How To Tell If A Potato Is Bad In The Garden

Backyard Spruce


Potatoes are a staple of many meals, and they’re easy to grow in your garden. But if you don’t check them properly, you may end up with bad potatoes that aren’t fit for eating. Don’t worry though – it’s actually quite simple to tell if a potato is bad while it’s still in the garden.

With just a few quick checks, you can determine whether or not the potato is safe to eat. In this article, we’ll show you how to spot a bad potato so that you don’t have any problems when it comes time to harvest them!

Check the Skin

Inspecting the potato’s skin can give you a good indication of whether it’s gone bad. Look for any discoloration or signs of decay. Any green spots on the outer layer or any darkening of the skin is a tell-tale sign that the potato is no longer suitable for consumption.

In addition to discoloration, sometimes potatoes will have soft patches in certain places which indicate rot and should be avoided when harvesting from your garden. To get the best results from your potatoes and avoid these issues, be sure to use proper harvesting techniques and check soil conditions regularly to ensure optimal health for your crops.

Inspect the Eyes

Take a close look at the eyes – don’t let any surprises creep up on you! The eyes of a potato can tell you a lot about its condition, especially when it comes to discoloration symptoms and sprouting prevention.

Keep an eye out for:

  1. Color changes – potatoes that have become soft, slimy, or wet are more susceptible to bacterial growth, which can cause bronzing or blackening of the skin and flesh.
  2. A ‘halo effect’ – this is when the area around the eyes becomes sunken inwards. This indicates that dehydration set in and the potato should be discarded immediately.
  3. Softness – if areas around the eyes are squishy or spongy, this means bacteria have spread through the potato, and it shouldn’t be used for consumption.
  4. Sprouts – these usually appear as small white buds near creases in the skin of older potatoes and indicate that they need to be used as soon as possible before they spoil completely.

Discolored spots, halo effects, softness, and sprouts all point toward an unhealthy potato; don’t risk using it for your meal!

Feel the Potato

Gently squeezing the spud can give you a good indication of its quality – it should be firm and sturdy, like a rock from a faraway mountain! A potato that is overly soft or yielding may already be on the way out.

Feel around for any lumps or bumps and check that there are no rotting signs. If you take a bite, make sure to spit it out immediately as the taste test won’t tell you much about freshness. If it tastes sour, bitter or mealy then your potato is likely past its prime and should be discarded.

Take all these clues together to determine if your potato is still edible; if in doubt, throw it out! Don’t forget though – potatoes have long shelf lives so unless there are obvious rotting signs, chances are yours will last longer than expected.

Smell the Potato

Smelling a potato can give you an immediate sense of its quality – it should be fragrant and sweet, like a freshly-picked flower from the garden! To check if your potatoes are bad, you should:

  • Probe the depth with your hand to feel for soft spots.
  • Smell it to make sure there’s no unpleasant odor.
  • Check the texture to see if it’s still firm and dry.
  • Make sure there isn’t any mold on or inside the potato.
  • Cut into it to ensure that there aren’t any dark spots or rot in the center.

When determining if your potatoes are good or bad, don’t hesitate to trust your nose! The smell of a fresh potato will tell you much more than just what meets the eye – use this as a guide when examining each one of them in order to pick out only the best ones for cooking!

Cut Open the Potato

Slice into your potato and take a peek at its insides – like an archaeologist unearthing hidden treasures, you’ll be able to tell if it’s still in good condition.

If the potato is bad, there may be signs of rot on its exterior or interior. Its texture when cut open will also be a great indicator as to whether it’s still fresh enough for use.

Bad potatoes will have a mushy texture and may even have dark spots inside of them that indicate rotting has already set in. On the other hand, a good potato should feel firm and look creamy-colored when cut open.

If you notice any discolorations or soft spots on the flesh, these are signs that the potato is no longer edible and needs to be discarded.