Sweet potatoes are the unsung heroes of breakfast. There are so many easy and healthy ways to cook with this versatile vegetable, and these sweet potato recipes can keep you feeling full for hours. But it can be kind of tricky to know when sweet potatoes are ripe and ready to be used—and even trickier to know exactly when a sweet potato has gone bad. Plus, how do you store a sweet potato? And how long do sweet potatoes last?

The good news is that sweet potatoes are really hardy, and it's fairly difficult for these root vegetables to actually go bad. As far as picking the right sweet potato goes, opt for small- or medium-sized sweet potatoes in the grocery store. Though larger sweet potatoes might seem appealing, according to our friends at Real Simple, smaller sweet potatoes tend to be sweeter and creamier and just have a better taste and texture than larger ones, which are usually starchier. You want the sweet potato to be firm to the touch. If it's kind of soft, it's probably already starting to go bad.

Once you have your sweet potato, there's really not much you have to know to store sweet potatoes properly. According to the experts at the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission, sweet potatoes shouldn't be kept in the fridge, because the exposure to cold temperatures "will produce a hard center and unpleasant taste." Instead, keep your sweet potatoes at room temperature in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated place. Think basement rather than window sill.

If you store your sweet potatoes correctly, they can last for about two weeks. You'll know when it's time to throw out your sweet potatoes when they've gone soft and shriveled up. But with so many great sweet potato recipes out there, it shouldn't take you long to use them up in time.