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I've purchased a bunch of sweet potatoes but was unable to prepare them.

How long can I store sweet potatoes before they spoil?

Also, what are the best methods or means of storing sweet potatoes? Are there any differences between storing regular potatoes and sweet potatoes?

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Generally, the storage of sweet potatoes is similar to that of actual potatoes. Keep them in a cool, dark, dry place. Let them breathe (i.e. not in a plastic bag).

Your results may depend on the weather (temperature and humidity), but I live where it's hot and humid, and sweet potatoes will easily last two weeks. This is where potatoes may last only about a week or so.

  • what if the plastic bag has holes in it? if not plastic bag, then what? – Theta30 Jan 23 '12 at 2:14
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    I just put them on a small wooden shelf I have under my "island" counter-top. They don't need to be in anything, they just sit there. If it's summer and there's a lot of light about, I may cover them with one of my aprons. – Carmi Jan 23 '12 at 5:27
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My parents stored them for months. Sort them removing any damaged or bruised ones and eat those so that you are only storing ones that are not likely to rot quickly. Get a large box - even a cardboard box. Put a layer of fine sand, place the sweet potatoes then cover with sand and put in another layer. Do it gently so you don't bruise any. Exclude light, allow to breath, keep in a cool area and remove only those you want to eat. I am trying to find the source of this method of storage - my grandfather was from Ireland and he used it. My father says it was English when they had walled gardens. We used it in Africa and I remember the sweetpotatoes storing for months.

  • Hi Pamela, welcome to this site and thanks for the 'sweet' answer. +1. – BaffledCook May 6 '12 at 9:57
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Livingston, California's sweet potato packing sheds store sweet potatoes for up to a year. Each year's crop is harvested from late August into early October. They are kept in the dark, in either 20 pound bins or 1,000 pound bins, in dry warehouses with temperatures of about 55 - 59 degrees Fahrenheit.

A noticeable percentage of the sweet potatoes go bad each month. (When sweet potatoes rot, they release moisture, which can help adjacent sweet potatoes also go bad.) Depending on the quality of the sweet potatoes, they are shipped to six different kinds of customers:

  1. Packing shed workers, who can take the pick of the crop home to their families as a perk.
  2. High quality groceries that insist on only getting the best. These grocery stores pay higher prices per pound.
  3. Good grocery stores.
  4. Grocery stores that only inspect the top layer of some boxes. (Each box contains 40 pounds of sweet potatoes. Ironically, some of these stores brag about the quality of their produce.)
  5. Companies that make candied yams. (They cut off the bad parts of sweet potatoes, and seriously cook the remaining parts.)
  6. Pig farmers.

The storage conditions matter. If sweet potatoes are stored in an environment (without air conditioning) that fluctuates between 70 - 105 degrees Fahrenheit, even handpicked sweet potatoes taken home by the packing shed workers will only last a week. Whereas pristine sweet potatoes from a high-quality grocery stored in a dry environment that fluctuates between 60 - 70 degrees Fahrenheit often last three weeks -- even after being trucked 3,000 miles. Worse quality sweet potatoes may last 4 - 10 days.

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