How do I preserve peeled sweet potatoes?

Quick Answer

There are a few effective methods for preserving peeled sweet potatoes:

– Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days
– Freeze for up to 1 year
– Can or jar them for shelf-stable storage

Refrigerating Peeled Sweet Potatoes

Refrigerating peeled sweet potatoes is the simplest preservation method. It allows you to store peeled sweet potatoes for up to 5 days.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into desired size pieces.

2. Place peeled sweet potato pieces in an airtight container. Glass and plastic containers with tight fitting lids work best.

3. Refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Some tips for maximizing refrigerator storage:

– Minimize air exposure by packing sweet potato pieces tightly in the storage container.

– If storing for more than 2-3 days, place a paper towel in the container to absorb excess moisture.

– Check periodically for signs of spoilage like mold growth, sliminess, or off odors. Discard any spoiled pieces.

Properly refrigerated, peeled sweet potatoes retain their texture and flavor for up to 5 days after peeling. Refrigeration slows moisture loss and enzyme activity that can lead to texture and flavor changes.

Freezing Peeled Sweet Potatoes

Freezing is an excellent long-term storage method for peeled sweet potatoes. Frozen properly, they can be preserved for up to 1 year.

Follow these steps for freezing peeled sweet potato pieces:

1. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into desired size pieces. Smaller pieces 1-2 inches in size freeze faster.

2. Blanch pieces for 3-5 minutes until partially cooked. Blanching stops enzyme activity that can cause flavor and texture changes during freezing.

3. Cool blanched pieces completely in an ice bath.

4. Pat dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture.

5. Place pieces in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Freeze until completely firm, about 2 hours.

6. Transfer frozen pieces to zip top freezer bags or airtight containers, removing as much air as possible.

7. Store frozen sweet potatoes for up to 1 year.

Some freezing tips:

– Try pre-freezing on the baking sheet first for easier, long term storage.

– Use freezer bags and containers specially designed for long term freezing.

– Avoid storing sweet potato pieces for longer than 1 year as flavor and texture quality can decline.

– Defrost pieces in the refrigerator overnight before using.

Properly frozen and thawed, peeled sweet potatoes retain their flavor and nutrients very well. Freezing stops enzyme activity that causes deterioration.

Canning Peeled Sweet Potatoes

Canning is a more involved but shelf-stable preservation method for peeled sweet potatoes. Canned properly in glass jars, peeled sweet potato pieces can be stored at room temperature for up to a year.

Follow these canning steps:

1. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1-2 inch pieces.

2. Blanch pieces for 3-5 minutes until partially cooked.

3. In a large pot, bring 2-3 inches of water to a boil. Lower heat to a gentle simmer.

4. Fill mason jars with blanched sweet potato pieces, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Top with fresh boiling water, leaving 1 inch of headspace.

5. Wipe jar rims clean. Apply lids and screw bands tightly.

6. Process filled jars in gently simmering water for 85-95 minutes depending on jar size. Check a canning guide for recommended processing times.

7. Remove jars and allow to cool undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Sealed lids curve downward and do not flex up or down when pressed.

For optimal safety and quality, follow an accredited canning recipe from sources like the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Key tips:

– Only use glass mason jars and self-sealing two-piece canning lids.

– Acidify the jars with bottled lemon juice or vinegar to prevent botulism risk.

– Carefully follow processing times in a water bath canner adjusted for your altitude.

When canned properly, peeled sweet potato pieces can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 year. Canning allows long term storage without freezing.

Storing Peeled Sweet Potatoes in Sugar or Syrup

You can also store peeled sweet potato pieces for months at room temperature by packaging them in sugar or syrup. The high sugar content helps prevent mold growth and degradation.

Here are two syrup packing methods:

Simple Syrup Method

1. Make a simple syrup by bringing 2 parts water and 1 part sugar to a boil until sugar fully dissolves. Let cool.

2. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1/2 inch cubes or balls.

3. In a sterilized jar, layer sweet potato pieces and cooled simple syrup, covering the pieces fully.

4. Refrigerate up to 2-3 weeks or store at room temperature up to 1 month.

Sugar Pack Method

1. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1/2 cubes or balls.

2. Place a 1/2 inch layer of sugar in the bottom of a sterilized jar.

3. Add a layer of sweet potato pieces, covering with sugar completely.

4. Alternate sweet potato and sugar layers to fill the jar, ending with a sugar layer.

5. Refrigerate up to 2 months or store at room temperature 1-2 months.

The high sugar content helps inhibit microbial growth while keeping the pieces moist. Refrigeration extends the shelf life. Be sure to sterilize jars properly before packing.

Pickling Peeled Sweet Potatoes

Pickling peeled sweet potato pieces in vinegar is a unique preservation method that results in a tangy, crunchy snack or relish.

