How long can potato salad sit out?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how long can potato salad sit out” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of potato salad at room temperature. Moreover, we are going to discuss different ways to spot bad potato salad and the health implications of eating spoiled potato salad.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

How long can potato salad sit out?

Potato salad lasts for about 2 hours when left out of the fridge at room temperature. 

You should discard the potato salad that has been left in open for more than 2 hours as bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore there are greater chances of the potato salad being already contaminated with bacteria when left out for more than 2 hours.

Moreover, if the temperature of the surroundings is about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, then the process of spoilage takes place at a faster pace and it is recommended to discard potato salad that is left out in the open for more than an hour at 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

What is the optimum temperature to store potato salad?

You should always store your potato salad at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below in the fridge. Bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore it is always advised to store potato salad at a lower temperature to preserve its freshness and quality for a long time.

Different ways to spot bad potato salad

There are a couple of indicators that point out bad potato salad. You should consider the appearance, texture, and smell of the potato salad to reach a  final verdict on whether or not they have gone bad.

Appearance

If you sport a mold or any other organic growth on your potato salad then the best thing to do in this scenario is to discard such potato salad.

Texture 

If you feel something slimy or gooey while touching the cooked potato salad then it means that your potato salad has gone bad and it is better to discard it. 

Smell 

If you smell something sour or something that does not smell like potato salad itself while taking a sniff test of your potato salad then it means that your potato salad has gone bad.

If microbes somehow found their way to your potato salad and have spoiled it then the best thing you should do is to discard it.

Health implications of eating spoiled potato salad

If you have devoured potato salad that has gone bad, it can result in food poisoning that is characterized by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, weakness, headaches, and dehydration.

A mild food poisoning lasts for about a day or two while a more persistent case of food poisoning can last for about 10 days.

  1. Diarrhea is an indication of the body that a certain obnoxious agent has entered. So consumption of expired or bacteria-laden potato salad often causes diarrhea.
  1. Food poisoning after consuming bad potato salad is characterized by abdominal pain. Abdominal pain is also accompanied by vomiting and nausea in most cases.
  1. If you have consumed potato salad that has bacterial growth on it then you will experience nausea and vomiting which is the natural defense of the body to get rid of the unwanted harmful substance that has entered the body.
  1. Consuming potato salad that has gone bad will also raise your body temperature and you can experience fever which is the natural defense mechanism of your body and is the indicator that something is off with your body.

So in case you have devoured bad potato salad and are now suffering from vomiting and diarrhea,  you should try to drink as much water as possible so that while the body is getting rid of the toxins in form of diarrhea and vomiting, the water that you drink will protect your body against dehydration that vomiting can otherwise result in.

Moreover, the symptoms of severe and potentially life-threatening food poisoning involve diarrhea persisting for more than 3 days, fever higher than 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit, symptoms of severe dehydration, and bloody urine. In such a case, you should seek medical help immediately.

Tips to properly store potato salad

  1. The best way to store potato salad is to store it in an air-tight bag or container in the fridge within 2 hours of it being prepared.
  1. Always opt for shallow air-tight containers for storing potato salad.
  1. Always be sure to refrigerate potato salad at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  1. It is recommended to mix the mayonnaise or any other dressing of your choice in the potato salad when you are ready to serve it. If you want to store the potato salad then you should store potato salad and vinaigrette separately.
  1. It is better to store potato salad on one of the shelves of the refrigerator rather than the door as there is a lot of temperature fluctuation at the door of the fridge.

You can read how to make potato salad here.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “how long can potato salad sit out” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of potato salad at room temperature. Moreover, we discussed different ways to spot bad potato salad and the health implications of eating spoiled potato salad.

Citations

https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/it_must_have_been_the_potato_salad#:~:text=Leaving%20your%20salad%20or%20any,there%20would%20be%20plenty%20of.
https://www.chowhound.com/food-news/152543/how-long-is-it-safe-to-leave-potato-salad-out-of-the-refrigerator/
https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001652.htm
https://idahopotato.com/dr-potato/qa-potato-salad-safety
https://www.doesitgobad.com/how-long-does-potato-salad-last/

Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.