge
Whole sweet potatoes can be stored in a root cellar for several months, extending their shelf life.
Sweet potatoes lose ten times their shelf life once they are cut or peeled.
What causes this to happen?
The starch content in sweet potatoes makes them susceptible to quality changes, just like regular raw potatoes.
Sweet potatoes can be stored over the counter for 2-3 weeks and in a root cellar for up to 6 months.
Their shelf life is highly dependent on ambient temperatures, humidity, and sun exposure – but their skin protects them from the harsh environment.
A sweet potato’s skin prevents it from undergoing chemical changes, keeping it from going bad within a few hours.
Oxidation is the process by which starch undergoes chemical changes when exposed to oxygen.
The oxidized starch of sweet potatoes changes color and becomes dull, gray, or even black. While this doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve gone bad, it does impact their freshness and flavor a bit.
Browning is primarily caused by a chemical called polyphenol oxidase, which is abundant on potatoes’ superficial layer.
Sweet potatoes oxidize between 30 and 40 minutes after they are cut, so you are literally setting a timer when you cut them.
The idea of storing potatoes in the fridge might seem great, and you’d be right – but there are a few things to keep in mind.
While a refrigerator slows down the natural processes in food, which increases its shelf life, it also contributes to dehydration.
Whenever cool air circulates around food, it wicks up moisture and dries it from the inside out, ruining its natural flavor and texture.
There’s a conundrum when it comes to storing cut sweet potatoes: you can’t store them outside because they’ll oxidize, and you can’t keep them in the fridge because it’ll dry them out.
Storing Sweet Potatoes In The Fridge
You can solve two problems with one solution by adding water!
As a result of a lack of oxygen, submerging the cut sweet potatoes in water will prevent them from dehydrating.
It is important to note that this method is usually only suitable for fully peeled and cut raw potatoes. Peeled sweet potatoes will last approximately 3-4 days using this method.
Cooking the leftover cut potatoes before storing will increase their moisture content – and further submerging them will ruin their delicate texture.
Cut sweet potatoes can be stored in a variety of ways, as outlined below:
Cut And Peeled Sweet Potatoes
Ensure that all the cubes are placed in an appropriately sized container once the potatoes have been peeled and cut into small cubes.
Ensure the sweet potatoes are fully submerged in cold water. The deeper they are submerged, the longer they will last.
Cold water keeps the potatoes from absorbing excess moisture and keeps their texture intact. Avoid salting the water since it may encourage the potatoes to soak.
You should store the cut sweet potatoes in the back of the refrigerator and leave them undisturbed. They will last about 2-4 days, but for the best taste and texture, we recommend eating them within 24 hours.
The potatoes should never be left half submerged because there is still a chance that they could sprout, even in a cold environment. Fully submerging them (up to 90%) will prevent them from going bad and sprouting.
It is not an indication of spoilage, but sprouting may make potatoes look odd and may change their texture.
Cut And UNpeeled Sweet Potatoes
Since half-cut sweet potatoes have a limited area exposed, you can experiment with a few different strategies to prolong their shelf life.
In addition to cooked and peeled potatoes, both of these methods are also applicable!
Method 1: Airtight Containers
You can store cut sweet potatoes quickly by moving them into an airtight container. The container will prevent excess air from entering the sweet potatoes and may even slow down the process of dehydration.
If you use this method, the sweet potatoes should last around 4-5 days after cutting. Do not wash the potatoes after cutting. Just keep them as they are after slicing for maximum freshness.
Method 2: Plastic Wrap
Plastic wrap is another great way to store cut (but unpeeled) sweet potatoes without taking up extra space.
With this method, you can store cut sweet potatoes without using an airtight container or taking up fridge space.
Make sure you start wrapping from the cut side of the sweet potato, then fully cover the entire potato. Use a rubber band to secure the wrap to the sweet potato and store it in the refrigerator.
This method will keep the potato fresh for about 3-4 days.
Freezing Sweet Potatoes
Similarly to refrigeration, freezing sweet potatoes increases their shelf life and preserves their freshness.
Sweet potatoes can be frozen in the following ways:
Cut or whole sweet potatoes can be frozen in a freezer-safe plastic bag or wrapped in foil.
Keeping sweet potatoes at 0°F and leaving them undisturbed for 6 months will help them last.
Before using the potatoes, place them in the fridge and let them thaw overnight. You can also defrost them in the microwave using the thaw setting.
When moving potatoes into a freezer-safe bag or tin foil, never wash them as this may lead to freezer burn. Always dust the potatoes off with a dry cloth first.
To get the most out of this method, you should use a no-frost refrigerator that discourages multiple layers of ice crystals.
Alternative Methods For Storing Cut Sweet Potatoes
In addition to the traditional methods we discussed in the previous section, there are many other techniques that can be used to increase the shelf life of cut sweet potatoes.
It may be difficult to begin canning, but once you get in the habit of canning food, you’ll discover new ways to store food without refrigeration.
When you want to add flavor to food and extend its shelf life, canning can be a great option. Cut sweet potatoes can be canned using different canning techniques to increase their shelf life by up to 8-12 months.
Watch this video to learn how to can sweet potatoes:
Sweet potatoes can also be stored in a dehydrator if you already own one!
Basically, dehydration removes moisture from food, which inhibits microbial growth and stiffens rotting.
When you want to use sweet potatoes in different recipes, this method is great. For example, you can make healthy chips from dehydrated sweet potatoes.
For the best results, slice the sweet potatoes into thin slices, dehydrate them, and store them in an airtight container for 1 week.
The following video shows how to dehydrate sweet potatoes at home:
It is possible to store sweet potatoes in multiple ways and enjoy them throughout the year if they are stored correctly.
After learning how to store cut sweet potatoes, here are some questions to consider:
How can you tell if sweet potatoes go bad?
When sweet potatoes go bad, they will show distinct signs like a foul odor or discoloration.
It is normal for sweet potatoes to oxidize and become darker, but if this change is associated with a mushy texture or slime (but not this kind), then you may need to discard them.
Can you store cut sweet potatoes in a root cellar?
Cut sweet potatoes should always be stored in the fridge or freezer.
When stored cut, sweet potatoes can sprout, grow leaves or go bad from fungal growth near the exposed side. It is best to store them whole in a root cellar as they are more likely to sprout and grow leaves.