Food and Recipes Veggies Potatoes Sweet Potato You Might Be Storing Your Sweet Potatoes Wrong You know how to cook sweet potatoes—but do you know how to store them? By Lisa Cericola Lisa Cericola Lisa Cericola has been on staff at Southern Living since 2015. As Deputy Editor, Lisa manages the food and travel departments and edits those sections of each issue, as well as digital content. Previously, she was the features editor at Food Network Magazine and has more than 15 years of experience writing, editing, and managing photo shoots for print and digital lifestyle brands. Southern Living's editorial guidelines Updated on January 6, 2023 Medically reviewed by Jerlyn Jones Fact checked by Jillian Dara Fact checked by Jillian Dara Jillian is a freelance writer, editor and fact-checker with 10 years of editorial experience in the lifestyle genre. In addition to fact-checking for Southern Living, Jillian works on multiple verticals across Dotdash-Meredith, including TripSavvy, The Spruce, and Travel + Leisure. brand's fact checking process Share Tweet Pin Email Fall is prime time for sweet potatoes. It just so happens that right around the time you might be craving a slice of sweet potato pie or a steaming hot baked sweet potato, or need to make your signature sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving dinner, a new crop of sweet Southern-grown tubers is in season. Sweet potatoes are typically harvested at the end of September and early October, then cured for several weeks, which naturally converts the potatoes' natural starch into sugar. In addition to being extremely nutritious and versatile, unwashed sweet potatoes can also keep for months if stored properly. This is where so many of us go wrong. Like other root vegetables and tubers, sweet potatoes are best stored in a cool, dry, dark place. Which, to most people, means the crisper drawer in the refrigerator. Here's what you may be doing wrong and how to store your sweet potatoes properly. Crystal Weddington/EyeEm Never Store in the Refrigerator According to sweet potato experts including the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission, refrigerating sweet potatoes is a no-no. Your refrigerator is actually too cool and can change the cell structure of the potatoes, making them hard in the center with white spots. Refrigeration can diminish the flavor of sweet potatoes as well. Ventilation is another key to properly storing sweet potatoes—another strike against the crisper drawer. Choose a Dark Place Instead, keep your sweet potatoes in a paper bag or basket in a kitchen cabinet, pantry, or basement. Choose a cabinet that's not near the heat of your oven, and a spot closer to the floor will be cooler. Sweet potatoes prefer a temperature between 50 and 60 degrees. This is the best way to store them for longer lengths of time. With proper storage, they should last a month. If sweet potatoes don't last very long in your house, you can also do as I do, and place them in a bowl in a cool spot on your kitchen counter, away from windows. Heat and sunlight will cause your potatoes to sprout. Beware of Other Produce You can store your sweet potatoes with other types of potatoes, but don't store them with other produce like onions or garlic that prefer a similar storage environment. They may give off ethylene gas that make your sweet potatoes sprout faster. Don't Rinse Wait to wash your sweet potatoes until you are ready to use them. The moisture could cause them to rot and lead to mold. If you'd like, use a dry cloth to brush off any dirt before storing, especially if it will dirty up your shelf or cabinet. Cook Before Freezing Raw sweet potatoes don't thaw well. It's a watery, stringy disappointment. If you don't think you can use your sweet potatoes before they'll go bad, clean and cut them into slices or chunks. Boil the pieces until tender, about 10 minutes. You can then cool and bag the frozen pieces, or mash the potatoes to bag and freeze for later. Fresher-tasting sweet potatoes and more refrigerator space—that's a win-win. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources Southern Living is committed to using high-quality, reputable sources to support the facts in our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we fact check our content for accuracy. University of Florida Gardening Solutions. Sweet potatoes. North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission. How to store sweet potatoes. Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chemung County. Storage guidelines for fruits & vegetables. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Store fresh garden produce properly.