Holes Inside Sweet Potato? Whether you’re baking, frying, or pureeing them, sweet potatoes can be terrific additions to any meal. The sweetness they provide is balanced brilliantly by their earthy flavor.
Just talking about sweet potatoes right now may be causing you to crave them. However, your desire to dine on sweet potatoes may quickly disappear after seeing them covered in holes.
Find out why your sweet potatoes have holes and if they are still safe to eat by reading the rest of this article.
Holes Inside Sweet Potato
Holes appear inside sweet potatoes due to wireworms. Wireworms are known to eat through the flesh of the sweet potatoes and leave numerous holes in their wake. Typically, the wireworms have left the sweet potatoes by the time they reach the market. Sweet potatoes with holes are generally safe to eat as long as the pests are no longer present. Cutting out the parts of the sweet potatoes with holes is an option, but it is not necessary.
Why Can I See Holes inside My Sweet Potatoes?
Although much of the fruits and vegetables we regularly consume are grown on farms, there is still no way to completely guarantee their quality. All kinds of environmental factors can affect the growth of our favorite crops.
For instance, the sweet potatoes we enjoy remain vulnerable to pests. They are especially vulnerable to pests known as wireworms.
According to Utah State University, wireworms are the larval forms of click beetles. Those wireworms live in the soil and they like to dine on any vegetables nearby.
Root vegetables like sweet potatoes happen to be among the treats that wireworms like the most.
Wireworms will burrow into sweet potatoes and start chowing down on their tasty insides. While doing so, wireworms will create tunnels that denote their eating patterns.
The tunnels may look more like holes from our perspective although they do differ in terms of how deep they go. The holes may also not be spread evenly throughout the insides of the sweet potatoes.
Is It Safe to Eat Sweet Potatoes with Holes in Them?
Seeing holes lining the flesh of the sweet potato you just sliced open can be startling. Your initial reaction may be disgust even if you don’t know the reason why those holes formed.
Now that we know that those holes are caused by wireworms, what should you do about your formerly infested sweet potatoes? Should you discard your hole-y sweet potatoes or can you still use them?
To answer those questions, you should first take a closer look at your sweet potato. Examine the flesh to see if there are still wireworms or other pests that may be staying in there.
If you don’t find any other pests inside the sweet potato, then you can eat it. Wireworms don’t spread any diseases so the fact that they were previously inside your sweet potatoes is no big deal.
The sweet potato itself may look weird, but it is still safe to eat.
Some cooks prefer to remove the bits of the sweet potato that were eaten by the wireworms. You can do that too, but it is not needed.
What Are the Signs That Sweet Potatoes Have Gone Bad?
If holes appearing on the flesh of a sweet potato isn’t a sign that it has gone bad, then what are those indicators? How can you tell if the sweet potatoes you recently bought or you’re fetching from storage are still safe to use?
Allow us to help you out by detailing the telltale indicators of inedible sweet potatoes.
The color of the sweet potato should clue you in to its current condition. After slicing the sweet potato open, you should see flesh that is orange, white, pale yellow, or purple.
Those are the normal colors for the insides of sweet potatoes. The orange and white variants are most common in the United States.
If the inside of your sweet potato features a color different from the ones we just mentioned, then you should be suspicious about its freshness.
Chances are that your discolored sweet potatoes are no longer fit for consumption at that point. Your only option is to discard those spoiled sweet potatoes.
It’s not just the flesh of the sweet potato that you should check if you want to ascertain the vegetable’s freshness. The skin of the sweet potato can also tell you if that particular vegetable can still be eaten.
Sweet potatoes with coverings that are turning black have spoiled. Along with changing color, the skin of a spoiled sweet potato may also shrivel up.
2. Mold Growth
Sweet potatoes, similar to numerous other vegetables, are susceptible to mold. Mold can get to sweet potatoes due to improper storage or poor farming conditions.
Moldy sweet potatoes are no longer safe to eat.
You can tell that a sweet potato has been taken over by mold if some patches of its skin or flesh are fuzzy and discolored.
3. Mushy Texture
A sweet potato’s texture will change as it nears spoilage. To be more specific, the sweet potato may start to feel mushy even while raw.
A slightly mushy sweet potato may still be safe to eat, but doing so is not recommended. The new texture of the sweet potato is no longer pleasant and that will likely prevent you from enjoying it.
You’ll be better off discarding that mushy sweet potato.
4. Foul Odor
Lastly, sweet potatoes that smell rotten are indeed spoiled. You’ll be able to detect that foul odor right away after you cut into the spoiled sweet potato.
Conclusion About Why Do My Sweet Potatoes Have Holes?
Sweet potatoes with holes may look unpleasant, but they remain edible as long as they are not overrun by pests. By the time you’ve cooked them, those holes will also be non-existent.
Frequently Asked Questions about Why Do My Sweet Potatoes Have Holes?
Can You Eat Sweet Potatoes with Sprouts Growing from Their Skin?
Eating sweet potatoes with sprouts growing from their skin is still safe if the sprouts are small enough. If they have already grown quite a bit, then that probably means the sweet potato is spoiled.
How Long Will Sweet Potatoes Remain Edible?
Whole sweet potatoes will remain edible for up to a month if you store them properly. Place them in an airtight container and keep them in your pantry for safe storage.