Baked potatoes are a delicacy in many kitchens and often people wonder if baked potatoes go bad. The answer to that is a bit complex and it depends on how the baked potatoes are stored. If stored the wrong way baked potatoes go bad however, if stored the right way they can last for up to a week in the refrigerator. With that having been said let us take a look at how you can store your baked potatoes so that they do not turn bad.
How to store baked potatoes
NB: once cooked avoid keeping the baked potatoes at room temperature for more than 4 hours as this causes bacteria to build up on the potatoes and this bacteria can actually lead to sickness in humans.
After the baked potatoes are cooked remove the foil paper that will be on top of the potatoes and let them cool down but make sure you do not leave them lying around for more than 4 hours.
When the baked potatoes have cooled down transfer then into freeze bags or air tight containers. This will help to prevent moisture from entering inside thus in turn helping to retain the freshness of the baked potatoes. If you are using freezer bags to store your potatoes make sure you take out as much air as possible from the freezer bag since oxygen tends to cause freezer burns.
Label the freezer bags or containers with the date in which you are storing them. This will help you to keep track of when the baked potatoes are likely to go bad. Place the potatoes in the refrigerator or the freezer. If you want to eat the potatoes within 7 days then the refrigerator is your best option since baked potatoes stored in the refrigerator can last for 5 to 7 days. However, if you intend on extending the shelf life of your baked potatoes then the freezer is your best option. They can last for up to 6 months in the freezer.
Why aluminium foil is not suitable for storing baked potatoes
A number of foods can be wrapped with aluminium foil then stored in the refrigerator but this is not the case for baked potatoes. This is because baked potatoes that are wrapped in aluminium foil have been deemed to cause botulism. This is a food born disease that is caused by consuming food that has been infected by the botulinum bacteria. Botulism is a serious disease that can cause paralysis in humans and when left untreated it could result in death. Botulinum bacteria builds up on food that is at room temperature of which aluminium foil creates an environment for the growth of this bacteria that is why it should be removed as soon as the baked potatoes are taken out of the oven.
Purpose of cooking baked potatoes with aluminium foil
You might be wondering why baked potatoes should be cooked with aluminium foil whilst then cannot be stored using aluminium foil. The other question that could possibly be running through your head is that, is it safe to cook baked potatoes while they are covered in aluminium foil? The truth is that it is safe to cook your baked potatoes while they are covered in foil paper this is because the botulinum bacteria will not be able to build up since the oven regulates a lot of heat. This bacteria only grows when food is exposed to low temperatures. The other reason why aluminium foil is used when cooking baked potatoes is that it helps the skin of the potatoes to stay nice and soft.
Tips for ensuring that baked potatoes do not go bad
- Do not leave the baked potatoes exposed at room temperature, whether or not they are covered with aluminium foil. This is because botulinum bacteria grows on baked potatoes that range between 40F to 140F.
- After the potatoes are fully cooked do store them in the refrigerator immediately. However, allow them to first cool down before storing them this is because if you place hot potatoes in the freezer it actually causes the temperature of the freezer to change which can affect the temperature of other foods in your freezer.
- Remove aluminium foil before storing your potatoes in the freezer or refrigerator. This is because aluminium foil creates a conducive environment for the botulinum bacteria to quickly grow on the baked potatoes.
- Do not reheat baked potatoes more than once as this can cause bacteria to build up on the baked potato and the bacteria can cause food poisoning.
How to reheat baked potatoes
NB: this is the best method as it retains the texture and flavour of the baked potatoes.
Start by removing the baked potatoes from the refrigerator and take them out of the freezer bags. Place them inside an oven safe dish and cover it with aluminium foil. If you do not have aluminium foil then it’s still okay to leave it out. The next step is to place the baked potatoes inside an oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees and allow them to reheat until they reach an internal temperature of 165F.When the baked potatoes are warm enough serve them and eat while hot to avoid any cases of food poisoning.
NB: this is the fastest method of reheating baked potatoes
To reheat baked potatoes in the microwave simply place them inside a microwave safe dish. Place them inside an oven and allow them to reheat for about a minute. Check the internal temperature, if it is below 165F then reheat them for an additional 30 seconds. Serve the baked potatoes while hot.
Baked potatoes do not go bad if they are stored the right way. The methods highlighted above will help to preserve your baked potatoes if you follow them carefully. It is important to remember that the freezer is the best option if you are planning on storing your baked potatoes for up to 6 months.