Follow this basic pickling process:

1. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1/4 inch slices or cubes.

2. In a pot, bring 2 cups vinegar, 1 cup water, 2 tbsp salt, and spices to a boil.

3. Place blanched sweet potato pieces into sterilized jars, covering with the hot pickling liquid.

4. Wipe rims, apply lids tightly, and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes for shelf-stable storage.

5. For short term storage, skip canning and simply refrigerate jars for 1-2 months.

Some pickling tips for sweet potatoes:

– Use apple cider or white distilled vinegar. Avoid balsamic as the color can bleed.

– Play with spices like ginger, clove, cinnamon, or black peppercorns.

– For a sweeter pickle, you can add sugar.

– Process in a water bath canner for long term storage at room temperature.

Refrigerated pickles keep 1-2 months. Canned pickles keep up to a year at room temperature for convenience.

Drying Peeled Sweet Potatoes

Drying peeled sweet potato pieces is an easy way to make them shelf-stable for snacking. Dehydrated properly, they can be stored for 6-12 months.

Here are two drying methods:

Oven Drying

1. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1/4 inch slices.

2. Arrange slices in a single layer on parchment lined baking sheets. Avoid overcrowding.

3. Bake at 150°F for 6-8 hours, flipping halfway, until completely dried and leathery.

4. Cool and store dried slices in an airtight container for up to 1 year.

Dehydrator Drying

1. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1/4 slices or cubes.

2. Arrange pieces in single layers on dehydrator trays without overlapping.

3. Dehydrate at 135°F for 6-12 hours until dried through but still pliable.

4. Cool and store dried pieces in an airtight container for 6-12 months.

Tips for dried sweet potatoes:

– Dried pieces will last longer stored in the refrigerator or freezer.

– For food safety, ensure pieces are fully dried rather than just surface dried.

– Condition in an airtight container for a few days after drying to equalize moisture.

– Rehydrate before eating by simmering in soups, stews or gravy.

Properly dried sweet potatoes make a tasty, nutritious snack with an extended shelf life.

Storing in Oil

Peeled sweet potato pieces can also be stored long term by submerging them fully in oil. The oil helps prevent exposure to air and moisture to better preserve texture, color, and flavor.

Follow these oil storage steps:

1. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1/2 inch cubes or slices.

2. Blanch pieces for 2-3 minutes to partially cook.

3. Pat dry thoroughly with paper towels.

4. Place blanched pieces into sterilized jars, fully covering with oil like canola or vegetable oil. Leave 1 inch of headspace.

5. Seal jars tightly and store in the refrigerator up to 3 months. For shelf stable storage up to 6 months, process jarred oil-packed sweet potatoes in a hot water bath canner for 15 minutes after topping with more oil to cover.

The oil creates an oxygen-free environment to limit oxidation and spoilage. Refrigeration or sterile canning enhances shelf life. Use dried and acidified herbs and garlic for extra flavor.

Fermenting Peeled Sweet Potatoes

Fermenting peeled sweet potato pieces creates a tangy, probiotic-rich condiment that can be preserved for months.

Here is a basic sweet potato fermenting process:

1. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes.

2. Place cubes into a sterilized glass jar, tamping down until submerged in their own liquid. Top with a salty brine if needed.

3. Seal the jar lid loosely and allow to ferment at room temperature for 1-4 weeks until it reaches the desired tangy flavor.

4. For long term storage, tighten the lid and refrigerate for up to 6 months. You can also can the fermented sweet potatoes in a water bath canner for shelf stable storage up to 1 year.

Tips for fermented sweet potatoes:

– Use a 2-5% salt brine if needed to keep pieces fully submerged.

– Add spices like peppercorns, garlic, or ginger for flavor.

– If white film appears on the surface, simply skim it off and continue fermenting. This is harmless yeast.

– Look for bubbles and a tangy sour taste as signs of successful fermentation.

Fermented sweet potatoes make a great condiment to liven up meals. The lactic acid fermentation helps preserve them.

Storing in a Root Cellar

A root cellar provides ideal natural conditions for storing whole, unpeeled sweet potatoes long term. The cool, dark, humid environment prevents sprouting and shriveling.

Follow these root cellar storage guidelines:

– Store only freshly harvested, disease-free sweet potatoes.

– Place whole, unwashed sweet potatoes in shallow boxes or crates in a single layer. Don’t pile them up.

– Maintain cellar humidity between 85-95%. Increase ventilation if condensation appears.

– Keep temperatures around 55-60°F. Avoid fluctuations above 65°F.

– Store for 4-6 months, removing any that show signs of mold or decay.

Proper curing of the sweet potatoes for 1-2 weeks at 80-85°F and high humidity before storage can extend their root cellar shelf life.

Choose a basement root cellar location that maintains the needed moderate temperature and humidity. A natural earthen floor can help maintain humidity.

