The Step You Should Never Skip While Meal Prepping Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are versatile vegetables and come with a multitude of both sweet and savory ways to eat and enjoy them, which primes the popular root vegetable for meal prep purposes. As such, it's a great idea to cut and prepare your raw sweet potatoes ahead of time. This way, you can quickly throw the potatoes in the oven — or on the stove — whenever a craving strikes.

To make your sweet potatoes last, however, you'll want to follow one essential step. The key to effectively meal-prepping sweet potatoes has less to do with how you prepare them and more to do with how you store them. Namely, you should refrigerate your raw and cut sweet potatoes in cool water. Without careful and precise attention, your sweet potatoes run the risk of drying out way too quickly — and may not make it to all the delicious meals you have planned.

Sweet potatoes last about four days in cool water

Once you buy your sweet potatoes, you'll want to clear some extra space in your refrigerator. We know this advice contradicts many strategies for storing raw sweet potatoes. And yes, if you've yet to cut into your sweet potatoes, it's best to keep them in dry, dark places. In fact, storing raw, whole sweet potatoes in a cool fridge is actually one of the worst things you can do for them. Once refrigerated, sweet potatoes can develop an off-flavor and become overly hard, which means that no matter how delicious you recipe may be, it won't taste exactly right.

However, if you're meal prepping — and therefore cutting your potatoes — this rule of thumb goes out the window. Once cut, the flesh of the sweet potato is exposed to oxygen, which will cause it to quickly become very dry and even start to turn brown. Dowsing your sliced or cubed sweet potato in water stops this oxidizing process, so your root veggie will stay fresh until you're ready to use it. When stored properly, they can last for about four days, which should give you enough time to throw together all of your planned recipes.

Keep in mind, if you've roasted your potatoes in advance, there's no need to soak them in water. For cut and cooked potatoes, simply seal and refrigerate them.