Peeling sweet potatoes in advance can cut the preparation time down for large meals. Any time saved during cooking can make a holiday or celebration less stressful and more enjoyable for everyone involved, allowing more time to enjoy spending time at the table. Sweet potatoes are a top requested side choice in both holiday and everyday meals among family gatherings.
How far in advance can you peel sweet potatoes? You can peel sweet potatoes 3-4 days in advance. The sweet potato won’t brown as quickly as a white potato. There are many easy storage options for sweet potatoes, before and after preparation.
Sweet potatoes can be enjoyed by both the younger and older generation dinner guests at a holiday gathering or as an enjoyable dish during Tuesday night’s dinner. The ease of preparation, multiple ways of storage, and the extent of shelf-life make this a wonderful vegetable for almost any meal or baking recipe.
5 Ways to Store Sweet Potatoes After Cutting
You can store cut sweet potatoes either cooked or uncooked. The storage method will determine the length of time you can safely store the sweet potatoes to use later.
Whether the sweet potatoes are cooked, or they are uncooked will also determine the storage method most proper for when and how the sweet potatoes will be used in the future.
1. Storing Uncooked Sweet Potatoes
Peeled sweet potatoes should be cut into one-inch squares and placed in an airtight storage baggie such as one with a seal lock zipper (Click to see the one I recommend) in the refrigerator. An airtight plastic or glass container is another good storage choice for squared sweet potatoes.
- Squared sweet potatoes can be covered in water and put in the refrigerator. If you are using water, do not leave the cut sweet potatoes out of the fridge for more than 2 hours before sticking the container in the fridge. The potatoes could become browned if they are left out too long.
- Uncooked sweet potatoes can be stored for 3-4 days without turning brown or getting mushy. Avoid keeping thinly sliced sweet potatoes such as chip sliced sweet potatoes in water; they can absorb the water, causing them to lose flavor.
If you are preparing substantial amounts of sweet potatoes, you can also use a large storage container or coolers filled with ice water. Just be sure to change the ice twice a day.
2. Storing Cooked Sweet Potatoes
You can bake a sweet potato that has been wrapped loosely in foil and place the cooled foil-wrapped sweet potato in a Ziplock storage baggie in the refrigerator. Many prepared sweet potato dishes can be prepared, cooled, and stored for up to 10 days, including:
- Side dishes
- Main dishes
If you’d like to get as close to that 10-day storage, just be sure your container is airtight.
3. Frozen Sweet Potato Storage
Freezing sweet potatoes helps to keep them already prepped or pre-cooked for extended periods of time, allowing you to add them to meals or have already prepared meals at a later date. Cooking them in large batches is easy to do, making this prep an excellent choice in weekly or monthly meal preparations.
To freeze Sweet potatoes, you must do this from either cooked or blanched sweet potatoes. NEVER freeze uncooked sweet potatoes, they will lose texture and flavor if frozen unblanched.
- Blanching sweet potatoes is the preferred method if you are planning to have chunks in the future dish. This could be seen in anything that requires sweet potatoes as a chunky vegetable in your side dish or main meal such as sweet potato bakes or roasted sweet potatoes.
- Pureed sweet potatoes are a sweet potato mashed and blended to desired consistency. These are used as baby food or almost any kind of baking that you would use sweet potato in. This can range from muffins to sweet potato dipping sauce.
4. Refrigerator Stored Sweet Potatoes
Before cooking the sweet potatoes, you can store the sweet potatoes in a bowl of chilly water covering the sweet potatoes for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Before cooking, you can store the sweet potatoes in airtight storage containers in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Before cooking, you can store the sweet potatoes in massive quantities in larger bins of ice water, changing the ice twice a day for up to 4 days. Uncooked sweet potatoes can be stored in airtight baggies and refrigerate for 3-4 days.
Store all cooked sweet potatoes within an hour of cooking.
5. Canning Sweet Potatoes for Storage
Canned sweet potatoes are a bit more work, and it really helps to have someone show you the first time. You may know someone who has done this to save space in her freezer.
Some basics about canning sweet potatoes:
- To can 5-7 quarts worth of sweet potatoes, you will need:
- 2-3 pounds of sweet potatoes
- sugar or honey
- quart-size canning jars and a pressure cooker.
- Peel your sweet potatoes and cut into 1-inch squares just as you would for blanching.
