How To Tell If A Potato Has Gone Bad

Potatoes evolved in the Andes Mountains of South America and it is now one of the most popular veggies all over the world. Though you may have noticed that potatoes keep for a long time, you may be curious as to how long they keep before deteriorating. The key is in the proper storage. 

The best way to store potatoes in an open container which will allow air to circulate around, helping prevent premature aging. You can put them in your pantry or in a dark place that is cool, dry, and dark.

Most varieties will keep for a month, though new potatoes should be used within one week. Keep them out of the refrigerator to keep their natural starches from turning to sugar, and don’t store them near apples or onions, which release gasses that can encourage spoilage.

How Can You Tell If Your Potatoes Have Gone Bad?

Changes such as sprouting or changing color will occur long before a potato goes bad. These changes do not usually indicate that a potato has gone bad, but rather that the quality is beginning to deteriorate.

In this section, we’ll concentrate on the alterations that indicate a potato is no longer edible.

If your potatoes are growing any amount of mold, they are no longer safe to eat. And, no, you can’t just chop the mold off since the tiny invisible spores are likely to be developing elsewhere in the tuber. Just discard them.

But what if they’re only slightly soft or have a few sprouts? It’s fine to cook the potatoes as long as they’re mainly firm. Because potatoes are made up of 80% water, softness is usually only a sign of dehydration. However, if they’re excessively mushy or shriveled, do not consume them.

Small sprouts can also be removed with a vegetable peeler or knife. Long or big sprouts, however, indicate that the potato is likely past its peak and should be discarded. Technically, you could plant the sprouts if you wish.

Also, old potatoes will lose their fresh, earthy scent and begin to smell “musty” and unpleasant. This is a sign that they are no longer edible.

If One Potato Is Rotten Should I Throw Them All Out?

No, just discard the bad ones and consume the rest. Because the bacterium spreads quickly, it’s a good idea to check your potatoes once a week and discard any that aren’t healthy. More tubers will survive storage and end up on your plate this way.

How To Determine Whether A Sweet Potato Has Gone Bad

When it comes to food safety, it’s critical to be aware of the differences between when sweet potatoes go bad and when normal potatoes go bad. Soft, mushy potatoes serve as both symptoms of spoiled food.

But when it comes to discoloration, however, the colors vary. Whereas green is the primary indicator in white potatoes, black or brown patches are critical to look for when deciding whether your sweet potatoes are still edible.

Another thing to look for is whether the sweet potato is oozing liquid. Because sweet potatoes contain more water than potatoes, leaking water is a clear indication that they should be discarded.

What Happens If You Eat A Bad Potato?

Bad potatoes have high quantities of solanine, which can lead to solanine toxicity. Among the symptoms are nausea, diarrhea, stomach pains, vomiting, headache, and dizziness. Mild solanine poisoning should only last about 24 hours, but seek medical attention if necessary.

“Consumption of up to 5 g of green potato per kg of body weight per day does not appear to induce acute sickness,” according to Science Direct. So, if you consume some, you should be fine.

Can You Consume Soft Potatoes?

When raw, good potatoes should be firm and crisp. If you can squeeze your potato and it gives, it’s a warning that it’s about to go bad, or has already done so.

If there is no mold, it should be okay to eat, but it will be of inferior quality and would be better mashed or shredded to produce hash browns.

Why Are My Potatoes Turning Green?

If potatoes are not properly stored and are exposed to light, they will frequently become green due to the formation of chlorophyll.

If they are green, this indicates an increase in toxins, such as solanine. Toxins are commonly contained in sprouts, peel, or immediately behind the peel.

Should You Eat Green Potatoes?

Green potatoes aren’t particularly appetizing. And while the hue is only an increase of chlorophyll, it is also a warning sign of something more sinister. According to the USDA, when a potato becomes green, there is usually a rise in a poisonous substance called solanine, which, in big doses, can induce headaches, nausea, and neurological disorders.

The USDA, on the other hand, claims that you can safely “remove the skins, shoots, and any green color” because that is where the solanines are concentrated. Toss a potato if it is completely green; otherwise, trim and proceed. The green sections of the potato taste bitter, so don’t eat it if you find it has a bitter taste to it.

Can You Eat A Raw Potato?

Yes, however, they may be more difficult for your body to digest. They include more vitamin C and carbohydrates, both of which are slightly reduced when potatoes are cooked. Raw sweet potatoes are OK to consume, although some yams should not be eaten raw. Keep in mind though that raw potatoes should not be fed to dogs.

How To Keep Potatoes Fresher For Longer

Tubers can be preserved properly for weeks or even months. Here are a few crucial points to maintain their freshness:

  • Look for flawless potatoes with no scratches or bruises, smooth skin, and shallow eyes (those little divots on the skin).
  • If the potatoes arrived in a plastic retail bag, place them in a basket to allow them to air.
  • Don’t wash the potatoes until you’re ready to use them in a recipe. Dirt keeps the potatoes from rotting prematurely, and keeping moist potatoes may result in mold growth.
  • Potatoes should be stored in cool but not cold temperatures, ideally between 45°F and 55°F. If you keep them too cold (i.e., in the fridge), the starches will change to sugar, altering the taste and texture. On the other hand, temperatures above 55°F will hasten dehydration.
  • Too much sunlight will cause potatoes to turn green, so keep them somewhere dark and cold like a cellar.
  • Potatoes and onions should not be stored together. Onions produce a gas that causes potatoes to spoil faster.

Is It A Good Idea To Keep Potatoes In The Pantry?

If you don’t have a place that is cooler than room temperature but warmer than the refrigerator, such as a cellar, a pantry, or a dark cabinet should suffice. Potatoes can be stored at room temperature for up to two weeks. The can last longer if you keep them in a cold pantry.

Potatoes should be stored loosely in a cardboard box, mesh bag, or paper bag to allow for improved air circulation.

How Long Can You Keep Potatoes In The Fridge?

While it is not recommended to store raw potatoes in the fridge unless you don’t have another cool place in the house. The cold temperatures in a refrigerator quickly convert the starch inside a potato to sugar, resulting in a considerably sweeter flavor and a different texture.

Having said that, raw potatoes can be stored in the fridge for up to a month before losing some of the valuable properties that make them so delicious. Cooked potatoes, on the other hand, should be stored in sealed containers in the refrigerator. When properly stored in the fridge, cooked potatoes should be consumed within one week.

Canning Potatoes To Extend Their Shelf Life

If you want to conserve potatoes for a long time, canning is one possibility. While canning is substantially more invasive than other choices, it allows you to enjoy starchy foods for up to five years. All you need are some glass canning jars and a pressure canner.

If you choose this option, follow the recipe below for the best way to preserve your vegetables.

Potato Canning Recipe

  • 1 whole lemon
  • 1 gallon of water
  • 10-12 lbs of potatoes
  • 7 tsp of salt

Squeeze some lemon juice into the water before canning. Fill small pint jars halfway with potatoes and equally sprinkle the seven tablespoons of salt. Pour the lemon water into the jars with the sliced potatoes, allowing approximately a half-inch of headspace, and then pressure can as needed.

Last Thoughts

If stored properly, this starchy root vegetable has a long shelf life. You may enjoy this tasty food for months if you clip the sprouts and green patches on the surface of the potatoes on a regular basis. Also, inspect them for mold.

Remember that even though cool settings are ideal for storing potatoes, raw tubers should preferably not be frozen.

Great! So now you know have a few new guidelines to assist you when choosing whether it’s time to salvage your potatoes, and when it’s time to say goodbye to them.