how to tell if a sweet potato is bad

How to Tell If a Sweet Potato Is Bad: Signs & Tips

Sweet potatoes are among the most nutritious root vegetables in the world. They’re high in antioxidants, fiber, and beta-carotene. So, adding a few pieces of sweet potato to your daily diet will bring immense health benefits.

In this article, we’ll help you learn how to tell if a sweet potato is bad so that you only consume high-quality sweet potatoes for maximum benefits.

How to Tell If a Sweet Potato Is Bad: 7 Signs

Sweet Potato

Even though sweet potatoes have immense nutritional benefits, they can also be dangerous for your health if they go bad. Therefore, you need to be able to distinguish between fresh sweet potatoes and those that have gone bad.

1. Appearance and Texture

You can tell if your sweet potatoes are bad by their appearance. If your potatoes have been sitting in your kitchen cabinet for a while and they’ve started to develop wrinkles or sprouts, they may not be safe for consumption.

However, if the sweet potatoes are still firm and have only a few sprouts, they are fine for your consumption. But you shouldn’t keep them in the cabinet any longer. Consume them as soon as possible because they’re just about to go bad.

If your sweet potatoes are soft, squishy, discolored, and oozing liquids, they are bad and shouldn’t be consumed.

2. Smell

You can also know if your potatoes are bad by the smell they produce. A good sweet potato should smell fresh and neutral.

So, if your potatoes have a foul smell, they could be spoiled. In most cases, this smell is accompanied by mold, mushiness, and discoloration. This means that it’s time to throw the spoiled ones away to avoid spoiling the rest of the stock.

3. Sprouting Potatoes

If your sprouting sweet potatoes are still firm and fresh, just remove the sprouts or cut off the sprouted parts before you cook the potatoes. You can plant the sprouted parts instead of throwing them away.

4. Mold

Sweet potatoes bought from the store can sometimes have bits of mold, depending on their storage method.

This doesn’t mean they’re spoiled as long as they are firm. You just need to wash the mold off and remove any shriveled areas before you cook the rest. Please note that if your sweet potato shows signs of spoiling on the outside, it’s definitely bad on the inside.

5. Internal Signs of Spoilage

Also note that when a sweet potato gets spoiled, its inside becomes harder and drier than that of a fresh potato. As the sweet potato begins to go bad, it becomes oxidized and discolored faster than a fresh sweet potato.

The inside of a sweet potato that has gone bad develops a dark coloration at the center and around the rim. So, even if your sweet potato feels firm on the outside and you notice this coloration when you slice it, then know that it has surpassed its shelf life and it should be thrown away or planted.

6. Dark Spots

Some sweet potatoes develop dark spots on the outside and the inside. These dark spots don’t mean that the entire sweet potato is bad, especially if they’re only on a few parts of the potato. You can cut the dark areas off and cook the rest of the potato.

7. Milky Liquid

Another common question that consumers ask is: What’s the white stuff in a sweet potato when you cut it? When you slice your sweet potato, you’re likely to see some milky liquid oozing from the meat of the potato.

This white liquid is part of the starch and sugar found in sweet potatoes. So, it doesn’t mean that your potatoes have spoiled. Your potatoes are safe for consumption.

Fresh sweet potatoes have more of the milky starch than those that are nearing the end of their shelf life. This is a simple way of choosing quality sweet potatoes in the market.

Go for those that seem to have more water and the white, milky stuff because it indicates freshness. If you’re looking at the texture of your sweet potatoes to know if they’re spoiled, look for mushiness and wrinkles.

However, not all wrinkled sweet potatoes are spoiled. If your potatoes are just hard and wrinkled without the other signs of spoiling like mold, foul smell, and sprouts, you can still be able to cook and eat them safely.

Just remove any parts that appear to have discoloration and cook the rest. If you’re in the market looking for fresh sweet potatoes, go for the ones that feel completely hard with no wrinkles. The surface of a fresh sweet potato should be completely smooth and firm.


about sweet potato

The demand for sweet potatoes in the world continues to rise as more people continue to appreciate the nutritional benefits of these root vegetables. This has also seen the number of questions about sweet potatoes increase significantly, with many people wanting to know how they can prolong the shelf life of their sweet potatoes.

We’ve prepared some of the commonly asked questions about sweet potatoes and their answers to help you understand how to take care of your potatoes and enjoy maximum benefits from them.

1. What’s the best way to store sweet potatoes?

The best way to store your sweet potatoes is to keep them in a cool, dry place with enough ventilation. You shouldn’t refrigerate your sweet potatoes, especially if you plan to cook them within one month or less.

Refrigeration causes the center of a sweet potato to harden and the entire potato to have an unpleasant taste. You should also store your sweet potatoes away from fruits and vegetables because they’ll make them ripen faster.

2. What should I do with my sprouted sweet potatoes?

You can either throw your sprouted potatoes away or cut out the areas with sprouts and cook the rest. You can plant the sprouted parts or the entire potato in your kitchen garden for more supplies of fresh sweet potatoes.

If you want to plant the sprouted sweet potatoes, put them in a jar with water and keep them there for a few days to allow them to develop roots. Once the roots are one inch long, remove them from the water and plant them in your garden.

3. Is it advisable to freeze your sweet potatoes?

Yes, you can freeze your sweet potatoes, but you should cook them first. This will increase their shelf life and help them retain their original taste and nutrients for a long time. This way, you can just reheat them when you want to add them to your meals.

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