- Place peeled potatoes into the hot jars, leaving one inch from the top
- Boil 2 cups of honey or 2 ½ cups of sugar with 5 ¼ cups of water to a boil making a syrup.
- Add syrup to the jars of sweet potatoes, still leaving 1 inch from the top.
- Use a canning knife to get rid of the air bubbles. A regular knife could crack the jars.
- Add the lids with rings and use the pressure canner for 1 ½ hour.
To use the pressure canner for the first time, get some help from an experienced friend. Or, watch some YouTube videos, like this one:
Can I Freeze My Cooked Sweet Potatoes?
Many times, when you cook, freezing food for later use is more convenient and budget-friendly. This is also a wonderful way to make meals ahead of time for later in the week. Sweet potatoes are an excellent example of a food that can be frozen for later use.
Let us look at freezing options for sweet potato use in the future. Do not freeze uncooked sweet potatoes. They will lose their flavor and texture.
Blanched Sweet Potatoes
- You may blanch your sweet potatoes before freezing. This method is a quick one. You cut the sweet potatoes into 1-inch squares as you are boiling water on the stove. When the water has begun a rolling boil, place your sweet potato squares into the water, and start the timer.
- Always be careful of the boiling water. This can cause steam burns while putting them in or regular burns if the water gets on your skin.
- You want them to boil for only 2-3 minutes. While they are boiling, prepare a bowl full of ice water full enough that your sweet potatoes will be covered in the water. You want to place a colander in the sink to drain the sweet potatoes when the timer goes off.
- When your timer goes off, drain the sweet potatoes. Do not run under chilly water when you put them in the colander. Do not allow them to sit after straining. As soon as they are strained, place them in the ice water and start the timer again. You want them to sit in the ice water for 2-3 minutes again.
- While this is being timed, you should lay out paper towels to dry your sweet potatoes. After the timer is up, use a slotted spoon to transfer sweet potatoes to a paper towel to dry. Once the sweet potatoes are dry, you can put your sweet potatoes into airtight containers or airtight freezer bags and put them into the freezer.
- The chunky and blanched sweet potatoes can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Pureed Sweet Potatoes
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Poke holes in your sweet potato with a fork in two or three places and wrap each individual sweet potato loosely in foil. When the oven has reached 375 degrees, place your sweet potatoes in the oven and bake for 1 hour to 1 and ½ hours. To check if they are done. I use a fork and poke it to see if it is soft, just as you would with a Russet potato.
- When unwrapping the sweet potato, be sure to use a potholder and unwrap with your hands on the outside of the sweet potato to avoid steam burns.
- When your sweet potato is tender, carefully pull it out of the oven using a potholder. You can check this by using a hot pad or potholder and gently squeezing the sweet potato to see if it mushes some when pressure is put on it.
- Place your sweet potato on a plate or cutting board. Unwrap the sweet potato and wait until it is cool enough to handle. Peel the sweet potato and cut into cubes of approximately 1 to 1 ½ inches big. Throw these cubes into a food processor or blender. Blend your sweet potato cubes until smooth.
- If you would like thinner puree, you may add some warm water as you blend until you get the consistency you are looking for. Separate the pureed sweet potato into freezer bags or freezer-safe airtight containers to be frozen. Puree sweet potatoes will stay in the freezer for up to three months.
- Portion your puree for freezing. I like to use ½ cup measurements in my freezer bags with the occasional 1 cup measurement thrown in for the possible need of larger measurements in the future.
- The puree method of freezing is good for 3 months.
Prepped Sweet Potato Meals
- A pre-cooked meal can be frozen in an airtight freezer-safe container for up to 6 months. Be sure to freeze within 3-4 days of prepping the meals. Be sure to blanch the sweet potatoes before adding the other ingredients.
- A pre-cooked meal can also be frozen in single or double serving sizes in freezer bags to make smaller ready-to-cook meals.
- Cooked meals can be frozen for ease in the future. This is best to be stored in serving sizes you are likely to use rather than trying to heat up several for one meal.
- Six months is the longest amount of time you can keep prepped sweet potato meals in the freezer.
Storing Prepped, Uncooked Sweet Potatoes
Storing uncooked potatoes properly will allow you to keep them for 1-2 weeks before they start to go bad. After this time, they may get soft and shrivel up, leaving them unusable. When you want to store them, it is best to keep them in a cool dry place out of the sun. A pantry or storage room would be ideal.
