How To Store Cut Sweet Potatoes
Storing cut sweet potatoes can be quite challenging since they are prone to spoiling – but there are a few ways you can get the most out of their shelf life!
How do you store cut sweet potatoes? Cut sweet potatoes can be stored in plastic bags or airtight containers, and can also be frozen for long-term use. Other long-term storage methods include dehydrating leftover potatoes or canning them for later use.
Read below to learn more about storing cut sweet potatoes, how long they last, and some great long-term methods to store them!
Why Storing Cut Potatoes Is A Challenge
You might have seen people store whole sweet potatoes in a root cellar, which can help prolong the shelf life of the potatoes by several months.
But as soon as you cut or peel a sweet potato, its shelf life goes down tenfold.
Why does this happen?
Sweet potatoes, like regular raw potatoes, are naturally starchy vegetables. The starch content in these potatoes is what makes them susceptible to quality changes.
On their own, sweet potatoes can last about 2-3 weeks over the counter and up to 6 months in a root cellar.
Their shelf life is highly dependent on ambient temperatures, humidity, and sun exposure – but they have a weapon against the harsh environment: their skin.
The skin of a sweet potato protects it from undergoing chemical changes and is a natural shield that keeps them from going bad within a matter of hours.
See, when starch is exposed to oxygen, it undergoes chemical changes via a process called oxidization.
Oxidized starch changes color and becomes dull, gray, or even black. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the sweet potato has gone bad, but it does impact its overall freshness and a bit of its natural flavor too.
An enzyme called polyphenol oxidase is the main culprit in browning and this chemical is available in spades on the superficial layer of the potato.
So, when you cut sweet potato, the timer goes off quite literally as it takes anywhere from 30-40 minutes for the potato to oxidize.
You might think that storing the potatoes in the fridge would be a great idea, and you wouldn’t be wrong – but there are a few things that you need to keep in mind.
The cold environment in a refrigerator does slow down the natural processes in food which increases its shelf life, but it also gives rise to another problem: dehydration.
When cool air circulates food, it wicks up moisture and dries the food from the inside out, which in turn ruins its natural flavor and texture.
This is where storing cut sweet potatoes becomes a conundrum: you can’t store them outside because they will oxidize, and you can’t leave them in the fridge because it will eventually dry out the potato.
Storing Sweet Potatoes In The Fridge
How do you combat two problems with one solution? Just add water!
Submerging the cut sweet potatoes in water will prevent them from dehydrating and will also stop them from oxidizing because of a lack of oxygen.
Please note that this method is usually only suitable for fully peeled and cut raw potatoes. Peeled sweet potatoes will last up to 3-4 days this way.
Avoid cooking the leftover cut potato before storage as it will increase the moisture content of the sweet potatoes – and further submerging them will ruin their delicate texture.
Here are a few detailed steps on how you can store cut sweet potatoes in multiple ways:
Cut And Peeled Sweet Potatoes
- If the potatoes are fully peeled and cut into small cubes, then move all the cubes into an adequately sized container.
- Fill the container with enough cold water to fully submerge the sweet potatoes. The deeper they are, the better they will store.
- Using cold water will keep the potatoes from soaking up excess moisture and will keep their texture intact. Do not salt the water either as it may encourage the potatoes to soak up.
- Store the container at the back of the fridge and leave them undisturbed. The cut sweet potatoes will last about 2-4 days but we recommend eating them within 24 hours for the best flavor and texture.
Never leave the potatoes half submerged because there is a small chance that they might sprout, even in a cold environment. Fully submerging them (or up to 90%) will keep them from going bad and sprouting.
Sprouting does not indicate spoilage but it may cause the potatoes to look odd and may change their texture.
Cut And UNpeeled Sweet Potatoes
Half-cut sweet potatoes can fare better and, since they have a limited exposed area, you can try out a few different strategies to prolong their shelf life.
Both these methods are also suitable for cooked and peeled potatoes, too!
Method 1: Airtight Containers
The best way to quickly store the cut sweet potatoes is to just move them into an airtight container. The container will keep excess air out and may even help slow down the process of dehydration.
Do not wash the sweet potato after cutting it. Just keep it as it is after slicing for maximum freshness. The potatoes should last about 4-5 days using this method.
Method 2: Plastic Wrap
Another great way of storing cut (but unpeeled) sweet potatoes without taking up extra space is by simply wrapping a plastic wrap over the entire potato.
This method is a fantastic way of quickly storing cut sweet potatoes without an airtight container and without taking up storage room in your fridge.
Simply wrap the cut sweet potato from the top – making sure you start with the cut side first – and then fully cover the entire potato. Secure the wrap using a rubber band and store it at the back of the fridge.
The potato will last about 3-4 days without going bad using this method.
Freezing Sweet Potatoes
Just like the refrigeration method, freezing sweet potatoes is another great way to increase their shelf life while preserving the freshness of the vegetable.
Here is how you can store sweet potatoes in the freezer:
- Wrap the sweet potatoes in foil or keep them in a freezer-safe plastic bag. This method can work for both cut or whole potatoes.
- Store the sweet potatoes at the back of the freezer at 0°F and leave them undisturbed. The potatoes will last up to 6 months this way.
- To thaw the potatoes, simply move them to the fridge and thaw them overnight before using them. You can also use a microwave at the thaw setting to defrost the potatoes.
Never wash the potatoes as it may encourage freezer burn! Always dust off the potatoes using a dry cloth and then move them into the freezer-safe bag or tin foil.
The best way to get the most out of this method is to use a no-frost fridge that discourages multiple layers of ice crystals.
Alternative Methods For Storing Cut Sweet Potatoes
We have discussed a lot of different ways to store cut sweet potatoes using traditional methods – but there are many other techniques that you can use to significantly increase the shelf life of cut sweet potatoes.
The process of canning can be difficult, but it is easy to learn and once you get into the habit of canning food, you will unlock new ways of storing food without the need for refrigeration.
Canning is great when you want to add a bit of flavor to food and extend its shelf life. In the case of cut sweet potatoes, you can use different canning techniques to increase the shelf life of the potatoes by up to 8-12 months.
Here is a detailed video on how to can your cut sweet potatoes:
If you already own a dehydrator, then you can use it to store sweet potatoes too!
Dehydration simply removes the moisture inside food, which in turn discourages microbial growth and stiffens rot.
This method is particularly great for when you want to use sweet potatoes in different recipes. A fantastic way to get the most out of dehydrated sweet potatoes is to make healthy chips!
Cut the sweet potatoes into thin slices and then dehydrate them to make them crispier. Store the chips in an airtight container and consume them within 1 week for the best results.
Here is a video showing how you can dehydrate sweet potatoes at home:
Sweet potatoes can easily be stored in multiple ways and can be enjoyed throughout the year if they are stored properly.
Now that you know how to store cut sweet potatoes, here are some related questions:
How can you tell if sweet potatoes go bad?
Sweet potatoes will show distinct signs of spoilage when they go bad. Look out for a foul odor or any type of discoloration.
Sweet potatoes can oxidize and become darker – which is normal – but if this change is accompanied by a mushy texture or slime (but not this kind), then you might have to discard them!
Can you store cut sweet potatoes in a root cellar?
No. Cut sweet potatoes should always be stored in the fridge or the freezer.
While storing whole sweet potatoes in a root cellar is preferred, storing cut potatoes will encourage them to sprout or even grow leaves – at worst, they can also go bad due to fungal growth near the exposed side.
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