Canning potatoes is one of those practical skills that everyone should have ~ potatoes are such a stapel. It's one of those things that you will use over and over again. When you're running low on grocery money for the month, what's the cheapest food you can buy that's still nutritious and filling? Potatoes!
The one thing, though, that I've never liked about potatoes, is how long they take to cook. Growing up, it took a lot to convince Mom to make mashed potatoes (except at Christmas and Thanksgiving) because of all the work it meant. At the time I didn't understand, but now, as I've done more cooking, I totally sympathize with her! Who wants to peel and chop potatoes for the next hour, anyway?
That's why canning potatoes is such a great idea. If all you have to do to make mashed potatoes is pop open a jar and heat, I'm in! Byb-bye, time intensive mashed potatoes! And hello convenience.
Start Canning Potatoes
1. The first step to canning potatoes is to wash and peel them. Some people say it's fine to can the potatoes with the skin, but I do not recommend doing this. No matter how much you scrub a potato, it's unlikely that you'll ever get all the dirt off. When you're canning, it's very important to eliminate as much bacteria as possible ~ and that includes washing and peeling vegetables when necessary. So.....peel those 'taters!
2. Now you need to chop the potatoes. Chop them in cubes 2 inches large or less. Remember, they need to be small enough to cook and soften in the pressure canner. You don't want crunchy potatoes!
At this point, you may want to rinse them one last time in a colander or strainer to get the last bit of dirt off.
3. Remember how potatoes darken if you leave them out? Well, thankfully that doesn't have to be the result of canning potatoes. Simply soak your chopped potatoes in a solution of lemon juice and water (about 1 C. of lemon juice to 1 gallon water) or you can use 2 T. Fruit Fresh in the same amount of water. This will keep them from darkening - and it will make your potatoes look much more appetizing in the end.
Once you're done, drain the potatoes and throw out the liquid.
4. Now cook your potatoes in a large pot of water for 2 mintues, no longer. Don't try to cook potatoes until soft; this step is not to cook them. You're only trying to blanch here.
Again, once the 2 minutes is up, drain and throw out the liquid.
5. Now it's time to fill your jars. Make sure that they have been washed and sterilized well ~ this can be done by boiling a few jars at a time on the stove, running them through the dishwasher, or washing them by hand. Just make sure they're clean and hot.
Have hot jars when filling them with hot food is very important, by the way. If you have cold jars and dump steaming hot food in them, it is possible that your jars could shatter, injuring you and ruining the food. Always heat your jars before packing them with hot food.
Don't pack the potatoes in tight, but loosely fill the jar and shake up and down to ensure they are settled.
6. Wipe the rims of your jars. This is a very important step. When you fill the jars, it's very likely that you will get food particles/sticky stuff on the rims. This will almost always cause lid failure, meaning that the lids will not seal. I've had this happen before, and it's not fun. Avoid this issue entirely by taking a few seconds to wipe the rims with a clean, damp towel or rag. Then wipe dry with a paper towel.
7. Place the lids and rims on your jars. The rims (also called rings or bands) should be finger tight. You don't need to wash your lids since they're new
(don't ever re-use lids)
but the rims can be re-used, so wash them if they're dirty.
8. Since you are canning potatoes, and those are
you are going to pressure can them. So....fill up your
with water (about half-way, but check your user's manual for specific instructions). Place it on the biggest burner on your stove, and then place your jars in the canner. Remember, a typical canner will hold 7 quarts, no more. Never try to cram more than that in the canner.
9. Turn the burner onto high heat and place the lid on your canner. Make sure that it is really "on". Since there are
two types of pressure canners,
you need to read the manual that came with your canner to know exactly what to do at this point. But as far as processing times, you should can potatoes for roughly 40 minutes. Also, it's very important for you to know how much weight or pressure you should place on your canner.
Click here to figure out how much pressure or weight you should add for your specific altitude.
10. Once you have finished processing your potatoes, it's time to remove them from the canner. NEVER open up your pressure canner until it has completely released all of it's pressure and steam. Opening it will it is still under pressure could cause serious injury to you. Wait until it has completely cooled.
Once you are positive that it has cooled down, carefully open the lid and remove the jars. Place them on a cooling rack or a tea towel on the counter. Jars should not be disturbed for 12 - 24 hours, as they need to be still in order to seal properly.
Congratulations! You just finished canning potatoes! Now you have a beautiful store of delicious food that you can have ready at a moment's notice.
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