2 Quick and Easy Prep for Eating or Freezing Sweet Potatoes
Before you store your sweet potatoes in the freezer, it’s a great idea to bake or mash them. They can be safely kept frozen for months and months.
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Baked sweet potatoes can be eaten after being cooked or can be frozen for later use. To bake these, you want to set your temperature at 375 and poke holes in your sweet potato just as you would when baking a russet potato.
- Wrap loosely in foil
- Bake for 1 to 1-1/2 hours or until soft
- Remove carefully and allow it to cool.
Making Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Preheat your oven for 375 degrees.
- Wrap your sweet potato still in the skin loosely in foil.
- Bake for 1-1 ½ hours or until soft when squeezed using a potholder.
- When they feel tender and are cool enough to manage, remove the skin.
- Cut the potatoes into 1-2-inch squares and mash just as you would with a russet potato
- Add a squeeze or two of lemon juice and 1-2 tbs of butter to flavor.
After the sweet potatoes are well blended, I like to add my toppings. For two sweet potatoes, I would use 2 tablespoons of honey. I use 1-1 ½ tbs per sweet potato.
Your peeled, cooked sweet potatoes will be good in the freezer for up to 12 months. You want to defrost these in the refrigerator or in water. Do NOT leave on the counter to defrost; this can cause mold and make you sick.
Should You Keep Sweet Potato Peels?
Sweet potato peels can be kept and eaten. With the right recipe, these supply more nutrition to your snacks. If you are going to eat them do not boil them, they will lose a lot of water-soluble vitamins in the process as well as flavor.
If you do not like the peels, save them for your compost. These are an excellent fertilizer for your garden, supplying your plants nutrients to grow stronger and healthier.
If you do not think you will use them within the standard 2-3 days in the fridge, you can freeze the peels for up to a month before use.
Are Sweet Potatoes Good for You?
Sweet potatoes are a healthier choice among potatoes. They offer more than most other vegetables in the way of versatility and health benefits. They provide you with disease-fighting agents in their vitamins and minerals as well as cancer-fighting properties, boosting the immune system and making you healthier from the inside out. They truly are a superfood.
These potatoes can be enjoyed daily to give your vitamins and minerals a boost and help keep you healthy. They are also beneficial to gut health. The fiber in them helps build healthy bacteria in your intestines helping to reduce cancer growth.
The high fiber content in sweet potatoes can help you lose weight if eaten in moderation and control your sugar levels to avoid diabetes or help to keep your sugar under control. These are not carb-free vegetables. Also rich in vitamins A and C they are an excellent source for reducing inflammation.
Sweet potatoes are higher in natural sugars than a russet potato but have more nutritional value, such as fiber and potassium. Due to the water-soluble fiber in these potatoes, they are easy to digest.
Helpful Information: Eating too many sweet potatoes does not have any unhealthy side effects but eating them in excess can cause your skin and nails to have a slightly orange tinge to them. If this happens, just cut down on your intake.
Does Freezing Sweet Potatoes Change the Health Benefits
Sweet potatoes do not lose their nutritious value or health benefits when cooked, frozen, or raw. They are jam-packed with tons of vitamins and minerals and just as healthy when they are frozen and eaten later.
Being sweet potatoes are cholesterol-free, low sodium, high in fiber, and gluten-free, keeping plenty of them on hand helps to keep you and your family healthy throughout the year. Frozen sweet potatoes are also a nutritious option for all stages of baby food.
How Can I Tell if a Sweet Potato Is Bad?
Like other potatoes, you will see growths in your sweet potato skin if it starts going bad. You can also see dark or black spots showing they are past their best use date. Often, you will see liquid come out of them like water, and they will lose their hard texture but rather turn soft or mushy.
Because they often lose flavor or taste different after they start to go bad it is best to throw them out rather than try to salvage them by cutting away the soft spots and skin growths.
Can You Eat Sweet Potatoes Raw?
Its cousins, the white potatoes, hold the dangerous enzyme solanine when raw. But sweet potatoes do not. This makes sweet potatoes a healthy and safe choice for smoothies or salads. They have the same nutritional value and benefits when consumed raw or cooked. The health benefits of sweet potatoes range from reducing cholesterol to lowering blood pressure. And many additional benefits in between.
