The following article has been generously contributed by Rachel, an avid food preserver and preparer. It has been published or republished with permission of the author. It does not necessarily represent the views of PreppingToSurvive.com.
Canning is an easy and quick process that requires some fresh products, such as tender and young vegetables or fruits.When you plant your own veggies you will definitely find yourself with a certain amount fresh produce more than what you can use in cooking. When you do, then you should think of canning. One summer, thanks to my husband’s overzealous planting, I found myself with a large amount of potatoes about the size of a golf ball. Obviously it would be difficult to store them all and peeling them every time I wanted mashed potatoes would have taken forever. Every housewife is looking for easy tips and shortcuts and I am no different. So canning this huge amount of potatoes was my solution. Here is how I (and you can too) canned about 800 pounds of those small round tubers.
Step 1: Get your equipment and jars ready
Your jars, lids and rings should be washed thoroughly. You can either place them in the dishwasher, or transfer them to a pot full of boiling water. Allow them to sit for an hour to dry thoroughly.
Step 2: Sort your vegetables
Use the small young tender potatoes for canning. Store the larger ones in a dark cool place and prepare the rest for canning.
Step 3: Washing the potatoes
Potatoes are usually covered with soil and dirt so it is crucial to wash them well to remove any possible soil residue.Rinse them off using the water hose to get most of the dirt off, and then either place them in the kitchen sink, or bathtub, and using a vegetable brush, scrub them thoroughly in warm water.
Step 4: Preparing the potatoes
Cut your potatoes in a size that works for you. Remove any bad spots,sprouts, eyes, etc. To keep your potatoes from blackening after they are cut, drop them into a large bucket of water nearby to hold your cut potato chunks. You can add some lemon juice or even Vitamin C tablets to the water to keep your potato from discoloring. This is totally optional. Cut up enough potatoes to accommodate your canner.
Step 5: Actual Canning Process
Your jars and rings are washed and dried and sterile (Step 1).Wash the lids, rings, and jars in hot water or run them through the dishwasher. Use only new lids. Don’t try to reuse your lids. Place your lids in a small pan of boiling water to soften the rubber.
Bring a large pot of water to almost boiling. Tightly pack your potato chunks into your canning jars and add a bit of salt, usually ½ teaspoon for pints, and 1 teaspoon per quarts and pour some of the hot water over your packed potatoes leaving about an inch of headspace. (Laura note: many people say to “hot pack” potatoes, meaning that they must be gently boiled for 10 minutes before packing them in jars. That way the hot water added to cover them in the jars does not cause the jars to break and you can be more certain that the potatoes have cooked all the way to their centers.)
Wipe the rim of each jar. Place a lid from the boiling water on the jar mount and screw on the the ring. When you have filled all of your jars, place them into your pressure canner. Follow your pressure canner’s instructions for the amount of pressure and time to process your potatoes. Usually for potatoes you should process them at 10 pounds pressure for 20 minutes. DON’T open the canner until it is cool. Never force the cooling process, let your canner cool naturally before you open and remove your jarred vegetables. (Laura note: many people say they must be pressure canned for 30-35 minutes for pints and 40 minutes for quarts. I never do less than than the absolute minimum since the point is to kill botulism spores.)
Quick Cooking Tip Using Your Canned Potatoes
Pour the contents of a jar of your canned potatoes into a pot, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil, bring to a boil until all the water is reduced. Season with salt and pepper, add some sour cream or cream cheese and perhaps dried chives. Bon Appétit!
Rachel Ballard is an expert on food preparation and in addition to canning as a way of preserving food, she also likes freeze dried food. When she is not doing something food related, she is a regular contributor to Dan’s Depot.com.