Don't Automatically Throw Out Potatoes With Soft Spots

Potatoes are a great pantry item to keep on hand; they're satisfying, nutritious, and work well in a variety of dishes, from a simple mash to spicy truffle fries. As such, nothing is more disappointing than prepping ingredients for a recipe and finding your potato has developed a few soft spots. There's no need to despair, though, since these potatoes are perfectly safe to use and eat. The soft spots are simply a result of dehydration.

Potatoes dehydrate naturally over time once they are harvested. Once they are separated from the rest of the plant, they will eventually start preparing to sprout. Part of this process involves using the stored moisture in the potato flesh. Since potatoes are about 80% water, dehydration will cause them to lose volume in some spots, hence the spongy indents appearing on the tuber. This doesn't affect the flavor or texture of the potato overall, so you can simply cut off any offending sections and carry on cooking. It is worth noting, though, that if your potato is mushy all over, if there is black coloring in the flesh, or if the potato smells distinctly rotten, you should avoid eating it.

How to keep potatoes fresh

To avoid unsightly soft spots and other spoilage, it is important to store your potatoes properly. This will slow their maturation and make them last as long as possible. Keep your potatoes in a cool, dry place like in your pantry or your basement. Placing them in a paper bag or breathable container will further protect them from light or environmental moisture. It's also important to store your potatoes separately from ethylene-emitting produce like bananas and apples since these will cause the potatoes to spoil faster.

Fresh potatoes will last for several months under the right conditions, but if you need to keep them for even longer, freezing them is another viable option. To do so, simply wash and cut them in accordance with how you would prepare them if you were using them the same day, then place them in an airtight container in the freezer.