Trying to get get as much done as possible before the big roast? Sweet potatoes are one of the things you can prep in advance.
As long as you know how to store them properly!
How do you store cut sweet potatoes?
To store raw cut sweet potatoes, submerge them in cold water and keep them in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can also freeze them for up to 6 months (blanching them first). To store cooked sweet potatoes, cool them to room temperature and put them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
How to store raw cut sweet potatoes
Usually, the advice is not to store sweet potatoes in the fridge.
This is because cold temperatures can cause the starch in the potato to convert to sugar, and this hardens the potato.
However, this advice changes once you cut the sweet potato.
An uncooked cut sweet potato should be kept submerged in cold water in the fridge. In an airtight container the potatoes will last for 3-4 days, but for the best quality eat them within 24 hours.
The cold water will stop the sweet potatoes from oxidizing, drying out, and turning brown. While brown sweet potatoes are fine to eat, they don’t look all that appetizing!
Psst… you can also freeze the cut potatoes if you want them to last longer (more on that later).
The water must be cold.
The fridge will do a good enough job of keeping the water cold, but some people like to put a few ice cubes in with the water to keep it as cold as possible.
A secondary benefit of soaking the sweet potatoes in water is that all the surface starch will get washed off. If you’re planning to fry or roast the potatoes, this will ensure they’re extra crispy.
If you’re going to cook the potatoes in any sort of oil or fat, make sure you dry them thoroughly beforehand.
Putting wet potatoes in oil can cause a lot of spitting and even cause the oil to explode. Definitely something you want to avoid.
Related: How To Save Half A Banana
Do raw sweet potatoes go bad after cutting?
Cutting a sweet potato won’t speed up the process of the potato going bad, but any exposed skin will dry out and turn brown unless you submerge it in water.
If you cut a sweet potato in half and leave the cut open at room temperature for a few days, you’ll notice that the potato ‘heals’ itself.
The cut skin will dry out creating a protective barrier for the rest of the potato. When you want to use the potato, you can simply cut off the dry end and use the rest as normal.
If you’ve peeled and cut the potato into small chunks, the same logic applies.
The potato won’t go bad immediately, but all the exposed skin will dry out.
This will leave the chunks pretty small and useless once you cut off all the dry bits! To avoid this, keep the cut sweet potato covered in water in the fridge.
How to store cooked cut sweet potatoes
The advice for how to store cooked sweet potato is the same no matter what cooking method you used. You need to wait for the sweet potato to cool to room temperature before putting it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
If you put still-hot potatoes in an airtight container, they’ll sweat and become soggy due to the excess moisture.
If you want the potatoes to last longer than 5 days, you can also freeze them for up to a year.
Cooked potatoes won’t oxidize, so you don’t need to worry about any discoloration.
If you’re storing sweet potato fries, they might lose their crunch after a few days. But you can quickly rectify this by heating them in the oven for a few minutes before serving.
Related: How To Reheat Sweet Potato Fries
How to store a peeled sweet potato
If you’ve peeled the sweet potato but not cut it, yet you should still submerge it in water and keep it in the fridge where it will last 3-4 days. Some people recommend wrapping the peeled potato in plastic and storing it that way, but this wont prevent browning.
Although the peeled potatoes will last for 3-4 days, for best quality aim to use them within 24 hours.
Can you freeze sweet potatoes?
Sweet potatoes are great for freezing.
You can freeze them cooked or raw (although you’ll need to blanch them first). To freeze cut sweet potatoes I pre-freeze them on a baking tray first, then transfer them to a freezer bag. If the sweet potatoes are whole, you can wrap them plastic wrap and foil.
How to freeze raw sweet potatoes:
- Peel and cut the sweet potato into your desired final shape
- Put the sweet potato into boiling water for 2-3 minutes depending on the size of the pieces
- Transfer the sweet potatoes straight into ice-cold water and leave them there for a further 2-3 minutes. This stops the cooking process.
- Spread the sweet potato out on a parchment paper lined baking tray and freeze then for around an hour.
- Transfer the partially frozen sweet potatoes to a freezer bag and place in the freezer.
- Use within 6 months for best results.
The reason you need to blanch the sweet potatoes first is to get rid of excess moisture.
Sweet potatoes have very high water content and if you freeze them raw, this water will turn into ice crystals, affecting both the flavor and texture of the potato.
When you cook frozen raw potatoes that haven’t been blanched they almost always turn to mush. Unblanched sweet potatoes also turn black in the freezer due to oxidation.
To prolong the potatoes’ life as much as possible, squeeze all the air out of the bag before putting it away.
If you have a vacuum sealer machine, this would be a great time to use it. Vacuum sealing the bag guarantees all the air is gone and will therefore prevent freezer burn. Freezer burn ruins the flavor of the potatoes and is caused by too much direct contact with cold air.
To thaw the blanched sweet potato, you can either use the microwave or put it in the fridge. Or you can use it straight from frozen if it makes sense for your recipe.
Try and use the potatoes within 24 hours of taking them out of the freezer. You can also cook them straight from frozen if that’s more convenient.
How to freeze cooked sweet potato:
- Cool the sweet potato down to room temperature
- Scatter the potato pieces onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper and put them in the freezer for 30-60 minutes. This is called pre-freezing.
- Transfer all the potato pieces into a freezer-proof container or bag, label it with the date and put it in the freezer.
- The potato will last for around 12 months.
Cooling the potatoes down before you freeze them is critical.
If you put the potatoes in the freezer while they’re still warm, the condensation that forms will create ice crystals and lead to mushy potatoes.
Pre-freezing is useful because it stops the potatoes freezing into one big clump. After 30 minutes, the individual bits of sweet potato will be hard enough not to stick together in their final container.
Depending on how much room you have in your freezer, you might have to repeat the pre-freezing step several times to get all the potato partially frozen.
Pro tip: if you plan to mash the cut potatoes before you eat them, you can do this before you freeze them.
Mashed potatoes freeze very well, even when you’ve mixed them with cream and cheese and all the things that make mashed potatoes so delicious!
How To Store Cut Sweet Potato
- Airtight container
- 1 portion cut sweet potato
- An uncooked cut sweet potato should be kept submerged in cold water in the fridge.
- In an airtight container the potatoes will last for 3-4 days, but for the best quality eat them within 24 hours.
- The water must be cold. The fridge will do a good enough job of keeping the water cold, but some people like to put a few ice cubes in with the water to keep it as cold as possible.
Freezing raw cut sweet potatoes
- It’s best to avoid freezing uncooked sweet potatoes unless you blanch them first.
- Peel and cut the sweet potatoes
- Put the cut sweet potato into boiling water for 2-3 minutes depending on the size of the pieces
- Transfer the sweet potatoes straight into ice-cold water and leave them there for a further 2-3 minutes. This stops the cooking process
- Once you’ve blanched the potatoes you can portion them out and put them in freezer-safe bags. Portioning the potatoes out is very important because they'll stick together once they’re frozen.
- You can also date the bag so you’ll know how long they’ve been in the freezer.
- The sweet potatoes will last around 6 months in the freezer.