How to Tell If a Sweet Potato is Bad

Sweet potatoes are an incredibly nutritious vegetable, but when they begin to rot they may no longer be fit for consumption. Rotted sweet potatoes often emit an unpleasant odor and contain bacteria which could potentially lead to illness.

Brown or black spots on a sweet potato may indicate spoilage and soft or mushy textures, while grayish areas found on peeled sweet potatoes due to oxidation do not impact flavor or affect its quality.

Brown or black spots

If a sweet potato has brown or black spots, that is an indicator that it has gone bad and should be discarded immediately. These spots could be caused by rough handling or by more serious problems like rot which could spread bacteria and cause food poisoning.

An old sweet potato may become covered in mold and emit an offensive scent similar to compost, making it wiser to discard it immediately as eating spoiled foods can cause food poisoning.

Another telltale sign of a bad sweet potato is holes in its skin. These holes are caused by the growth of fungus on its surface. Furthermore, eating one with sprouts on it could indicate bacteria infection or other illnesses that might arise in your system.

Sometimes it can be hard to tell whether a sweet potato has gone bad, but there are a few simple tests you can run to check whether they’re still edible. First, look for smooth skin without any blemishes or wrinkles; secondly feel for firm and soft textures like soft or mushy texture in its center; lastly see if there are discolored spots or sprouted spots which should also prompt discarding of this item.

Soft spots

Sweet potatoes come in various shades and hues, but any dark spots or indentation signal that they have passed their prime. This occurs due to oxidation as their flesh is exposed to oxygen in the air – it doesn’t impact taste or nutritional value though!

Soft or mushy sweet potatoes can be telltale signs that it has gone bad, especially if the tuber has an unpleasant odor and feels slimy to touch – both signs that too much heat or moisture has hastened its demise.

If a sweet potato has soft spots, it should be discarded immediately as this could lead to food poisoning if eaten. Any tubers showing this feature should also be avoided in order to ensure safe consumption of all tubers. But if the blemishes are small and on the surface only, you should still cook them as long as they do not emit an unpleasant aroma or produce milky white liquid when cut. If they appear more seriously or produce milky white liquid when cut, however, they could be infested with mold and should be discarded immediately. Sweet potatoes that have sprouts growing on them should also be discarded, as these sprouts pull nutrients from the tubers, making them less nutritious and unappetizing to eat. Furthermore, sprouts may be an indicator of spoilage so it is wise to inspect each sweet potato thoroughly prior to consumption.


Sweet potatoes can develop internal bruising over time when stored for too long, though this usually doesn’t pose any immediate health concerns. Although not harmful, the spots do change the taste and texture of sweet potatoes; deep brown to black bruises on them indicate spoilage; these bruises should always be considered an indicator.

Do not be alarmed if you notice dark spots shortly after peeling a sweet potato; these spots are caused by its tubers reacting with oxygen in air, and do not alter either its taste or texture. Gray areas caused by oxidation may also appear; although they have an unpleasant bitter flavor, these parts should still be eaten!

Sweet potatoes may occasionally display bruises while being cooked, which indicates damage during harvesting and storage, allowing mold spores into their tubers. Thankfully, most damage occurs in only a few small spots which can easily be cut away before beginning cooking.

If the bruising spreads to cover an entire sweet potato, it is probably rotten and should be disposed of immediately. It is best to inspect all tubers at once for this problem as rotten ones will give off an offensive mold odor which makes them impossible to ignore; furthermore they have soft or mushy textures with discolored skin patches.


If a sweet potato begins producing sprouts, it should never be consumed. Sprouts indicate the vegetable is beginning to rot and should be discarded immediately. Rotting sweet potatoes produce toxic aflatoxins which are harmful for human consumption as well as acting as breeding grounds for bacteria that cause food poisoning.

Sweet potatoes often develop sprouts as a result of being bruised during storage or handling, causing bruises to their surfaces that result in bruises that become bruised sprouts that taste bitter; to prevent this, any such spots should be cut away before eating the sweet potato. It should then be stored in the fridge and used later. However, keep in mind that raw sprouts may rot more quickly in storage than their cooked counterparts.

Anyone interested in sprouting their own sweet potatoes can do it with relatively minimal effort. A fresh, unblemished sweet potato should be used, without its skin being washed as this will introduce moisture and increase rotting risks. After placing in a dark and cool area for two to three weeks, sprouts should start appearing that can be removed by twisting off or cutting at soil level.


Sweet potatoes are highly perishable and should be stored appropriately to remain fresh. If they become discolored, this could indicate they have gone bad and no longer suitable to consume – this could include soft texture changes, holes or dark spots appearing, as well as any unpleasant odor. Slightly spoilt sweet potatoes may still be used; if they develop an offensive aroma then dispose of immediately.

Dark-colored sweet potatoes may develop greenish-brown or black spots due to oxidation or overexposure to sunlight, usually without being harmful; these spots usually don’t pose any threat but may alter its taste; if a sweet potato turns all-over brown or black it should be discarded as it no longer edible.

If your sweet potatoes have started oozing white liquid, it could be due to anthocyanins – natural pigments responsible for providing colors ranging from pink to purple – present within them. Anthocyanins can be found in many vegetables and may cause them to release liquid.

Solanine, which is produced when sweet potatoes turn bad, can be toxic when consumed in large quantities. Solanine may cause vomiting and stomach cramps. If this happens to you, seek medical assistance immediately. Furthermore, solanine has also been known to irritate skin and eyes.


Sweet potatoes are an easily stored root vegetable that can last quite some time with proper storage, yet like other produce they may spoil over time. When this occurs it’s important to recognize the signs of spoilage such as foul smell, softness or holes in the skin – any of these signals should indicate it may no longer be safe to consume. When this occurs it should be immediately disposed of.

As soon as sweet potatoes start to decay, they will soften and emit an unpleasant odor. Dark spots or wrinkles may form on their surfaces as well. Rotting sweet potatoes also lose their original hue to become dark brown to black in hue with mysterious moldy growths on their surfaces.

Another way to identify bad sweet potatoes is by checking for a milky white liquid when cutting into them. This mixture of starch and sugar should be present when cutting fresh sweet potatoes; however, in older sweet potatoes this liquid usually disappears completely.

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