Learn How to Tell if a Sweet Potato is Bad in 3 Simple Steps

Sweet potatoes are a popular food item many people worldwide enjoy. Unfortunately, like any other perishable food item, sweet potatoes can also go wrong and become unsafe to consume. Understanding how to tell if a sweet potato is bad is essential in preventing foodborne illnesses and avoiding the waste of food items. But how do you know if a sweet potato is no longer safe to consume? In this article, we will explore the different signs of a bad sweet potato and how to store them to ensure maximum freshness properly. So, to avoid unpleasant surprises in your meals, keep reading to learn more about how to tell if a sweet potato is bad.

What Is A Sweet Potato?

What Is A Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are native to Central and South America and have been cultivated for thousands of years. They were introduced to Europe by Christopher Columbus in the late 15th century and have since become a popular food in many parts of the world.

Sweet potatoes come in a variety of colors, ranging from white to orange to purple. The flesh of the sweet potato can also vary in color, depending on the variety. The most common color is orange, which is rich in beta-carotene, an important nutrient for eye health.

One of the most interesting things about sweet potatoes is that they are not potatoes. While they are both root vegetables, sweet potatoes belong to a different family than potatoes. This is why sweet potatoes have a different nutritional profile than potatoes.

Sweet potatoes are a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are particularly high in vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium. They are also relatively low in calories, making them a great addition to any healthy diet.

When it comes to cooking sweet potatoes, there are many options. They can be baked, roasted, boiled, or fried. They can also be used in a variety of dishes, from sweet potato pie to sweet potato fries.

How to Tell if a Sweet Potato is Bad?

Here’s how to tell if a sweet potato is bad: inspect the skin for any discoloration or mold growth, and avoid potatoes with a soft, mushy texture or a pungent odor. Additionally, ensure the sweet potato has no dark spots, holes, or green fuzz. If you notice these signs, it’s time to say goodbye to that sweet potato. But if it looks and smells okay, chances are it’s still good to eat!

1. Mold and Soft Spots

One of the most obvious signs that a sweet potato is bad is mold. If you notice any mold growing on the potato, discard it immediately. Mold can be dangerous to consume and can cause health problems. Soft spots are another indicator that a sweet potato is going bawrongWhen a sweet potato has weak spots, it has started to rot. You should avoid consuming sweet potatoes with soft spots because they can harm your health.

2. Smell

Another way to tell if a sweet potato is bad is by smelling it. If the sweet potato has an unpleasant odor, it is a sign that it has gone bad. Sweet potato should have a slightly sweet and earthy smell. If it smells sour or musty, it is best to discard it.

3. Texture

When a sweet potato goes bad, its texture changes. It can become slimy or mushy to the touch. You should avoid consuming sweet potatoes with a dirty or mushy texture because they can harm your health.

4. Appearance

The appearance of a sweet potato can also indicate whether it is bad or not. If the sweet potato has shriveled or wrinkled skin, it may suggest that it is past its prime. You should also avoid sweet potatoes with black spots or discoloration. These are signs that the sweet potato has started to rot.

5. Taste

You can taste it if you are still unsure whether a sweet potato is a bad or a sweet potato that has gone bad will taste sour or bitter. If the sweet potato has a sweet and earthy taste, it is safe to consume.

How To Tell If A Japanese Sweet Potato Is Bad?

How To Tell If A Japanese Sweet Potato Is Bad

If you’re wondering how to tell if a Japanese sweet potato is bad, there are a few tell-tale signs to look out for. One of the easiest ways is to squeeze the sweet potato gently – if it feels soft or mushy, it’s past its prime. The discoloration is another indication of spoilage, with black and brown spots being the most common. If you spot any mold, it’s a sure sign that the sweet potato has gone bad – and since mold can spread quickly, it’s a good idea to check other sweet potatoes in the same batch. An off-odor is another clear indication that the sweet potato is no longer fresh. If you detect any soft, spongy spots or the potato has turned dark brown or black, this is also a sign of spoilage.

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What Color Should The Flesh Of A Good Sweet Potato Be?

What Color Should The Flesh Of A Good Sweet Potato Be

Firstly, it’s essential to understand that there are two main types of sweet potatoes: the orange-fleshed sweet potato and the white-fleshed sweet potato. Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are the most commonly consumed type of sweet potato in the United States, and they are known for their vibrant orange color. White-fleshed sweet potatoes, on the other hand, are less common and have a more subtle flavor.

