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Thread: storing yams and sweet potatoes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA

    storing yams and sweet potatoes

    I am so mad! DH and I love sweet potatoes and yams, and we love them baked in the skin because we like eating the skin. So we buy organic (so expensive!). But unless I cook them within a few days they go bad! I bought 4 a week ago and started to fix 2 tonight and they were all squishy. :mad: What am I doing wrong?

    I had an open bag of white potatoes (also organic) I bought at least 2 weeks ago (maybe 3) that were just fine, so we had mashed potatoes instead.

    I'm storing the sweet ones and yams on a counter top above my freezer on the boat because it's fairly dark and cool there. The white ones were in a humid, dark cabinet under the sink AND in a plastic bag.

    Is it too much light where I'm storing the yams? Is it too warm? What? I don't get it. I've never had this problem before. But I've thrown away at least a couple dozen expensive sweet potatoes this summer. Any suggestions on how to store these?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Cleveland , Ohio
    Sweet Potatoes or Yams

    Part 2: Yams, unlike sweet potatoes, can be toxic when eaten raw

    More of this Feature
    Part 1: Sweet potato and yam differences
    Part 2: Selection and health benefits
    Part 3: Sweet Potato / Yam Recipes

    Sweet potato selection and storage

    Select tubers with tight, unwrinkled skins with no blemishes or bruises. Prime season is from October to January but they are available sporadically throughout the year. Sweet potatoes generally do not store well, except under ideal conditions, and bruised ones rapidly deteriorate. Unfortunately, when sweet potatoes begin to go bad, you cannot just cut away the bad part, since the damage will be reflected in the flavor of the entire potato. In a dry, dark, cool (55 degrees F.) place, they can last up to three to four weeks. Otherwise, plan on using them within one week of purchase and do not refrigerate. For the most part, sweet potatoes can be used in any white potato recipe, particularly the pale variety. Canned sweet potatoes are readily available year-round, and are often confusingly labeled as yams. Cooked sweet potatoes can be stored in the refrigerator in a covered container for 4 to 5 days. To freeze, pack in an airtight container, leaving 1/2-inch headroom and freeze for 10 to 12 months at 0 degrees F.

    Yam selection and storage
    If you find them, they will most likely be sold in chunks sealed in plastic wrap, since they grow up to 7 feet in length and weigh up to 150 pounds. As with sweet potatoes, choose yams with unblemished, tight, unwrinkled skins and firm flesh. Store in a cool, dark, dry area for up to two weeks, and do not refrigerate. Although you may find canned vegetables labeled as yams, they are most likely not true yams. However, true yams can generally be used in any sweet potato recipe. Yams, unlike sweet potatoes, are toxic if eaten raw, yet perfectly safe when cooked. Cooked yams can be kept refrigerated for 2-3 days. Cooked yams can be frozen using the same method as sweet potatoes.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Oakland, CA
    According to this and other sites, sweet potatoes should be used within a week of purchase if stored at normal room temperature. I'm thinking that with the hot weather they've been at warmer temperatures than when you've bought them before. Even if your kitchen is cool, they may have been exposed to warmer temperatures before you brought them home. (BTW, should clarify here, just in case of confusion, the yams referred to in the article quoted by surfer376, the toxic-when-raw ones, are a whole different vegetable from the "yams" we're talking about here, which are really just varieties of sweet potato. But you probably know that.)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Delray Beach, FL
    Quote Originally Posted by JulieM
    ...I bought 4 a week ago and started to fix 2 tonight and they were all squishy...

    I just had the same thing happen...bought 2 large beauties at WF, and took them out from under my sink a few days later: yuk!

    This is unusual tho, I can usually keep them in my kitchen under my sink for a few weeks, no's dark, but only has a curtain so there is air circulation...but I think our recent heat/humidity is doing in our spuds...unless we both got a bad batch!

    "I expect to pass through life but once.
    If, therefore, there be any kindness I can show or any good thing I can do any fellow being, let me do it now and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again."
    -William Penn (1644-1718)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    In my heaven on earth
    I wonder if there is something with the crop this year because I got 3 a week and half ago and they were like swiss cheese when I cut into them the same day I bought them! :mad:

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Heading WEST!!
    I find that if I buy them from oct-jan/feb, they store very well in my basement. I just leave 'em there and I can keep them for weeks...I think I accidently left one sitting for a month and it was fine.

    THe spring/summer crop must be different because I can't keep 'em for more than a few days--if I'm lucky!

    I can't imagine it is a different hybrid but maybe the rate of growth and water content is different during different seasons, which would affect the storage capabilities. Just my 2cents. I'm no gardening/storage expert.
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

  7. #7

    I second that emotion...

    I agree with the others...the hot temperatures this summer I believe are the culprit of soft, smelly, slimy yams/sweet potatoes. I've had the same thing happen lately...even in the dark, open air...they are spoiling much faster than normal so i'm just buying fewer more frequently. And never storing with onions...that speeds the process too. I just LOVE yams and sweet potatoes...always with the skin on...made up as baked fries, simply roasted with rosemary,,in a hurry in the microwave....ANY WHICH WAY they are great aren't they? And so darn good for us....good complex carbs,,,fiber,,,,low calorie for their volume.....all reasons why i eat them all year long.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA
    Well I'm glad to see it's not just me! Since several of you said this has only started happening to you lately, I'm thinking it's something to do with this summer's crop, combined with our heat. Although it has not been all that hot her in Fort Lauderdale until the last few weeks, and I've been having this problem for several months.

    I'll just start buying fewer and using them up faster. Thanks for sharing your recent experiences, and thanks surfer376 and Clover for the storage advice.

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