The first thing I canned in our new house was potatoes! It was the first of what we can only hope are many jars processed in our home. Remember how I talked about storage potatoes and how ours were hanging in there? Well, they aren’t hanging in there anymore. I actually believe in our old basement they would have been fine. It wasn’t heated down there but it didn’t freeze because it was still part of our home. Now, there are heat vents in our basement. Which is cool because it’s not frigid down there all year. It’s not good for storage though and our potatoes started to sprout. Hence, we started canning potatoes.
Wash or Peel?
The first decision that you need to make before you start canning your potatoes is to peel or to wash. Potatoes fresh out of the ground are very dirty. To can them they have to be clean. Your first option is to peel the potatoes. This is the method I chose because it was easier than standing at the sink scrubbing for hours at a time. We just have a ton of potatoes so it would have taken longer than just peeling them. I got into a pretty good process of peeling and cutting at the same time too.
Your second option is to scrub them clean. If you have many hands and a great brush this is a good option. Also, if you want to keep the skins for their nutrient profile you’ll also want to choose this method. The skins on the potatoes contain fiber, B vitamins, vitamin C, iron, calcium, potassium and other nutrients. When you look at it this way, peeling is a big loss.
It’s all up to you and what you want!
Cutting up Potatoes
Whether you choose to wash or peel your potatoes you need to cut them up. You can cut them into whatever type of potato shape you want. Do you want to make potatoes au gratin? Thinly slice them. Do you want to fry them up in the pan? Cube them up. Do you want french fries? Cut them into fry shape. Again, this is going to be based on your preference.
We use them mainly for breakfast. For that purpose, we decided it would be best to just cube them. This is super simple to do with just a standard kitchen knife. If you are choosing one of the more difficult cuts like fries or thinly sliced you may want to use some of the tools available to you. There are super handy french fry cutters that will make the process much more quick for you. We also don’t have room for more kitchen gadgets so the knife will do just fine for us.
When you are cutting up your potatoes put them directly into a bowl or pot of cold water. This will help keep them from turning brown.
One of your next steps will need to be to sterilize your jars and get your lids ready. In the next steps you’ll see one of them is to boil the potatoes. I typically try to get my jars ready while my potatoes are boiling. This gives the jars a chance to get nice and warm. Ready for the filling I’m about to put in them. You don’t want to put warm filling (and water) into a cold jar because it can cause it to break. The vise versa of this can also cause breakage too in case you were wondering.
The jury is still out on what to do with lids. Ball no longer recommends boiling them but also tells you that you have the option to. Basically, it shouldn’t matter if you do or don’t boil your lids. I don’t love that. Give me some clear directions. Too many people have been having too many issues with their lids for Ball to not give more clarity, in my opinion. I still choose to boil mine because it’s the way we’ve always done it. If someone else can clear this up I am all ears!
- Wash or peel potatoes.
- Cut them up and put them in cold water.
Drain and rewash your potatoes.
Boil the cut up potatoes for 10 minutes.
Drain the potatoes (reserving the boiling hot water).
Pack the potatoes into jars. I typically add a couple of scoops and then pound the jar on the counter a couple of times to get it to settle. This helps get some of the air pockets out and process them correctly. Fill them up to the hips of the jars.
- Add the boiling hot water into the jars. This will also go up to the hips of the jars.
- Wipe the rings of the jars off thoroughly.
- Place the lids and rings on the jars.
- Pressure Can
Potatoes do not have acidity (like tomatoes for example). That means that they need to be pressure canned to preserve them properly. You need to make sure you follow the proper directions for your canner (how much water to add, how to seal, etc). Process the pints for 35 minutes and the quarts for 40 minutes- both of them at 10 lbs of pressure. This is for altitudes of less than 1000 ft so if you are above that find one of those nifty little charts to help you adjust your time/pressure.
Finish Canning Potatoes
When your potatoes are done let the pressure naturally go down in the pressure canner. It’s important that you do not rush it. If you rush it this will lead to syphoning and your jars will lose the water that is inside of them. Using your jar lifter, remove the jars from the canner. Allow them to sit on the counter for 24-48 hours before moving them. This will give them time for the temperature to go down to normal and the lids to finish sealing.
If you have any lids that don’t seal you can reprocess your jars at the same time and pressure. I’ve yet to have this happen quite yet but I hear it works well and can save you from having to eat that food right away or, worse, having to throw it out.
What was the first thing that you canned at your home? Never would I have thought we’d be canning potatoes at our new home in December, but here we are! Feeling thankful to be able to preserve our harvest at all times of the year.