Using Preservatives

You can also use preservative products to store peeled sweet potato pieces short term at room temperature:

– Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) mixed with water helps prevent browning when spritzing or soaking cut pieces.

– Citric acid or lemon juice also aids in preventing browning through acidification.

– Chemical preservatives like sulfites, sodium bisulfite, and citric acid extend shelf life for commercial producers.

– Artificial additives like calcium propionate and potassium sorbate inhibit mold growth on cut surfaces.

For highest quality and safety, natural preservatives like lemon juice or vinegar are recommended over artificial additives. Sulfites can cause allergic reactions.

While preservatives can help extend shelf life slightly, they cannot enable long term storage. Refrigeration and freezing are still needed for storage beyond 5-7 days.

Preserving Peeled Sweet Potato Puree or Mash

Cooked, mashed sweet potatoes can also be preserved using methods like:

Canning – Cook mashed sweet potatoes into a puree and can in jars using a pressure canner for long term room temperature storage.

Freezing – Freeze measured puree portions in freezer bags for up to 8 months.

Dehydrating – Dehydrate cooked puree in a food dehydrator or low oven into dried sheets, then grind into powder. Store in an airtight container up to 1 year.

Refrigerating – Store cooked sweet potato puree or casseroles covered in the refrigerator 3-5 days.

Salting – Layer cooked sweet potato puree into jars with salt between each layer for short term refrigerated storage.

When stored using proper methods, preserved sweet potato purees can be convenient for making dishes, desserts, baby food, or as a snack.

How to Tell if Preserved Sweet Potatoes are Bad

Here are signs that preserved sweet potatoes have spoiled and should be discarded:

– Visible mold growth
– Shriveled or mushy pieces
– Unpleasant odors like sourness or rottenness
– Off colors like black, green, or gray
– Slime formation on cut surfaces
– Cloudy pickling brine
– Rising air pockets or unsealed jar lids
– Yeast formation during fermentation

Trust your senses! Rancid odors, unusual textures, and visible mold are signals sweet potatoes have spoiled and may be unsafe to eat.

When in doubt, remember the old adage “When in doubt, throw it out!” Don’t risk getting sick from consuming spoiled preserved foods.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I freeze peeled sweet potatoes without blanching them first?

Blanching is recommended before freezing to inactivate enzymes that can cause loss of flavor, color, and texture. However, you can freeze peeled sweet potato pieces without blanching. They may undergo more flavor and quality changes over time. Blanching partially cooks them which helps them hold up better.

How long can peeled sweet potatoes last at room temperature?

Peeled, raw sweet potatoes left at room temperature will only last a couple hours before they start to dry out, oxidize, and develop mold growth. For short term storage, keep them tightly wrapped in the refrigerator up to 5 days. Longer room temperature options must involve preserving methods like pickling, canning, or dehydrating.

Can I use raw sweet potato puree for canning recipes?

No, raw sweet potato puree is not safe for canning. Always cook sweet potato purees fully before canning in a pressure canner to prevent risk of botulism poisoning. The high heat cooking and pressure canning destroys any botulism toxin that could grow in low-acid foods.

What are the best sweet potato varieties for dehydrating?

Dry-fleshed, starchy sweet potatoes are best for dehydrating. Varieties like Jewel, Garnet, and Orleans have a dry, mealy texture that dehydrates well into very dry, stable pieces. Moist-fleshed, sweet varieties take longer to fully dehydrate.

Do I need to use a pressure canner for preserving sweet potatoes?

For peeled, cut raw sweet potatoes, you can safely use a boiling water bath canner. For pureed or mashed sweet potatoes, a pressure canner is required to eliminate botulism risk from the low-acid puree. Follow accredited canning guides for recommended canning methods.

Storing Commercially Canned or Dried Sweet Potatoes

Commercially canned or dried peeled sweet potato products can be stored as follows:

Canned – Store unopened cans in a cool, dry place up to 2 years. Refrigerate opened cans up to 4 days.

Dehydrated slices or dices – Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place up to 1 year.

Dehydrated powder – Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place up to 2 years.

Freeze dried pieces – Store in an airtight container up to 25 years.

Once opened, dried products are best kept refrigerated or frozen for maximum shelf life.

Always follow storage recommendations on the label and inspect products for signs of spoilage before consuming. Look for off odors, color changes, or texture changes.


Preserving the shelf life of peeled sweet potatoes comes down to controlling temperature, moisture, oxygen exposure, and enzymatic activity. Refrigerating, freezing, dehydrating, and pickling are some of the most popular at-home methods. For maximum food safety and quality, be sure to follow established guidelines and always err on the side of caution when determining if a preserved food is still usable. With proper handling, peeled sweet potatoes can retain their texture, color, flavor, and nutrients for many months past their fresh state.

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