How to Store Potatoes
Plus, can you eat sprouted potatoes?
By Layla Khoury-Hanold for Food Network Kitchen
Layla Khoury-Hanold is a contributor at Food Network.
Potatoes are a versatile ingredient and nutritious staple used in cuisines around the world. There are plenty of different varieties to stock up on; plus, potatoes have a long shelf life when stored properly. Here we answer all your storage questions, including how long they last and how to tell if they’ve gone bad.
The Best Way to Store Potatoes
Increase your potatoes’ shelf life following these USDA approved tips for proper potato storage.
Don’t Store Cracked or Bruised Potatoes
Before you store your potatoes, look them over. Set aside any that are cracked or bruised and use those first; store the more pristine potatoes.
Transfer Dry Potatoes to a Breathable Container
Don’t wash potatoes prior to storing, as dampness can promote rotting. Place dry potatoes in a breathable bag made from mesh or paper or put them in a cardboard box. Potatoes require airflow to prevent spoilage, so don’t store them in anything that will trap moisture, like a lidded container or resealable plastic bag.
Store In a Cool, Dry Place
Choose a cool place that’s around 45 to 50 degrees. Ensure that the area is dry and has good ventilation, too. A basement is ideal, but a kitchen cupboard or closet works as well. Potatoes that are stored at 70 to 80 degrees should be used within a week, as higher temperatures cause sprouting and shriveling.
Keep Them Out of Direct Sunlight
When potatoes are exposed to sunlight, it triggers the potatoes into chlorophyll-making mode. Besides turning the potatoes green, it allows dangerous glycoalkaloid toxins such as solanine to thrive.
Avoid Storing Potatoes Near Certain Produce
Onions, apples and bananas produce ethylene gas, which causes nearby produce to ripen faster and can cause spoilage to happen more quickly.
Don’t Store Potatoes In the Refrigerator
The fridge is too cold and will trigger the potatoes’ starches to convert to sugars, which makes the potatoes sweeter and turns them brown when cooked. If you need to rescue some spuds from your fridge, store them at room temperature for 1 or 2 weeks to improve their flavor.
How Long Do Potatoes Last?
Potatoes will stay fresh up to 2 months from purchase when properly stored in a cool, dry, dark, breathable space. If you’re storing spuds at room temperature, plan to use them up within a week or so. Higher temperatures cause sprouting and shriveling to occur more rapidly.
If you’re planning to peel your potatoes in advance, you’ll need to transfer whole, peeled potatoes to a bowl of water and fully submerge them to prevent discoloration. Stored this way, peeled potatoes will last in the fridge for up to 1 day. Any longer, and they’ll absorb the water and turn mushy. Avoid cutting or shredding potatoes and storing them using this method or they’ll become waterlogged. For more know-how, check out our story, Can You Peel Potatoes a Day Ahead?.
How to Tell If a Potato Is Bad
Potatoes that are stored in direct sunlight or at too-warm temperatures have a decreased shelf life. You’ll know that your potato is bad if the skin turns green, starts sprouting “eyes” or other growths, feels soft or squishy, looks wrinkly or smells rotten.
Potatoes that have small sprouts are still fine to eat, but you need to remove the “eyes” using the scoop-shaped tip of a vegetable peeler or a paring knife before cooking. If the potatoes have large sprouts or other growths, it’s best to throw them out—spoiled potatoes contain solanine (a specific type of glycoalkaloid toxins) and can be poisonous when consumed. For a more in-depth look at proper potato storage and how to remove sprouts, check out our primer, Are Sprouted Potatoes Safe to Eat?.
If your potatoes have turned green, its best to toss them in the trash or compost pile. Exposure to light turns potatoes into chlorophyll-making mode, turning the potatoes green and causing dangerous glycoalkaloid toxins like solanine to thrive.
How Long Do Cooked Potatoes Last in the Fridge?
According to the USDA, cooked potatoes can be safely kept in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.