My Sweet Potato Is White Inside: Is It Safe To Eat?

If you’ve cut into a sweet potato and found white splotches inside the flesh where you were expecting orange, you might be wondering if you need to throw the potato away and get a fresh one.

White inside your sweet potato is not usually anything to worry about. It is the result of carbohydrates and sugars interacting with each other, and the results are a non-toxic compound. In fact, sweet potatoes that leak little bits of white liquid when cut into tend to be the sweetest ones.

We’re now going to find out how you can tell the difference between a fresh sweet potato and a spoiled one, and what causes the white liquid to form. 

Why Do Sweet Potatoes Form White Liquid?

sweet potato
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When you cut into a sweet potato, you open up some of the cells, either through the blade or by putting pressure on the vegetable as you cut into it. This causes some of the liquids inside the vegetable to start moving around, and this is what causes that white liquid to appear. It is perfectly normal for this to happen, although it won’t always.

The white liquid is the result of sugars in the sweet potato mixing with the carbohydrates. They form a white substance that will squeeze its way through any holes in the potato’s flesh. This means they are often obvious when you cut into the sweet potato. The substance tends to be pretty sticky and slippery.

If you want to get rid of the white liquid, it is fairly easy to do:

  • Peel the sweet potato and cut it into chunks of the desired size.
  • Place these chunks in a colander and run them under the tap. You may need to gently rub the white away with your fingers if it is particularly stubborn.
  • Turn off the tap and shake the potato pieces dry, and then continue cooking as normal.

However, remember that you don’t need to remove the white liquid if you don’t want to. It is not unsafe to consume it, and it will make the potatoes sweeter and tastier. The milky starch and the sugars won’t hurt you at all, and you will be eating them in less concentrated forms even if you wash the white liquid away.

How Do You Tell If A Sweet Potato Has Gone Off?

Of course, sometimes you find a sweet potato that is no longer good, and it’s important to be able to tell the difference between this and a fresh sweet potato. There is a chance that a spoiled sweet potato could leak white liquid, but this will usually only happen if it has gone very bad.

There are quite a few signs that you can use to determine whether a sweet potato is still good to eat. Firstly, check its texture. Sweet potatoes should be firm and have very little (if any) give when you press on them while they are raw. They should not feel mushy or squishy, but instead should be very solid.

Secondly, check the smell. As they decay, sweet potatoes start to produce a rotten, unpleasant odor that is very clearly spoilage. Smelling a sweet potato is often enough to determine when it has started to go off. If you aren’t sure, cut into the sweet potato and smell the flesh inside. If it is still good, it shouldn’t have much scent.

Thirdly, look for a change in the appearance of the sweet potato. If it has shriveled up, gone black in areas, or got blue mold growing on the end, there is a high chance that it is no longer good to eat. This is usually accompanied by a bad smell or a mushy texture, but it’s still worth looking out for it.

Are Sweet Potatoes With White Inside Better?

Often, a sweet potato that has white liquid on the inside will taste better, and the more white liquid there is, the nicer it will taste. This is because the white liquid is the result of sugars and starches – so its presence indicates that the sweet potato will be particularly sweet and flavorful.

If you grow your own potatoes or you select a high quality supplier, you are more likely to see this white liquid inside. That is partly why it’s so important to recognize that this is a positive, not a negative. You can then fully enjoy the sweet potato.

What About Sweet Potatoes That Are Completely White Inside?

Although they are not very common, there are some varieties of sweet potatoes that have white flesh inside. They will usually be mostly yellow (instead of orange), with just a few white areas, mottled across the inner surface.

These are fine to eat, but they are not as starchy as the orange versions, so they may not be as flavorful. Some people prefer them because – thanks to the reduced starch – they are viewed as a healthier option, but you should be aware that don’t have quite so much flavor and they tend to be a little drier.

If you are looking for something a bit more flavorful than a standard potato but a bit healthier than a sweet potato, a white sweet potato may represent a good middle ground. They are still creamy and tasty, but they are not as carb-heavy as normal sweet potatoes. 

On the other hand, they lack the rich flavors and when baked, they tend to be a little bit drier and less succulent. You will have to decide which aspects of your meal are more important to you, and choose your variety of sweet potato accordingly to make sure you get what you want.

Conclusion

Seeing some white liquid oozing from a freshly cut sweet potato can be alarming, but you don’t need to worry. This liquid is completely safe and is just carbohydrates and sugars mixing within the potato. A sweet potato that has a lot of white flesh inside may be a different variety from the one you are used to purchasing.

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for over five years! I've set up this blog because I'm passionate about veganism and living a more spiritually fulfilling life where I'm more in tune with nature. Hopefully, I can use Vegan Foundry as a channel to help you out on your own journey!