How to Prevent Sweet Potatoes Sprouting in Storage



Well-cured and stored sweet potatoes are a treat right through winter and spring. Photo by Brittany Lewis 

Sweet Potatoes are Different from Peruvian (White) Potatoes

White potatoes are stem tubers in the nightshade family. I wrote a post about those recently: Why do Potatoes Sprout and how can You Stop Them?  Sweet potatoes are not related—they are root tubers in the Morning Glory family. Root tubers do not have buds, nodes and internodes, and scaly leaves right on the tuber, and the ability to develop chlorophyll when exposed to light, as stem tubers do. This article is all about sweet potatoes.

Why Cure Sweet Potatoes?

Sweet potatoes need to cure before storage, and the curing conditions are different from those needed for storage. Good curing enables the sweet potatoes to store for six months or even longer.

Sweet potato harvest and field grading. Photo by McCune Porter

Immediately after harvest, field drying, sorting and crating (within an hour or two), take the boxes of sweet potatoes to a warm, damp indoor space to cure. Curing helps the skins to thicken, cuts to heal, and some of the starches to convert to sugars. Uncured sweet potatoes are not very sweet, will not bake well, and are best used in dishes with other foods (if you can't wait).

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