Nutrition

How long do potatoes last?

How long do potatoes last? Potatoes usually have a life span of about 3 to-5 weeks in the pantry environment and 3 to 4 months when kept in the refrigerator. The shelf life of a potato depends on a number of aspects such as the mentioned selling date, the method of preparation, the type of potatoes, the method used to store the potatoes and the presence of humidity in the surrounding space. Due to their proven health benefits and relatively low cost, potatoes are one of the widely used vegetables around the world and can be cooked by employing several different methods.

So, how long does a potato last? After obtaining them from the grocery store and storing them properly, the shelf life of potatoes past their selling date is mentioned below:

 

PotatoesIn PantryIn FridgeIn Freezer
Russet or White Potatoes3 to 5 weeks3 to 4 months
Red or New Potatoes2 to 3 weeks2 to 3 months
Yukon Gold Potatoes2 to 3 weeks2 to 3 months
Sweet Potatoes3 to 5 weeks2 to 3 months
Fingerlings2 to 3 weeks2 to 3 months
Sliced Potatoes or French Fries1 to 2 days
Baked Potatoes5 to 7 days6 to 8 months
Cooked Potatoes5 to 7 days6 to 8 months
Mashed Potatoes4 to 6 days6 to 8 months
Instant Dry Potato Packages1 year4 to 5 days6 to 8 months

 

Of course, all foods would expire in a short period of time if they are not properly kept and stored. But one should also remember that potatoes, unlike many other fresh vegetables, may have a selling date when they are sold in a plastic packing. The selling date is the last day for a product to be sold, not used. Because of this difference, consumers may use potatoes safely to compliment their meals of choice even after the selling date has passed. If no date is mentioned, like many fresh vegetables, then the date to use it would be same as the purchased date.

How to check if Potatoes have gone bad, rotten or spoiled?

Ensuring proper hygiene and food safety practices will certainly help to prevent food borne illnesses.

Some common characteristics of bad potatoes are growth through the skin and discoloration. The potatoes will start to wither and get softer. Potatoes are still living when picked up in the farms, so if potatoes are stored for too long in a humid condition, they will ultimately start to produce small white sprouts or buds. The potato can still be used after cutting off these growths, but it significantly diminishes the quality of the potato and it would be better to discard the batch.

Sometimes green spots can also appear on the surface of potatoes when they are exposed to direct sunlight for a considerable amount of time, in which case the rest of the potato may be used by cutting off the green spot. Potatoes can also grow mold of they get wet at all, in which case they should be discarded and not used for consumption. It is best practice to not wash them prior to storage.

For mashed potatoes, they start to get old as the water content separates from the solid. For certain time, the water remains fairly clear and some may mix it back in and use it, but then the liquid will produce a white haze and the potatoes will begin to smell bitter, at which point one should toss the mashed potatoes.

There are certainly some health risks linked to spoiled foods so it is suggested to ensure and practice food safety and enjoy foods before their shelf life expires.

How to store Potatoes to extend their shelf life?

It is best to store potatoes in a cool and dark place. If possible, potatoes should be kept and stored in a cellar, where they can be kept for many months between 45°F to 50°F temperature. Storing them at a higher temperature will lead to shrinking and sprouting, particularly if there is low humidity in air. This is due to the fact that potatoes are composed of around 80% water, which gets evaporated in a hot, dry condition.

Storing potatoes at a lower temperature, such as refrigerator, causes the starch in them to convert to sugar which gives a sweet taste but also causes the color to darken very fast while frying. This can be avoided by leaving potatoes out of the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days.

Sprouting is a sign that nutrients are exiting the potato. In order to prevent further sprouting, keep the potatoes wrapped in a brown paper bag and put a ripe apple among them, which will release ethylene gas and restrain the growth of potato buds and sprouts.

Once raw potatoes are sliced open, they begin oxidizing rather quickly, which can be temporarily stopped by putting them in a pan of salted water as they are sliced. Once prepared, potatoes should be stored in a firmly closed container to keep moisture and other potential contaminants out.

Raw potatoes do not act well when frozen, but sliced potatoes or french fries can be easily kept in the freezer. The ideal way to freeze is to partially cook french fries beforehand. Although freezing offers an indefinite kind of storage, potatoes contain moisture and produce ice crystals that sooner or later take over the batch of french fries.

Some advantages of proper storage of food include healthier eating, reducing food cost and preventing waste.

Interesting facts about Potatoes:

  • Potatoes come cheap and are easy to grow, plus they do not need much chemicals or fertilizer. So easy that potatoes were grown in space on the Columbia shuttle during their mission in 1995.
  • In fact, 80% of a potato is water.
  • According to Guinness World Records, the largest potato weighed over 18 pounds.

How to use extra before the Potatoes go bad?

Last night’s dinner could be easily made into today’s breakfast, and the leftover mashed potatoes are the perfect to make potato pancakes. Simply add an egg or two, salt, pepper and maybe few spoonfuls of milk if potatoes are too thick. Give the mixture a whip with a fork and, when the pan is oiled and hot on medium heat, put the potato mix into the pan and flatten it with a spoon or spatula. Turn the pancake when it turns brown, and it is ready.

How long are Potatoes good for when prepared in a dish?

How long do potatoes last? It depends. Generally, potatoes last as long as the fastest expiring ingredient in the dish.

What are the shelf life resources?

In examining how long Potatoes lasts, the content considers research from various resources, including the USDA and FDA. Additionally, information is included from the web as well as reports related to food storage, food safety and the shelved life span.

An important note about expiration dates

Although the shelf life information, such as selling date, is usually reliable, but it is important to remember that every case varies and that the general advice should only be taken as a guideline and not a substitute for a health care specialist. Eat potatoes responsibly.

Tom Brendon

Tom Brendon has completed his nutrition undergrad in the UK and received his Master's degree from Canada in health education and specializes in human health and pediatrics. He began his career as a writer for Nutritionline in 2014 and Authority Health in 2016. He has considerable research experience and currently writes nutrition and health articles for general readership. He enjoys outdoor activities, snowboarding and spending quality time with family and friends.

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