InRegardingutritional value, both sweet potatoes are excellent sources of vitamins A and C, potassium, and fiber. The color of the flesh does not necessarily determine the nutritional value of the sweet potato, the flesh of a good sweet potato can vary depending on the type, growing conditions, and storage conditions.

However, some studies suggest that orange-fleshed sweet potatoes may have higher levels of antioxidants than white-fleshed sweet potatoes. Both orange-fleshed and white-fleshed sweet potatoes are nutritious and delicious, and the color of the flesh should not be the sole determining factor when choosing a sweet potato.

What Should The Skin Of A Good Sweet Potato Look Like?

Ideally, the skin of a sweet potato should be smooth, firm, and free of blemishes. The color of the skin may vary depending on the variety of sweet potato, but generally, it should be a consistent color without any discoloration or spots.

When you’re picking sweet potatoes, scrutinize the skin. Avoid sweet potatoes with cuts, bruises, or soft spots. These signs of damage indicate that the sweet potato is spoiled. Additionally, I suppose the skin of the sweet potato is wrinkled or has an uneven texture, In that case,t may be an indication that the sweet potato is old or has been stored improperly.

Another thing to consider when choosing sweet potatoes is the thickness of the skin. Thick skin is a sign of a healthy sweet potato. However, you want to avoid sweet potatoes with overly thick skin as they may be difficult to peel and have a woody texture.

Is It Safe To Eat Old Sweet Potatoes?

When it comes to eating old sweet potatoes, it’s always better to err on the side of caution. While sweet potatoes generally don’t go bad or rot as other vegetables do, their taste can change over time, making them less enjoyable. Signs of spoilage, such as strong odors, mold, wilting, discoloration, or softness, indicate that the sweet potato has gone bad and should be discarded. Therefore, it’s not worth risking eating old sweet potatoes as it can lead to food poisoning or other illnesses.

Can You Still Use A Sweet Potato If It Has A Slightly Moldy Smell?

If someone is wondering whether they can still use a sweet potato if it has a slightly moldy smell, the answer is no. Mold growth is a sign that the sweet potato has gone bad and it can cause harm to the body if ingested. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to food safety. Instead of risking a potential illness, it’s recommended to discard the sweet potato and find a fresh one to use for cooking.

Is There Any Way To Salvage A Sweet Potato That Is Starting To Rot?

Is There Any Way To Salvage A Sweet Potato That Is Starting To Rot

As a lover of all things sweet potato, I’ve had my fair share of the heartbreak that comes with discovering one starting to rot. Seeing a once vibrant and delicious vegetable slowly wither away is sad. However, over the years, I’ve learned a few tricks to salvage a sweet potato that’s starting to go bad. So, is there any way to salvage a sweet potato starting to rot? The answer is yes, but it depends on the extent of the rot.

First, it’s important to know that sweet potatoes are prone to rotting, especially if stored in a damp or humid environment. To prevent this from happening, make sure to store your sweet potatoes in a cool, dry place with good ventilation. If you notice any signs of rotting, it’s best to act quickly.

If the rot is in the early stages and is only affecting a small part of the sweet potato, you may be able to salvage it. Begin by cutting away the affected area with a sharp knife, removing all the rotten flesh. Then, rinse the sweet potato under cold running water to remove any remaining bacteria. Once you’ve done this, you can cook and eat the sweet potato as you normally would.

If the rot has spread to a larger portion of the sweet potato, your options may be more limited. However, you can still salvage some sweet potatoes by cutting away the rotten parts and using the remaining healthy flesh. Just thoroughly inspect the sweet potato and remove all rotten areas before cooking.

If you’re still unsure whether or not a sweet potato is salvageable, use your senses to help you. A sweet potato starting to rot will often give off a foul odor, so if you catch a whiff of something unpleasant, it’s best to err on the side of caution and discard the sweet potato.

How Long Do Sweet Potatoes Last?

Sweet potatoes are delicious and nutritious root vegetables that can last quite a while if stored properly. When covered in cold water, they can last up to a day. Raw sweet potatoes do not freeze well, but cooked ones can be stored in the freezer for 10 to 12 months with the best quality.

In the fridge, cooked sweet potatoes can last up to four days, while raw ones can last a few weeks when properly stored. Sweat potatoes can last up to two weeks if kept in a cool, dry pantry. While they can lose flavor and texture after 3-4 days, sealing cut sweet potatoes in a plastic bag, or airtight container before refrigeration can extend their freshness for up to 5 days.

