How to know when a sweet potato is bad?

Updated November 21, 2016

Sweet potatoes can be found in recipes and diets all over the World. They are nutrient dense and are an excellent source of vitamins C and A. Unfortunately, as many sweet potato familiar chefs know, they tend to go bad quickly. When sweet potatoes begin to spoil, there really isn't a whole lot you can do other than throw them in the garbage. The flavour of the potato changes as the outer skin spoils, so it is important that you catch decay early to preserve the integrity of this tuber.

Check the skin of the sweet potato for black marks, rippling of the skin, squishy spots, sprouts, bruises and foul odour. If any of these markers are present, discard the potato.

Slice a portion of the potato away and examine the flesh. If the flesh is discoloured or if it has taken on an unpleasant smell, the sweet potato has spoiled and should not be used.

Taste the potato (raw or cooked) and determine if it has taken on an "off" flavour. Even small decay marks or discolouration can change the flavour of a sweet potato. The decayed flavour permeates the flesh, making the potatoes unusable.


Store your sweet potatoes in a cool and dry location (garage, cellar, pantry, etc.). At room temperatures, sweet potatoes will only keep for up to a week. If stored properly they can keep for a month or more. Do not store the potatoes in the refrigerator as this will cause the potato to develop a hard core and will change the flavour. Do not wash the potatoes until you are ready to cook with them. Exposing the skins to water will increase the rate of decay.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp knife
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