Can Potatoes Be Stored In The Refrigerator? [Peeled, Baked, Etc.]

Potatoes on a table

Potatoes will last for two months or more when stored properly. Store them in a cool and dry space and they will not only last long but also retain their nutritional quality. Since cool temperatures are ideal for potato storage, can potatoes be stored in the refrigerator?

You shouldn’t store potatoes in the refrigerator without cooking them first. At low temperatures, the starch in potatoes transforms into sugars and turns them brown. It’s best to store them at temperatures slightly above refrigeration. They stay well in cool, dark places with good air circulation.

Let’s look at this in more detail now.

Why Shouldn’t You Store Raw Potatoes In The Refrigerator?

We store most vegetables and fruits in the refrigerator to extend their lifespan. However, a few vegetables like onions and potatoes are best left out of the refrigerator.

In the case of potatoes, storage temperature affects their life span as well as nutritional quality.

The ideal storage temperature for potatoes is between 43°F and 50°F. Potatoes last for several weeks when stored at this temperature.

Additionally, they retain their Vitamin C levels and don’t sprout in a cool environment. When the temperature increases, their Vitamin C content begins to decrease.

The eyes on the spuds will also turn green and produce shoots and roots when it gets too warm.

So keeping potatoes in a cool environment is beneficial.

However, the operating temperature of refrigerators is below the ideal range for potato storage. This presents certain risks.

Firstly, storing potatoes in the fridge activates an enzyme that converts starch to glucose and fructose. This leads to the formation of acrylamide during cooking.

Studies suggest that acrylamide is a very harmful agent. To avert any associated risk, keep your potatoes outside the refrigerator.

Another factor is that refrigerating potatoes can make them change color during cooking. Refrigerated potatoes become brown during cooking.

The breakdown of sugars will also make the potatoes taste sweeter than they initially were.

So what is the best way to store potatoes?

The best way to store uncooked potatoes is in a bag or basket that allows good air circulation. Place the bag in a cool, dry space, away from heat and light.

How To Store Potatoes If It Gets Too Warm Where You Live?

Warm and humid storage conditions aren’t ideal for potato storage. They will not last as long as they should and will sprout when the ambient temperature increases.

Too much moisture will also encourage them to sprout quickly.

Potatoes do best in temperature and humidity-controlled spaces, like root cellars or pantries. It should be away from sunlight.

Sunlight promotes photosynthesis, and too much exposure can speed up the development of shoots.

However, if you don’t have such a space and it gets too warm where you live, you can refrigerate or freeze them after cooking.

Cooking potatoes deactivates the enzymes that make their starch break down. Hence, they will not discolor or turn sweet.

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Important Storage Tips To Extend The Life Of Potatoes

The following storage tips will make your potatoes last longer.

  • Ensure good air circulation: Place potatoes in a mesh bag or basket that allows proper airflow. Also, ensure that the storage space is well-ventilated to prevent the build-up of moisture. Too much moisture can also lead to mold formation, making the potatoes unfit for consumption.
  • Store them in a dark place: It’s not a good idea to keep potatoes on the countertop, where they are exposed to light. The presence of sunlight will encourage photosynthesis. So the potatoes will produce new growth. The formation of shoots and roots will make them unsafe for consumption.
  • Keep them away from other produce: Placing potatoes with onions, bananas, apples, or any other produce is a big no! Most fruits and vegetables produce ethylene gas during storage. This gas triggers sprouting in potatoes. It will also speed up spoilage of other produce. So keep your potatoes far away from all other produce to prevent damage to both.

Do Potatoes Need To Be Refrigerated After Being Cut?

Potatoes are highly prone to oxidization when cut. They turn brown and look very unattractive within minutes of being cut. Hence, it’s not a good idea to cut potatoes ahead of time.

Refrigerating cut potatoes will not stop them from spoiling. However, you can refrigerate them by placing the potatoes in a bowl of cold water. They will hold up for 24 hours when stored in this manner.

Nevertheless, it’s always better to cook potatoes partially or fully before refrigerating them.

Do Cooked Potatoes Need To Be Refrigerated?

Cooked potatoes

Cooked food is more prone to food spoilage than raw food due to bacteria growth. Cooked potatoes aren’t an exception.

If you leave cooked potatoes at room temperature, they will spoil in a few hours. It’s generally not safe to consume cooked potatoes after two hours of preparation.

If you cook your potatoes with ingredients like cream, cheese, or butter, you shouldn’t even wait for two hours to refrigerate them.

These perishable ingredients will increase the pace of spoiling and make them unsafe for consumption.

If you wish to extend their life and use them later, it’s always best to put cooked potatoes in the refrigerator at 40°F or less.