What To Do With A Bad Sweet Potato?

  1. Compost it. If you have a compost bin or pile, toss that bad boy in there. Sweet potatoes make great compost material because they’re high in nutrients and organic matter. Just be sure to chop it into smaller pieces so it breaks down faster.
  2. Feed it to your pets. If you have a dog or cat, they might enjoy a little bit of cooked sweet potato as a treat. However, if the sweet potato is moldy or visibly spoiled, it’s best to avoid giving it to your pets.
  3. Use it as a natural dye. Did you know that sweet potatoes can be used to dye fabric? Boil the potato until soft, mash it up, and strain out the liquid. Use the liquid to dye the fabric yellow or orange.
  4. Turn it into a face mask. Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins and antioxidants for your skin. Mash up the potato, mix it with a little bit of honey and coconut oil, and apply it to your face for a DIY spa treatment.
  5. Experiment in the kitchen. Just because a sweet potato is bad doesn’t mean you can’t use it in cooking. Cut off the bad parts and see if the rest of the potato is salvageable. You can try mashing, frying, roasting, or turning it into soup.
  6. Roast it simply. Assuming you could salvage most of the potato, let’s talk about what you can do with it. One option is to roast it simply. Cut the potato into small chunks, toss it in some olive oil and seasonings of your choice (I recommend garlic powder and paprika), and roast it in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 25-30 minutes or until it’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Voila! You’ve got a delicious side dish.

How To Choose Good Sweet Potatoes?

Here are some tips on how to choose good sweet potatoes:

1. Look for smooth skin

When choosing sweet potatoes, look for ones with smooth skin. Rough or cracked skin can indicate that the sweet potato is older or has been stored improperly, which can affect its taste and texture.

2. Check for firmness

A good sweet potato should be firm to the touch, without any soft or mushy spots. Sweet potato may be overripe or spoiled if it feels soft or mushy.

3. Choose the right size

Sweet potatoes come in a variety of sizes, but it’s best to choose sweet potatoes that are medium to large in size. Smaller sweet potatoes can be tough and fibrous, while larger sweet potatoes can be too starchy.

4. Check the color

Sweet potatoes come in a range of colors, from pale yellow to deep orange. When choosing sweet potatoes, look for ones with a rich, vibrant color. A dull or pale color can be a sign that the sweet potato is old or has been stored improperly.

5. Smell it

A good sweet potato should have a slightly sweet, earthy smell. If a sweet potato smells sour or musty, it may be spoiled.

In conclusion, choosing good sweet potatoes is easy as long as you keep these tips in mind. Look for ones with smooth skin, firmness, the right size, vibrant color, and a sweet smell.

How Can You Properly Store Sweet Potatoes To Prevent Them From Spoiling Too Quickly?

How Can You Properly Store Sweet Potatoes To Prevent Them From Spoiling Too Quickly

First, it’s essential to understand that sweet potatoes should be stored in a cool, dry place. This means avoiding any areas with excess moisture or heat, such as the refrigerator or a sunny windowsill. Instead, opt for a pantry or cupboard that is well-ventilated and away from any sources of heat.

It’s also important to inspect them for any signs of damage or decay. Any sweet potatoes with soft spots or bruises should be set aside and used as soon as possible to avoid them affecting the rest of your batch.

Regardless of the type of container you choose, it’s important to make sure your sweet potatoes are not overcrowded. This can lead to excess moisture buildup and cause them to spoil more quickly. Instead, aim to store your sweet potatoes in a single layer, with a little bit of space between each potato.

Finally, checking on your sweet potatoes regularly is important to ensure they are still fresh. If you notice any signs of spoilage, such as mold or a foul odor, it’s best to discard them immediately to prevent them from affecting the rest of your batch.

Can You Still Eat Sweet Potatoes That Have Sprouted?

If you’ve ever found yourself staring down a sweet potato sprouting some strange green tendrils, you might wonder whether it’s still safe to eat. The good news is that, yes, you definitely can still eat sweet potatoes that have sprouted!

In fact, sweet potatoes are edible, and the sprouts can be too. Unlike regular potatoes, sweet potato sprouts are perfectly safe to eat and have a high nutritional value. So whether you want to chop off the sprouts or incorporate them into your cooking, you can rest assured that your sprouted sweet potatoes are still perfectly good to eat.

Is It Safe To Eat A Sweet Potato If It Has Soft White Spots Or Bruises?

