Home Articles How to Tell If Potatoes Are Bad (+ Signs to Look For)

How to Tell If Potatoes Are Bad (+ Signs to Look For)

There are certain signs to look for if potatoes have gone bad. First, they should be firm to the touch. If they have a mushy texture, it’s a sign of rotting.

You can also tell if potatoes are bad based on their appearance, smell, or any visible mold discoloration.

Different Raw Organic Potatoes in a Colander

Potatoes are a staple in so many kitchens, but you’ll want to be sure they’re fresh when using them.

By paying attention to a few telltale signs, you’ll always know when it’s time to discard them.

How to Tell If Potatoes Are Bad

There are several signs to look out for when determining if potatoes have gone bad. 

One of the most noticeable signs is a change in color. If the potatoes have turned green, they’re no longer safe to eat. 

Another sign to look out for is a change in texture. If they’ve become soft or mushy, they’ve gone bad. 

And if they’ve started to sprout or develop black spots or have a bad smell, they should not be consumed.

How to Tell If Cooked Potatoes Are Bad

It can be difficult to tell if cooked potatoes have gone bad just by looking at them. A good way to check if they are still safe to eat is by smelling them. If they have a sour or rancid odor, it’s best to discard them. 

You should also check for any visible signs of mold or bacterial growth. 

Also, cooked potatoes left at room temperature for over 2 hours should be thrown away to avoid the risk of food poisoning. 

When storing cooked potatoes, be sure to keep them in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Consume them within 3-4 days.

Whole and Sliced Organic Sweet Potatoes

How to Tell If Sweet Potatoes Are Bad

Sweet potatoes are a nutritious and delicious addition to any meal, but they don’t last forever. First, check for any physical changes such as wrinkles, cracks, soft spots, or blemishes. Sweet potatoes with these signs have spoiled and should be discarded. 

If you notice a moldy or musty odor coming from the sweet potatoes, it’s time to throw them away as well.

Also, consider the storage conditions of your sweet potatoes. If they were stored in a warm or humid environment, they’ll go bad faster than expected. Proper storage in a cool, dry place can help extend the shelf life of sweet potatoes.

Whole and Sliced Organic Red Potatoes

How to Tell If Red Potatoes Are Bad

To tell if red potatoes are bad, you can use your senses to check for signs of spoilage. First, examine the potatoes for any visible signs of decay or damage, such as mold or soft spots. If you notice any of these, it’s best to throw them out.

Next, smell the potatoes. If they have a foul odor, this is another sign they have gone bad.

Finally, if the potatoes look and smell fine, you can give them a gentle squeeze. If they feel mushy or soft, this indicates they’re spoiled.

What Happens If You Eat Bad Potatoes?

Eating bad potatoes can cause food poisoning. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and fever. 

The toxins that cause food poisoning are produced by bacteria growing on potatoes that have gone bad. This is especially the case if they’re stored in warm, humid conditions.

Consuming spoiled potatoes can also cause solanine poisoning. This condition occurs when potatoes contain high levels of solanine, a natural toxin found in the potato plant. 

Symptoms of solanine poisoning include headaches, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. In severe cases, it can cause neurological symptoms such as confusion, hallucinations, and even comas.

It’s important to check for signs of spoilage before eating potatoes. Also, be sure to properly store them to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.

Can You Eat Potatoes That Are Green?

It’s generally safe to eat potatoes with a small amount of green skin or spots.  However, it’s recommended to avoid consuming large amounts of green potatoes or potatoes that have turned entirely green. 

The green color is due to the presence of solanine, a toxic compound mentioned before. Ingesting large amounts of solanine can cause more serious symptoms such as headaches, fever, and even a coma. 

You want to minimize the risk of consuming too much solanine. So it’s best to remove any green parts of the potato before cooking and consuming them.

Baked Potatoes on a Parchment Paper

How Long Do Potatoes Last? 

Fresh potatoes can last up to 2 to 5 weeks if stored properly. Keep them in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated place like a pantry or cellar.

Cooked potatoes can last for 3 to 5 days when stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Baked potatoes, on the other hand, can last for up to 5 days when stored properly in the refrigerator. 

It’s important to remove the toppings and wrap the potato in foil or plastic wrap to keep it fresh.

The above storage times are just estimates. The actual shelf life of potatoes will vary. This depends on factors such as the quality of the potatoes and storage conditions. 

Always use your best judgment and common sense when it comes to determining whether or not to consume potatoes.

Tips When Storing Potatoes 

  • Store them in a cool, dry place: Keep your potatoes in a cool, dry, and dark place, such as a pantry or a root cellar. Avoid storing them near sources of heat or light.
  • Don’t wash them before storage: Potatoes have a natural protective layer that helps keep them fresh. It’s best not to wash them until you’re ready to use them.
  • Keep them away from ethylene-producing fruits and vegetables: Ethylene gas can cause potatoes to sprout and spoil faster. Keep them away from ethylene-producing fruits and vegetables such as bananas, apples, and onions.
  • Check for rotten potatoes: Check your potato stash regularly for any signs of rot, decay, or sprouting. Remove any bad potatoes immediately to prevent the spread of decay.
Various Cuts oaf Frozen Potatoes in a Resealable Plastic

Can You Freeze Potatoes?

Yes, you can freeze potatoes. But it’s important to note freezing will change their texture and consistency. 

Raw potatoes do not freeze well, and they’ll become mushy and lose their flavor when thawed. However, cooked potatoes freeze well and can be used in various recipes. These include mashed potatoes, potato soup, or potato salad.

To freeze cooked potatoes, allow them to cool to room temperature. Then, transfer them to an air-tight container or freezer bag. Be sure to label and date the container or bag before placing it in the freezer. 

When you’re ready to use the frozen potatoes, thaw them in the refrigerator before reheating or adding them to your recipe.

How to Tell If Potatoes Are Bad

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Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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