Do Baked Potatoes Need To Be Refrigerated?

Baked potatoes are best consumed fresh and hot. They will be fine for two to three hours after preparation when left at room temperature.

Nevertheless, leaving them outside for too long will cause bacteria to grow on their surface.

If you wish to store leftover baked potatoes for later, put them in the refrigerator as soon as they cool down.

Once they reach room temperature, wrap them in aluminum foil or place them in an airtight container before putting them in the refrigerator.

Storing baked potatoes in the refrigerator slows down the formation of bacteria. However, it doesn’t eliminate the risk completely.

Hence, try to consume the potatoes within a few days of refrigeration. If you wish to store them for much longer, it’s better to freeze them.

Can Peeled Potatoes Be Stored In The Refrigerator?

Like cut potatoes, peeled potatoes also oxidize when exposed to air. They turn brown and look very unappetizing.

Leaving them at room temperature speeds up the oxidization process. However, storing them in the refrigerator doesn’t halt this process. It will only slow it down.

Wrapping peeled potatoes in aluminum foil or placing them in an airtight bag will not stop them from changing color.

Instead, you should submerge the peeled potatoes in water and refrigerate the entire bowl.

When you store peeled potatoes in water, they will keep for 24 hours or longer. To keep them fresh for much longer, we recommend cooking them partially or fully.

Can White Potatoes Be Stored In The Refrigerator?

White potatoes are better suited than other varieties for potato salads because of their dense flesh. However, the skin of these potatoes is more delicate.

The best way to store white potatoes is in a cool, dry place at a temperature just above refrigeration level. They will last for three to five weeks when stored like this.

Storing white potatoes in the refrigerator is far from ideal. Cold temperatures will make their complex sugars break down and make them sweeter.

If you must refrigerate white potatoes, it’s best to cook them beforehand.

Can Russet Potatoes Be Stored In The Refrigerator?

Russet potatoes will last for 3 to 5 weeks at room temperature when you store them in a cool, dry, and dark place.

We don’t recommend storing them in the refrigerator since refrigerated Russet potatoes become sweeter and change color during cooking.

If you must refrigerate Russet potatoes, submerge the cut pieces in a bowl of water and store them as such.

The better option is to cook them before placing them in the refrigerator. Cooking will deactivate the enzyme that converts complex sugars into simpler forms. Hence, they will not turn sweet or change color.

Can Seed Potatoes Be Stored In The Refrigerator?

If you wish to use seed potatoes for planting in the upcoming season, you must store them properly. To be viable, they should go for months without developing sprouts or spoiling.

The best way to store seed potatoes is in a cool, dark, and dry space. The storage temperature should be between 40°F and 42°F.

The seed potatoes shouldn’t brush against each other and develop cuts. Additionally, they shouldn’t be exposed to humidity or heat.

It’s not necessary to refrigerate seed potatoes; they will hold up well outside. Refrigerator temperatures are below the ideal storage temperature range for seed potatoes. Hence, it’s better to store them outside.

You will have to move the seed potatoes out of storage to a warmer space a few days before planting.

They need temperatures between 50°F and 55°F during this phase. This exposure to warmth will kick them out of dormancy and prepare them for sprouting.

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Can Sweet Potatoes Be Stored In The Refrigerator?

Although sweet potatoes have the term “potato” in their name, they’re only distantly related to potatoes.

Nevertheless, sweet potatoes are also root vegetables, and their storage requirements are like normal potatoes.

The best way to store sweet potatoes is in a dry bin or basket in a cool section of the pantry, away from heat and sunlight. They will keep for several weeks when you store them like this.

Storing sweet potatoes in the refrigerator will extend their life. However, it’s far from ideal.

The cold refrigerator air will activate their starch and convert it to sugar. This will alter their taste, making them much sweeter.

Another problem with refrigerating sweet potatoes is that the cold fridge environment makes their center hard. This will reduce their appeal when cooked.

Now, if you must refrigerate sweet potatoes, cut them into pieces and submerge them completely in water. Store them in the same container overnight and use them the next day.

It’s better to cook sweet potatoes before refrigerating them. This will deactivate the enzymes that break down their starch. Cooked sweet potatoes will keep for up to a week.

If you want your sweet potatoes to last even longer, you can freeze them. To prepare sweet potatoes for freezing, you should either blanch, boil, cook, or mash them first.

You can also quickly boil them for two to five minutes, blanch them in ice water, and directly pack them into airtight freezer-safe bags.

Alternatively, you can also flash-freeze sweet potatoes before packing them into bags. It will make it more convenient to take them out later and use them.