The answer to this question is yes, it is safe to eat a sweet potato with these imperfections. The spots are usually just the result of natural aging and do not indicate any harmful bacteria or mold.

However, it is still important to properly inspect the sweet potatoes before consuming them. If there are any bad points, such as a foul smell, mold, or mushy texture, it is best to discard the potato as it is no longer safe to eat. But if the soft spots and bruises are minor, one can simply remove them and continue to enjoy their delicious and nutritious sweet potato.

What Should You Do If You Accidentally Ate A Bad Sweet Potato?

What Should You Do If You Accidentally Ate A Bad Sweet Potato

Here’s what you should do next:

  1. Don’t panic. While eating a bad sweet potato is not ideal, it’s also not the end of the world. Take a deep breath and try to stay calm.
  2. Identify the symptoms you’re experiencing. You may experience symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, or even fever, depending on how bad the sweet potato was. Knowing what you’re dealing with can help you decide what steps to take next.
  3. Drink plenty of water. Regardless of your symptoms, it’s important to stay hydrated. Drinking water can help flush out any toxins in your system.
  4. Consider taking an over-the-counter medication. If you’re experiencing symptoms like nausea or stomach cramps, an over-the-counter medication like Pepto Bismol or Tums may offer relief.
  5. Rest and monitor your symptoms. If your symptoms are mild, you may be able to treat them at home. However, it’s important to seek medical attention if they are severe or persist for more than a day or two.
  6. Learn from your mistakes. Eating a bad sweet potato is not a pleasant experience but can be a valuable learning opportunity. Take some time to reflect on what happened and how you can avoid similar situations in the future.

FAQs About How to Tell If a Sweet Potato Is Bad

Can You Freeze Sweet Potatoes To Extend Their Shelf Life?

If you have a surplus of sweet potatoes and want to extend their shelf life, freezing them is a great option. Keep in mind that raw sweet potatoes do not freeze well, so it’s best to cook them first. Once cooked, sweet potatoes can be frozen for up to 12 months.

Simply prepare them using your preferred method, let them cool, and store them in an airtight container in the freezer. This will not only keep them fresh for longer but also make it easy to add them to recipes whenever you need them.

Is Discoloration A Warning Sign That A Sweet Potato Is No Longer Good To Eat?

One of the first signs they may no longer be safe for consumption is their discoloration.

If a sweet potato has white, orange, yellowish, or purple flesh or its skin has darkened, it’s best to err on caution and discard it. While some discoloration may be normal as a sweet potato ages, any significant changes in color, particularly if accompanied by softness, mushiness, or suspicious odors, may indicate that the potato has gone bad or is rotting.

Why Do Sweet Potatoes Sometimes Release A Weird Odor Before They Go Bad?

Like any other vegetable, sweet potatoes can go bad and release an unpleasant smell. In fact, mold growth and bacteria are the main culprits behind this smell. It’s important to use caution when confronting an unfamiliar scent from these starchy vegetables. Plus, it can be tough to tell if a sweet potato has gone bad just by looking at it.

Typical signs of a spoiled sweet potato include a soft, mushy texture, discolored skin with sprouts or mold, and a foul smell.

How Do You Know If A Sweet Potato Has Been Exposed To Too Much Moisture?

One of the most obvious indicators is the appearance of mold, especially if it is black in color. Another sign is if the sweet potato has become very soft and mushy or if there is a lot of liquid around it with a foul smell. Discoloration and sprouts are also clear indications that the sweet potato has gone bad.

Can You Still Bake Or Roast A Sweet Potato That Is Starting To Turn Black?

Yes, you can still bake or roast a sweet potato that is starting to turn black. The appearance of dark spots on sweet potatoes doesn’t necessarily mean they are bad or spoiled. Sweet potatoes can develop dark spots due to bruising, oxidization, and chemical reactions.


Sweet potato may have large patches of soft rot or small dark spots on its skin, which can be easily removed. The flesh of a rotten sweet potato will be soft and spongy, and it may emit an off-putting odor. The potato may also have discoloration, wilting, and mold growth. To ensure that sweet potatoes stay fresh, it’s essential to store them properly and regularly check for any signs of spoilage, such as an off-odor or bad appearance.

By carefully examining sweet potato’s appearance, touch, and smell, you can determine whether it’s still safe to eat. Remember that any indication of mold, sprouts, or a mushy texture means the sweet potato is spoiled and needs to be thrown away.

Do you have any questions on how to tell if a sweet potato is bad? Let us know in the comments below.


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