‘Tis the season! Time, once again, for all those fall comfort foods like spaghetti squash, mashed potatoes and gooey candied sweet potatoes. So, we know how to cook them (or drive to grandma’s house and scarf down some of hers), but do we know the best way to store them to maintain their freshness and the integrity of their taste and texture?
If you start out by buying yours at a reliable produce market like Perrine’s Produce, most root vegetables will last you a week…maybe even two at room temperature before they show any signs of “distress”. When shopping, make sure your root veggies are firm and free of decay. You know root vegetables are past their prime if they appear discolored or sport any soft spots. A rotten smell is also a sure sign to steer clear!
When you get your fresh root veggies home, store them in a cool, dry, dark spot…like those places the stupid actors go in the slasher movies right before they become goners. Just trying to interject some Halloween humor. On a more serious note, your pantry will certainly do. Just don’t pop them in the refrigerator thinking it will keep them fresher longer. Believe it or not, that cold air will only activate the sugars and starches in your sweet potatoes and turnips, actually causing them to spoil faster.
Surprisingly, you can also freeze cooked root vegetables, like sweet potatoes, for up to a year. Just mash or slice them and add a dash of lemon juice so their color doesn’t fade and place them in air-tight freezer bags. When you defrost them, you will be able to make the fastest sweet potato casserole on record!
The part where the frig comes in handy is with your leftover cooked root veggies. They should last you about three to five days more if you place them in an air-tight container in your refrigerator.