How to Shop and Store: Sweet Potatoes

Come Fall, pretty much all I want to do is eat sweet potatoes. Fried until crisp, roasted with olive oil and herbs, creamy mashed with butter, diced and simmered in soup,  pureed and baked into treats--you name it and I won't turn it down!

Here's how to make sure you're picking the best sweet potatoes of the bunch (and how to store them to make them last as long as possible).

In Season:
September through January (will vary by a few weeks each year depending on your location and the weather).

How to Choose Sweet Potatoes:
Go for the medium or small sized sweet potatoes as they will be sweeter and have a more delicate flesh (especially good if you plan to bake or mash them). The very large sweet potatoes, while impressive looking, tend to be dryer and starchier.

Look for smooth and even tone skin with no cracks or open parts. Avoid ones with soft or wrinkled parts as that indicates rot.

How to Store Sweet Potatoes:
The high sugar content that makes sweet potatoes so sweet and tasty, also causes them to spoil quicker than regular potatoes, especially if not stored properly.

To prevent premature spoilage, always remove sweet potatoes from the plastic produce bag or other container and store them loose in a cool dry place like a pantry or root cellar, if you have one.

Do not store raw sweet potatoes in the refrigerator as the cold will negatively affect the taste and texture. If kept on the counter, make sure to keep them in a darker part of the counter away from direct sunlight or fluctuations in temperature.

Cooked sweet potatoes can be frozen for up to a year if packed in a sealed and air-tight container. Cooked sweet potatoes will also keep well in the refrigerator for about one week.

If purchased fresh and stored properly, raw sweet potatoes should last about 10 to 14 days.

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