Sweet potatoes can last for several months when stored properly, but you will need to carefully follow certain procedures to prevent them from spoiling. Here's everything you need to know to store sweet potatoes at room temperature and in cold places.
Method 1 of 2: Storing at Room Temperature
Step 1. Use fresh fat sweet potatoes
Freshly picked sweet potatoes, with the roots still attached to them, are the best options.
- Round sweet potatoes can be stored just as well as lean ones. Also, they have more “meat”.
- If you are tending the potatoes yourself, use a pitchfork to dig holes 10 or 15 cm below the ground so that you can lift all the roots. Handle the roots with care as sweet potatoes tend to get bruised easily. Shake off excess dirt, but do not wash the roots.
Step 2. Cure the sweet potatoes for a week or two
Keep the roots in a room or other place where the temperature is between 24 and 27 degrees Celsius (75 or 80 degrees Fahrenheit) with a relative humidity of 90 or 95%.
- Sweet potatoes need to cure for at least a week. They can be kept in this state for up to 14 days.
- The healing process creates a second skin that forms over the scratches and wounds, allowing the sweet potatoes to last longer in storage.
- Use a small electric fan in the area to keep the air circulating. This helps to prevent the potatoes from rotting or molding.
- Monitor temperature and humidity regularly so that the potatoes rest in optimal conditions for the curing process.
- For best results, distance the potatoes so they don't touch each other during the process.
Step 3. Discard damaged potatoes
After the healing process, discard any rotting, moldy, or bruised potatoes.
Hurt potatoes may not heal properly, so they won't last as long as other sweet potatoes - in fact, they can even make healthy potatoes rot faster
Step 4. Wrap each potato in a sheet of newspaper
Wrap each potato individually in newspaper or brown bags.
Newspapers and brown bags are very breathable, offering enough air circulation to keep the sweet potatoes from rotting too quickly
Step 5. Place the potatoes in a box or basket
Store each wrapped potato in a cardboard or wooden box or wooden basket.
- Do not use a vacuum container.
- Put an apple in the box. The apple will prevent the potatoes from germinating.
Step 6. Store in a cool, dark place
Keep sweet potatoes in an area that has a consistent temperature of between 13 and 16 degrees Celsius.
- For best results, store sweet potatoes in a basement. If this option is not available, store them in a dark, cool, well-ventilated cabinet that stays away from heat sources.
- Do not use a refrigerator.
- Monitor the temperature frequently so that it does not exceed or stray too far from the ideal.
- Stored this way, sweet potatoes can last up to 6 months. Remove them from the tank gently to avoid hurting them.
Method 2 of 2: Storing in a Freezer
Step 1. Wash and peel the sweet potatoes
Wash each fresh sweet potato under running water and with a vegetable brush. Use a peeler to remove the husk.
- Rinsing potatoes under running water is not enough to clean them. To get them deeply clean, you should rub them gently with the vegetable brush. Brush gently to avoid hurting the interior.
- If you don't have a vegetable peeler, remove the peel with a knife that has a sharp blade.
- Start with fresh sweet potatoes to maximize the amount of storage time.
Step 2. Boil the sweet potatoes for 15 or 20 minutes
Fill a large pot with water and boil it to a high temperature. Add the sweet potatoes and cook until tender.
- You need to cook the sweet potatoes before freezing them. Raw sweet potatoes tend to crack and lose flavor and nutrients in the freezer.
- Boiling is the preferred method of cooking sweet potatoes for freezer storage. Boiling should take 20 minutes for a standard size potato.
Step 3. Cut or mash the sweet potatoes
Use a knife to cut the potatoes into slices or a masher to create a puree.
- Do not store cooked potatoes whole.
- You can use an electric mixer to give the potatoes consistency.
Step 4. Spread lemon juice
Add 5ml of lemon juice to each sliced or mashed sweet potato.
Cover the sweet potatoes to be covered in lemon juice. The juice will prevent discoloration, but you should only use a small amount so it doesn't change the taste
Step 5. Allow to cool
Allow the potatoes to cool before storing them.
Freezing hot sweet potatoes can create condensation inside the container - which would quickly cause damage to the product
Step 6. Transfer the sweet potatoes to sealed containers
Place mashed/sliced potatoes in resealable plastic freezer bags or sealed containers.
Do not use plastic or metal containers
Step 7. Freeze for 10 or 12 months
On average, cooked sweet potatoes stored in the freezer last 10 to 12 months.