Why You Shouldn't Store Sweet Potatoes In The Fridge

There's more to storing vegetables than you might think. Proper storage goes far beyond taking a vegetable out of your grocery bag and tossing it in the fridge or pantry. In fact, improper produce storage can do more than just shorten shelf life. In the case of sweet potatoes, it can notably affect the vegetable's taste and texture.

Filled with potassium, fiber, and vitamins A, C, and B6, sweet potatoes are most commonly known to have brown skin and bright orange flesh (via Harvard School of Public Health). True to their name, Harvard notes that sweet potatoes have a higher glycemic index than standard white potatoes, and a much sweeter taste.

When you store sweet potatoes in an environment as cold as the refrigerator, the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission reveals, it gives them a "hard center and unpleasant taste." As The Kitchn explains, refrigeration makes sweet potatoes more difficult to cook by causing a fundamental change in their cell walls. Aside from contributing to their hard center, these altered cell walls are why refrigerated sweet potatoes can cook unevenly or slowly.

How to properly store sweet potatoes

The North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission explains that sweet potatoes thrive in environments that are cool, dark, and dry. To ensure optimal lifespan and flavor, they recommend storing sweet potatoes in a root cellar. For the average home cook who lacks such a thing, Southern Living suggests using a basket placed in the basement, a kitchen cabinet, or on the kitchen counter, away from windows.

While it's clear that no one should be putting whole uncooked sweet potatoes in the fridge, there are some situations where the orange root veggie actually does prefer a colder environment. After sweet potatoes have been cooked, Allrecipes notes they can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for about five days, or in the freezer for up to a year.

With proper storage, sweet potatoes of all types can last for about two weeks, per the Sweet Potato Commission. That's plenty of time to plan your next culinary creation, whether it be sweet potato pie, sweet potato fries, or something else entirely.