Give them a shot to get more mental awareness and thinking power as well as a pickup for your immune system. Your eyesight will likely remain healthy, and the high potassium will keep those nerve and muscle communications good for a long time.
Defrosting Frozen Sweet Potatoes
To thaw pureed potatoes to use in a recipe, I have two tried-and-true methods.
- Place the air-tight storage containers into the refrigerator until thawed. Because I flattened the freezer bags, they tend to defrost quicker than the storage containers.
- Place the baggie of frozen puree into a bowl of warm water. You can fit more than one baggie in a larger bowl of warm water. If you use the bowl of warm water, you will have to keep checking it to see if the water needs replaced with warm water again. The water will cool off from the frozen puree.
Defrosting chunked sweet potatoes, I place the air-tight container in the fridge, and they will be defrosted anywhere from 12 hours to a day and a half, depending on the amount being defrosted.
A meal or side dish of sweet potatoes will usually be stored in an air-tight storage container and will require being left in the fridge for a day or more to be defrosted. I would not use a microwave to defrost a meal because the meal can get watery and lose flavor from the moisture and steam.
Do not leave frozen sweet potatoes on the counter to defrost to prevent the growth of bacteria.
When storing sweet potatoes out of the refrigerator for daily use, be sure to use care. They can attract rodents. Wrap them in a paper bag, paper boxes, or newspaper before storing them in an area where the temperature is between 55-60 degrees. For extra security against rodents, use a potato box after they are wrapped.
How Do I Know When It Is Time to Dig Up My Sweet Potatoes?
If you are growing your own sweet potatoes, you want to be sure to harvest them when the time is right.
Sweet potatoes can be dug up in 3-4 months after planting them. Most sweet potatoes take a minimum of 100 days to reach maturity. When the vines begin yellowing you can start digging them up, but there is nothing wrong with waiting until the first frost. They will still be good if you wait.
You want to find the crown of the plant and loosen the dirt in a 20-inch wide circle around your plants. Use your hands to loosen the dirt and remove the potatoes from the ground to avoid bruising them and keeping them intact with the root. It is ok to cut roots on the outer portion of the potatoes.
How Do You Cure a Sweet Potato After Harvest?
If you plan to eat your sweet potatoes in a month or two, you do not have to cure them, but instead, just air dry them for 8-10 days at a temperature of 75-85 degrees.
However, if you want to store them for a long time, they must be cured at 90 degrees in a humid environment of about 90% humidity for 5-7 days. A table outside in the shade can work well also in warm regions.
- Curing the sweet potatoes for longer storage keeps the sweet flavor of your potatoes.
- If you have grown your own sweet potatoes, dig them up and brush off the excess dirt from the roots.
- Do not wash the roots. You want to keep them warm and dry.
- Do not have the sweet potatoes touching each other while curing; this can bruise them. The curing builds a second skin, healing scratches and small bruises from when you dug them up. After curing, if any of the potatoes are bruised throw them out and use the remainders.
After curing your potatoes, wrap them individually in a paper bag or newspaper. Place them in a cardboard box or storage container in a cool place to avoid dark spots and longer storage time. You must individually wrap them to avoid the bruising mentioned above.
Sweet Potatoes Are Easily Stored and a Nice Addition
Knowing how to grow your sweet potatoes and store them properly will keep a healthy choice in your pantry for daily meals that are both affordable and versatile. Depending on your storage method, you may be able to use these sweet potatoes throughout the year making it a nice possibility for you and your family.
There are several options for storing your sweet potatoes and keeping them available any time you need them. Peeling them before storage is a crucial factor, but remember, you can keep those peels to eat or to use in your garden as fertilizer, adding strength and nutrition to your plants.
Sweet potatoes are a healthy and delicious way to add rich and colorful flavor to any meal packed with health benefitting vitamins and minerals. These are no longer reserved only for a holiday meal. When eating them regularly, they will bring a new and healthy variety that adds color and flavor to your meals.
Storage is key. You can, freeze, refrigerate, or store them in a pantry. These will keep your sweet potatoes readily available as a sweet and healthy alternative to other vegetables that can be used in a variety of ways. From main dishes to breads and cakes, sweet potatoes are a superfood you and your family will enjoy.
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For more, check out How to Store Shredded Potatoes | The Complete Guide.
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