Mashed potatoes are a delicious side dish that is frequently served with vegetables and meat. They are also great for dumpling stuffing.
As delicious as these mashed potatoes are, they should not be kept for long unless frozen in portions. This article will explain why they should not be stored for an extended period and how long they can be good for.
What is the Shelf Life of Cooked Mashed Potatoes?
It’s critical to understand how long mashed potatoes last and how to store them properly to avoid spoilage. Do not keep mashed potatoes out for longer than 2 hours before refrigerating. When mashed potatoes sit out for long periods, especially between 40°F and 140°F, the food becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. If eaten after being left out for a long time, it may cause vomiting and diarrhea.
You are also advised not to mix meat with mashed potatoes. This is because it creates an excessive bacterial breeding ground. Not only does the bacteria grow on meat, but also potatoes. If you must eat them together, store them separately and only mix them while eating.
That said, there are a few things to bear in mind during the storage of mashed potatoes. They include:
- Length of time they’ve been sitting out
- How hot they are
- If re-heating had been done before.
How Long Should Mashed Potatoes Be Refrigerated?
Now that you know how long cooked mashed potatoes last, you’re probably wondering what will happen if you store them in the fridge.
You can store them in the fridge, but for only 3-5 days. You will have to ensure they are already cooled to at least 140°F. They should be stored in a sealed container or an airtight bag and covered with plastic wrap to prevent the entry of bacteria, the absorption of smells from the fridge, and finally, to prevent them from drying out.
What You Need to Know About Adding Butter and Milk to Mashed Potatoes
Adding dairy products to your mashed potatoes not only makes them mushier and sweeter but also shortens their shelf life. This is because proteins and fats in dairy products do not last long in room temperature or high heat. You should, therefore, aim to immediately refrigerate your mashed potatoes as soon as possible to prevent them from spoiling.
Can You Freeze Mashed Potatoes?
If you have leftover mashed potatoes and want them to last longer than a few days, then freezing them is recommended. It will not interfere with the texture since they are already mushy.
To avoid freezer burn, seal them in an airtight, freezer-safe bag.
If the mashed potatoes are well frozen and stored correctly, they should last you 10–12 months. You can also portion your mashed potatoes into small portions so that you can pick how much you need for one sitting without interfering with the rest.
How to Tell if Mashed Potatoes are Bad
If mashed potatoes are left too long or poorly stored, they will go bad.
Here are a few ways you can use to figure out if your mashed potatoes are spoiled.
- If they appear moldy – unlike fresh mashed potatoes, which appear creamy and golden, with some even glowing if a dairy product was added in, spoiled mashed potatoes may have moldy patches and appear glossy in some areas. Some parts may be completely dried out.
- If the smell is off – mashed potatoes can sometimes look fine but may have a bad smell. This smell comes from the fermentation process that’s happening.
- If the taste is sour – if you’re still unsure about the spoilage, you can go ahead and taste it. It’s not recommended, though. You should only taste it in tiny chunks. If they taste sour, discard them.
What Happens if You Eat Bad Mashed Potatoes?
If you eat spoiled mashed potatoes, then you’re likely to get sick. The sickness might not be as intense since the bacteria found in food items are not harmful. However, if you eat mashed potatoes with pathogenic bacteria, then the chances of getting sick are very high since the bacteria causes food poisoning.
What if you Forget When You Put Them in the Fridge?
If, for a fact, you do not remember when you put them in the fridge, just make sure you have used the above methods to identify if the mashed potatoes are bad or not. If they are, dispose of them. If they are not, consume them immediately since you are not sure how much longer it will take before they get spoiled
How Can You Use Extra Leftover Mashed Potatoes?
There are various ways to reuse your leftover mashed potatoes, but that’s only if they are safe for consumption. Also, once they’ve been reheated, they shouldn’t be kept for more than three days.
You can make potato pancakes with leftover mashed potatoes. You can also prepare potato patties or mashed potato fingers baked in the oven. Lastly, you can add the mashed potatoes to cream soup or any soup of your choice to thicken it.
Mashed potatoes are a popular delicacy among many people, thanks to their versatility. In case you happen to have some leftovers of this dish, ensure to be cautious about how long they can last and how to store them properly. This will allow you to enjoy your mashed potatoes without the fear of becoming ill.