At certain times of the year, various produce comes up on amazing sales. For example, just before Thanksgiving of this last year, certain locations had 10lb sacks of potatoes for just one dollar. But how do you keep such veggies in a usable state and not waste money?
If you don’t have a root cellar, the next best method is canning. For most vegetables, a pressure canner is needed. Initial cost of a pressure canner – and make sure you have a pressure canner, not pressure cooker – can top $100, it will soon pay itself off as you preserve foods for use the rest of the year.
Canning potatoes is actually not a hard prospect. The most time consuming part is peeling and chunking the potatoes, which you really want to do to ensure you have no spoiled spots on your potatoes. This can be done with any type of potato; white, sweet, small reds, and the smaller potatoes can be canned whole. For the larger ones, for sake of space in your jar and thorough canning, you want to cut them in the size of chunks you would usually make to boil them for mashed potatoes.
Start with your chosen potatoes. About 5 pounds of russet potatoes equals about seven pints of canned potatoes.
Have clean, sterilized jars on hand with clean lids. You cannot use a Tattler lid for potatoes, it will not hold a good seal. The standard canning lid and ring is required here.
You also want to have a bowl of cold water with ascorbic acid in it. This is a food safe product; it keeps your veggies and fruits from turning dark during the canning process. Turning dark is not harmful either, but aesthetics say people are more willing to eat food that looks like they think it should look.
Peel your potatoes, cutting out any brown marks or bad spots, and cut them into cubes. Put then in your bowl water until your bowl is full.
You want to blanch your potatoes before canning them. Drain the water from your bowl, and put the potatoes in a pot of rapidly boiling water for two minutes. Drain into a colander.
Scoop potatoes into the jars until they are just below the rim. Giving the jar a good shake helps settle the potato chunks and allow you to put more potatoes into the jar. Add fresh boiling water (do not use the water from blanching; too much starch) until the potatoes in the jar are covered. Wipe the rim with a damp clean cloth, put on the lid and put on the ring tightly. Continue until you run out of potatoes. If you have potatoes left over but don’t have enough for a full jar, you can spread them on a cookie sheet and freeze them for at least an hour, and then put frozen potatoes in a zippie bag or container and use them as frozen potatoes. They cook faster and have the same integrity as a fresh or canned potato.
Follow the directions for adding water to your pressure canner – potatoes MUST be pressure canned- and add the jars, placing the lid on properly.
Using the chart from the National Center for Home Food Preservation, pressure can your full jars at the correct time and correct pressure for your altitude. Once the time is done, turn off the heat and leave your pressure canner on the stove until it is cool. To open it early will not only compromise your canning process, but it could also result in serious steam burns for you. Once the pressure canner is cool, open it and using a jar lifter, take the jars of potatoes out and set them on the counter on a dishtowel to continue to cool. Once the jars are fully cool, check your seals, label with date and set them on your shelves in a cool, lower light space.
Now you can enjoy your potatoes any time, and with a lesser cooking time – and a lot less hassle – they’re already peeled and ready to go!
For more information on canning white potatoes.
For more information on canning sweet potatoes