When it comes to eating fruit and vegetables, we have many considerations to take into mind. For example, natural produce tends to be more likely to go off quicker. As such, it can be tough to rely upon dates for ‘Best Before’ and ‘Use By’ conditions.
As such, we highly recommend that you take a close look at the dates of any product you choose to buy in a supermarket. One of the most confusing products that you will likely use on a regular basis, though, are potatoes. So, how long do potatoes last?
It can be a surprisingly confusing topic. In a bid to help you understand what to look out for in your potatoes, we have put together a quick list of key factors regarding potatoes. This includes how long do your potatoes last, when potatoes are likely to go bad, and the key signs to look out for when potatoes are beginning to decay.
Now, when you are next shopping at the supermarket or at your chosen vegetable store, you will find it easier to pick out goods that are healthy to eat. So, what matters with potatoes?
How long do potatoes last?
This is quite a tough question to answer purely because there are so many varieties of potato out there today. Every potato is different, but there are some general catch-all rules that should help you to make sure that you buy potatoes that fully last.
There are quite a few factors that can come into the thinking for a potato to retain safe eating conditions. Typically, though, you will find that an uncooked potato should last for around one week to three months. It does depend on where it is stored, though.
For example, potatoes which are stored in a cooler overall temperature should be likely to retain its longevity for a longer timeframe than something left out in a room temperature.
You should expect a potato left out at standard room temperature to lose freshness in a maximum of two weeks. By the same token, though, store that same potato in a temperature around 50F, and you should find that it can last for as long as three months. The location of where a potato is stored has a massive impact on how long the potato will last for.
The main thing to think about with a potato is that it will typically also depend on what kind of potato you are using. For example, a baked potato when cooked and then refrigerated should last for 3-4 days. The same goes for potatoes which have been boiled or mashed.
However, a raw potato that is left to be stored in water, might only last for around 24 hours – these are the potatoes that require your immediate attention and usage.
Another thing to take into account is the importance of freezing potatoes. Typically, potatoes can be stored in the freezer for as long as it is cooked. These tend to last for around 10-12 months, depending on where you get the potatoes from and a few other factors.
This should be the same for the vast majority of potatoes, whether you are using classic golden potatoes or something more specific like russet or even purple potatoes. If you stick to these typical timeframes as listed above, you should find it a bit easier to make sure that your potatoes last for a little bit longer.
Potatoes should last for a few days after cooked, though, so keep that in mind.
When do potatoes go bad?
So, when do potatoes actually go bad? As mentioned above, it does depend on the kind of methods that you use to store and care for the produce. The best potatoes are typically going to be those which are carefully looked after and stored in the right conditions.
As mentioned above, the vast majority of potatoes are going to be able to last for a longer period of time if you take the storage seriously.
Storage is a big part of the process, and something that many people tend to struggle with. If you tend to store your potatoes in the kitchen on a pantry that is not cooled at all, then expect your produce to go off faster.
The weather itself will determine this, too; summer months will often shorten sell-by dates by a few dates, whilst the coldness of winter can at times help to prolong the lifespan of a potato.
You should try and keep that in mind, as many people don’t realise that potatoes will last for longer when stored in cooler conditions. Just note that if you do choose to freeze the potato that it will likely not taste as fresh or as enjoyable after being defrosted.
How to tell if potatoes are bad?
There are numerous factors that you can use to tell if potatoes are bad. Potatoes which have become out of their eating date should be easy to spot through various reasons, but it can be somewhat hard to tell for some people. Here are some of the most typical ways to tell if a potato has gone off.
It feels mushy or soft
Potatoes should, until they are cooked, retain a strength and solidity to one. If you pick up a potato and it feels quite soft or even mushy in the middle, you should discard it and get another potato instead.
Potatoes which have begun the process of softening up are often not something that you should eat as they tend to be quite close to going off.
Typically, the outside of a potato should be firm and strong to touch, with the skin of the potato being free from bruising, black spots, and any other blemish that might otherwise stand out to you.
Another factor to look out when working our if a potato has gone off or not is the scent. While a potato tends to have a naturally earthy smell to it, you should not smell anything that is musty or even slightly mouldy.
Basically, if you find that your nose is recoiling from the potato even slightly then it would not be worth taking the risk to use the potato.
Potatoes are important to care for, and the smell is often a clear sign of decay in a potato.
While we noted above that the skin of the potato should be clear from spots and the like, it pays to check the inside of the potato. If you are worried about a potato, try and take the skin off it and see what it looks like underneath.
If you notice any kind of strong or overpowering smells coming from a potato that has no spots or the like on the outside, then you should peel the skin and have a look at the inside.
You might find growths, spots, rot, or anything else that might be causing the smell. We typically recommend that you get rid of all potatoes that have any kind of smell or odour to them, otherwise you run the risk of eating a potato that might be contaminated and thus put your health at risk long-term.
Probably the most obvious sign of a potato that should be ditched, though, is the presence of sprouts!
Sprouts are a horrible thing to see on your potatoes, but so long as they have recently sprouted it might be OK to us that particular potato. You can snap them off or cut them out with a knife; just make sure you get rid of all of the sprout.
This is because sprouts tend to be full of things that our bodies probably don’t want to be taking in, including toxic substances like solanine and chaconine.
This can lead to headaches and vomiting if consumed, so try and be safe on this front!
Any part of the potato which is now somewhat greenish in nature should be cut off and discarded, too. Potatoes that have had sprouts can be OK, but you need to pretty much discard any part of the potato that looks like the sprouts might have impacted it.
In the event of eating a potato that has had sprouts, you should use them ASAP because the sprouts will have drained some of the sugars and nutrients from the potato itself, thus making it weaker and less satisfying to eat.
Buying the best potatoes
And there you have it!
Use the above simple list of things to look out for, and it should be much easier for you to buy potatoes the next time you are at the store. It can be tough to make your purchase without knowing this information, as it can lead to buying poor quality potatoes, or potatoes which are close to going off. If that is the case and something you wish to avoid, then we recommend that you look into only buying the best potatoes.