Learn more about how long potatoes last and how to tell whether they have gone bad
Although potatoes last for a long time, they can eventually spoil when exposed to air, light, and moisture. The shelf life of potatoes depends on factors such as how they are stored.
For example, raw potatoes can stay fresh for about 1 week to 3 months, whereas cooked potatoes can be kept for up to 4 days.
Learn more about how long potatoes last and how to tell whether they have gone bad.
What is the shelf life of raw potatoes?
When kept in a basket on the kitchen counter, raw potatoes can last for approximately 1 week, but when kept in the right conditions, they can keep for 2-3 months.
Potatoes that are exposed to air and light degrade quickly because natural light and atmospheric gasses interact with specific chemical elements in potatoes to produce sprouting.
On the skin of newly harvested potatoes, there are tiny depressions called eyes. Fresh potatoes have these eyes, which are not harmful, but after a few days, the eyes start to sprout. Left to stand, sprouted potatoes soon begin to sprout internally as well, rendering them inedible.
Raw potatoes that are exposed to light can also produce toxic glycoalkaloid compounds, such as solanine, which make them unfit for human consumption. Food poisoning of solanine can result in some uncomfortable symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea.
What is the shelf life of cooked potatoes?
Cooked potatoes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Cooked potatoes should be reheated to a minimum of 165 F before eating to kill any bacteria.
At room temperature, potatoes that have been cooked quickly grow bacterial colonies that cause them to spoil after 2-3 hours.
The shelf life of cooked potatoes can increase or decrease depending on other ingredients.
For example, the vinegar in a vinaigrette dressing for potato salad functions as a natural preservative, extending the shelf life of boiled potatoes in the refrigerator by up to 6 days.
Mashed potatoes degrade more quickly when butter, cream, or milk are added because dairy products have a shorter shelf life in the refrigerator.
How to tell when potatoes have gone bad
Spoiled potatoes can result in mild to severe food poisoning, which can manifest as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pains. There are several ways to determine whether raw or cooked potatoes have gone bad.
Signs of spoiled raw potatoes include:
- Green or dark areas on the skin
- Musty odor
- Many lengthy sprouts
- Skin that is sallow or wrinkled
- Soft to the touch
Signs of spoiled cooked potatoes include:
- Green streaks or patches of mold
- Yellowish or greenish tinge
- Sour smell
- Slimy film on the surface
How to store potatoes
Raw and cooked potatoes should be stored in different ways.
The ideal environment for storing raw potatoes is cool, dark, and reasonably dry. This will prevent them from sprouting as long as possible and delay the growth of mold. It is preferable to avoid putting raw potatoes in the freezer or refrigerator. Refrigerated potatoes can change color, soften, and increase in sugar content.
In the refrigerator, leftover cooked potatoes can be securely kept for a few days. As an alternative, cooked potatoes can be frozen for several months.
Medically Reviewed on 8/26/2022
How to Keep Potatoes Fresh for Longer. https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/how-to-keep-potatoes-fresh-for-longer
Effect of freezing/thawing conditions and long-term frozen storage on the quality of mashed potatoes. https://doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.2264
Do Potatoes Go Bad: How Long Do Potatoes Last? https://www.simplyhealthyfamily.org/do-potatoes-go-bad/
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