Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Canning Potatoes

Canning Potatoes at Home

We harvested about 20 pounds of potatoes this year.  That's not a great yield, but it was better than any previous year, so we were happy about it.  We ate some of them right away, but I needed to do something with the rest before they started going bad.  My options were eat them (too many), make mashed potatoes and freeze them (I have success with this, but no room in the freezer right now), dehydrate them or can them.  I decided on canning just because I wanted to try them.

I remember canned potatoes, usually with a bland white gravy, from elementary school lunches and just knew that home-canned potatoes would taste better.  And believe me, they do!  One of my jars failed to seal, so we had them for supper that night.  I just mashed them with a fork, added a little butter and garlic powder, and they were delicious.

They are easy to can, too.  Because they are a low-acid food, the must be pressure canned, but the method is simple.  Unfortunately, I didn't have the forethought to take photos of the process, but here's what you do.

Clean fresh potatoes well and peel if desired.  I didn't peel them because most of the skins scrubbed off as I was washing them.  Cut away any deep eyes and/or bad spots.

Cut potatoes into chunks about 1-1/2" square.  Small potatoes can be left whole or just cut in half.

Place potatoes in clean cold water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and boil gently for 5 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, have clean, hot canning jars at the ready.  I don't sterilize jars, but I do run them through the dishwasher to make sure they are clean and hot.

Once potatoes have cooked, not until tender but just long enough to be heated through, drain them and spoon the hot potatoes into the hot jars.  Add a teaspoon of canning salt to each quart jar (1/2 teaspoon to pint jars) and then fill each jar with clean boiling water, leaving 1 inch of head space.  Use a knife or spatula to remove any air bubbles.

Apply clean, new lids and secure with rings until fingertip tight.

Process in a pressure canner at 10 pounds of pressure for 40 minutes for quarts or 35 minutes for pints.  Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for your canner, the Ball Blue Book, or the advice of your local university extension office to ensure safe canning practices.
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