Potatoes are one of the best valued foods and a staple for many. Eating a poorly stored potato can have health issues. But when they are correctly stored, potatoes can last long and offer amazing health benefits.

In the whole world today, several varieties of potatoes are cultivated. What’s good with potatoes is that they can be consumed in several ways and can be mixed or eaten alongside a variety of foods. You may, therefore, want to stock a bag of potatoes in your pantry for future and emergency uses. Potatoes are vegetables, and just like any other vegetable, they need to be kept for a certain amount of time lest they go off. If you want to keep your potatoes safely and for a long time, this article is your way through. Keep reading.

Potato’s Shelf Life

Some factors may shorten or lengthen the shelf life of your stored potatoes. They include the storage temperature or preparation status of the potato itself. A raw potato, for example, can keep for several weeks up to months, depending on the storage temperature at which you keep it. In cold temperatures like the fridge, a potato can last for some days while it can last up to 12 months in a freezer. When a potato has been cooked, its shelf life reduces to 4 days in a fridge but up to 12 months in a freezer.

Generally, raw potato can store up to 2-3 months when kept around 10 degrees Celsius. When stored at room temperature, a raw potato can only last for 1-2 weeks. A well-cooked potato can keep for only 3 to 4 days in a refrigerator, but it can last for 10-12 months in a frozen condition. Instant and uncooked potatoes, however, can last for years.

Signs of a Spoiled Potato

It is not enough to know the shelf life of potatoes. Even if you have kept them under the best condition, you still need to be checking them for signs of spoiling. How can you do that?

Whole Fresh Potatoes

Take your raw potato into your hand. A fresh one should feel firm to touch, and its skin should be intact and tight. If there are black spots or bruises, then your potato is going off. It would help if you did not consume or keep storing a mushy potato or soft to touch. It would be best if you rather threw it out. The scent also matters when assessing the status of a potato. Usually, a fresh and raw potato should have an earthy or nutty smell. You will automatically know that your potato has gone bad if there is a moldy or musty odor.

In some cases, a potato may look fresh from the outside, but the inside is rotting. A strong foul smell emanating from such a potato is a hallmark of rotting. Any potato with an unusual smell should be discarded.

Assessing Sprouted Potatoes

Sprouting in any potato should be considered a sign of spoiling. Fingers should remove sprouts that have just started to stem out. Such a potato is deemed fresh and should not be left to stay. You need not throw it out but instead consume it the very day. However, it would help if you watched out for the sprouts. They can seriously impact your health by altering the digestive and neurological systems. You may present with vomiting, headaches, and diarrhea. Sprouts usually contain toxic glycoalkaloids such as solanine and chaconine. It is also advisable to cut out any green part of a potato as these toxins may exist anywhere on the potato. Allowing sprouts to grow for long on your potatoes will only deprive them of sugars and nutrients.

What About Cooked Potatoes?

The assessment for spoilage on raw potatoes can be quite easy. When it comes to cooked ones, it may be a bit hard. Even as fresh as they may seem, cooked potatoes may contain dangerous bacteria which may go unnoticed. However, the common sign of spoilage in a cooked potato is the formation of mold. A strong odor may also emanate. Cooked potatoes are usually acidic, contain protein, and retain moisture. This makes it easy for bacteria to colonize them and, when eaten, can cause food poisoning.

Is There Any Health Risk Associated with Eating Spoiled Potatoes?

The answer to this question is a bold yes. Spoiled potatoes have already been colonized by harmful bacteria, which is a high risk of food poisoning. Eating such foods may result in sicknesses like botulism listeria, salmonella, and staphylococcal food poisoning. The immediate signs and symptoms of food poisoning include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, fever, muscle pains, and abdominal pains. If not diagnosed and treated early, these symptoms can get to severe levels and complicate to dehydration, electrolyte loss, and sometimes even death.

If you have stored a cooked potato for more than four days, you need to throw it out to avoid becoming sick. This also applies to a potato that has started growing mold on it. In many cases, mold appears as spots with varied colors such as black, bluish-gray, brown, white, or red.

How To Best Store Your Potato

Understanding and focusing on storage conditions may help extend the shelf life of your potatoes. Maybe just as a reminder, you need to know that sprouts tend to grow in moisture and warm temperatures, while the formation of toxic glycoalkaloids is increased by exposure to light. Keeping that in mind, you should avoid keeping your raw potatoes in the open or on the counter. The best way to keep them rather is to store them in a cool, dark, and dry place. A cupboard, pantry, or cellar can do better. You also should not seal uncooked potatoes in an airtight bag. Rather, leave them intact in a box or open bowl.


Potatoes are a delicious meal that can be eaten in many forms. However, when they are not stored correctly, potatoes can be colonized by and harbor harmful bacteria. Raw potatoes can last for 3-4 months at room temperature, while cooked potatoes can last for 10-12 months in a freezer. Hallmarks of spoiling in a potato include mold formation, musty smell, and sprouting.

Charlotte Cremers

MS, University of Tartu Sleep specialist Using the acquired academic and professional experience, I advise patients with various complaints about mental health - depressed mood, nervousness, lack of energy and interest, sleep disorders, panic attacks, obsessive thoughts and anxieties, difficulty concentrating, and stress. In my free time, I love to paint and go on long walks on the beach. One of my latest obsessions is sudoku – a wonderful activity to calm an unease mind.