How Long Do Potatoes Last: guidelines for storage

The length of time potatoes last is mostly dependent on the temperature they are stored at. In normal home cupboard conditions the temperature will be roughly 60 fahrenheit / 15 degrees centigrade. At this temperature the potatoes will remain firm for up to two weeks before they will start to soften or begin to grow buds.

How long are potatoes good for

If potatoes are kept at a colder temperature they will last for much longer before they begin to soften or begin producing buds. Likewise if potatoes are kept in warmer temperatures then the shelf life will be reduced further. My article on how to store potatoes from the garden discusses this topic further

What is the best temperature to store potatoes

The best temperature to store potatoes is 45 fahrenheit /8 degrees centigrade. At this temperature you should expect the potatoes to last up to 6 months from harvest.

Although you can keep potatoes at less than 8 degrees and they will keep for longer before softening or producing buds there are negative impacts on the potato flesh at these temperatures. The potato flesh will turn a dark/black color when fried in oil, for example making chips.

This colour change happens because the starch in the potato turns to sugar to when the potato is exposed to low temperatures to provide quicker access to energy. So it is not advisable to store your potatoes below 8 degrees.

How do you know if a potato has gone bad

You will know immediately looking at a potato if it has gone bad or not.
A potato will be bad if it has green skin and/or rotting flesh. Green potatoes are known as “sunburned” or “greening”. If the potato has been exposed to sunlight they will turn green. Solanine is the mild poison the potato produces when it turns green. Find out more about sunburn in my article how to hill up potatoes

This is a potato which has some sunburn on it. The green is where the solanine has formed. This is a mild case of sunburn, you may be able to cut it out and use the remainder of the potato.

Another type of bad potato is one with soft rot or blight. These rotten potatos will have soft mushy flesh and may be dark in colour and it will most likely have a very bad smell.

This potato has been infected with blight which has travelled right through the flesh of the potato. It is completely unusable and should be thrown in the waste bin.

Can you get sick from eating old potatoes

Not necessarily. The age of the potato is not the issue, the condition of the potato is.

You can have a potato that is 4 months old and was healthy at harvest, stored well and is firm and in good condition. On the other hand you could have a potato which is only a week old but has was infected with blight, soft rot or sun damage all of which would make you sick, if you ate it – but it is highly unlikely due to the bad appearance /smell it would have.

You could have a potato that was kept in a cold store in good condition for 3 months and then it is brought into a warm house and within a couple of weeks at this high storage temperature it has shrivelled up and grown buds 4 inches long. It is now not good to eat.

Can you eat old soft potatoes

This is a better question. Sometimes you can come across a potato which is soft and wrinkly but does not appear to have any diseases or sun damage. Usually these potatoes have begun to produce buds.

You can remove the buds and boil and eat the soft potato but they will not be enjoyable. The answer to this is yes you can eat them, but you shouldn’t. Usually if a potato is firm and has small buds it is fine to eat but if it is soft, wrinkled and has long buds, it is better not to eat it.

Should you keep potatoes in the fridge.

No. As a fridge is usually between 4 to 6 degrees centigrade this is below the recommended 8 degrees. They will keep in the fridge and you could use them for boiling but the flesh will be slightly damaged due to the low temperature and they will not be good for frying

How long do mashed potatoes last in the fridge

What’s the potatoes have been cooked and left to cool they can be stored in the fridge for 3 to 4 days, after this time they should be dumped.

Can you freeze potatoes

You cannot freeze a raw potato. If you do it will thaw out as mush and will be rotten. You can cook potatoes and freeze them for up to 6 months.

How long can you keep a bag of potatoes

Again this is a vague question – if it’s kept in normal room temperature they should last around two weeks. Potatoes keep better in a paper bag than a plastic bag as the plastic bag can encourage the potatoes to sweat and this dampness can speed up the rotting process. The optimum conditions to keep a bag of potatoes would be in a paper or cloth bag in a dark room with good ventilation at 8 degrees.

What happens if you eat a bad potato

It is highly unlikely that you would eat a bad potato unless it was a sunburned one which you missed when putting into the pot. A rotten potato would never be put into the pot they are mushy and smell terrible.

You could mistakenly put a green potato into the pot, but once you would put a little of it into your mouth the bad taste would make you want to spit it out. Iif you did eat the green potato you would feel a little unwell and perhaps you would be sick- but that is about all that would happen. It is highly unlikely you would eat a full meal of green potatoes.

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