4/9/10

12 Canning 101: Pressure Canning Potatoes

Did you know that you can bottle (can) potatoes?

I didn't.

Last year, I walked into a neighbor's kitchen and on her counter was a display of bottled potatoes.

I knew right there and then, I just had to bottle potatoes.




Later that summer, there was a killer deal on potatoes from Idaho.  I think I ordered a total 150 pounds of Reds, Russetts, and Golds.

Essential Equipment Needed:

1.  A pressure canner.  When you pressure can, make sure you use a CANNER, not a COOKER.  The pressure canner I am using is the Presto 22 Quart, which holds 7 quart bottles OR up to 20 pints, depending on the shape of the pint jars.


Remember to read and follow ALL the instructions provided in your canner.




2.  Jars.  These come in different sizes:  half pint, pints, quarts and half gallon.  The mouths (opening of jars) come in two sizes: regular and wide.  The wide mouth jars are great for larger pieces such as peach halves.  These jars can be used repeatedly, as long as there are no chips or cracks.  I purchased 12 regular pint jars (with lids & rings) for $7.50.

3.  Lids and Bands (rings).  The rings can be used repeatedly, as long as there are no signs of rust or dents. The lids can only be used ONCE.  I purchased my  box of 12 regular lids for $1.50.  The wide mouth lids cost slightly more.




4.  The Ball Blue Book.  The is the canning Bible.  It is a very thorough book that gives you instructions on canning, freezing, and dehydrating.  It comes complete with recipes and includes recipes for  low sugar and low salt diets.






Useful, but not Essential Equipment:

1.  Jar Lifter
2.  Jar Funnel
3.  Bubble Remover/Headspace Tool
4.  Lid Wand
(Amazon has this kit on the left for under $15)






Specialty Equipment (for some recipes)
1.  Food Scale
2.  Food Mill, Pureer, Processor or Grinder
3.  Juice Extractor or Juice Strainer
4.  Candy/Jelly Thermometer

Now that we have our potatoes and equipment, are you ready?  Here we go ~

My potatoes have a LOT of dirt on them  (which is good to preserve the potato) so I put them into a bucket to soak.








I opted to leave the skins on and wash them really, really well.







There ~ that's much better!

The Ball Blue Book says to peel your potatoes.  In retrospect, I probably should have.  It would have saved me a lot of time scrubbing!  This potato looks practically peeled...




I cut the potatoes into 1" cubes








and immediately put them in a bucket of cold water to prevent browning.







I filled my canner with 3 quarts of boiling water and began to fill my quart jars.

It's important to loosely pack the potatoes.  I like using the funnel for ease of filling and to keep the tops of the jars clean.




Pour boiling water into filled jars, leaving a 1" headspace.








It is also important to get as many bubbles out of the jar as you can.  You can use a table knife, but I like this flexible tool that comes with my canning kit.






The lids have been simmering in hot water to soften the rubber.



I like to use this magnetic Lid Wand that came with my kit, since grabbing lids in hot water is no fun!



The rings (bands) are then screwed on fingertip tight....not superhuman strength tight.


If the bands are too tight, then air cannot escape to create a vacuum seal.



Seven jars are put into the canner and the lid is locked on tight.

The stove is turned on high and I wait for the steam to escape through the valve.


Once I see a steady stream of steam, I set the timer for 10 minutes.


After 10 minutes of continuous steam, I then put the regulator over the valve.


This traps the steam and the canner begins to build pressure.




I watch the dial slowly climb up to 13 pounds of pressure (this is the correct pressure for my altitude).

If you are not sure what your altitude is, Google it or check with your State Extension Office.





The potatoes are processed (pressure canned) for 40 minutes.  During this time, you need to watch the dial carefully, making sure that it doesn't drop below or exceed the recommended pressure for your altitude.

At the end of the 40 minutes, the canner needs to be moved off the heat source (electric stoves).  Since I have a gas stove, I just leave my canner in place.

Allow the pressure to come down to zero on its own.  When you see the dial at "zero" it is safe to remove the regulator.  Then set the timer for 10 minutes to allow any additional steam to escape.

After 10 minutes, it is safe to remove the lid.  Remember to open the lid AWAY from you.

Using a jar lifter, gently lift each jar out of the canner and place it on a heat-proof surface (wooden cutting board) that is covered with a towel.


Place each jar about 1" apart to allow air to circulate, helping the jars cool.


Leave the jars alone for 12-24 hours.

Check for a seal by pressing the center of each lid.  If the lid does not flex, take the band off.  Gently try to lift the lid with your fingertips.  If the lid does not flex, and you can't get the lid off, you have a SEAL.


Write the date on the lid and store in a dry, cool place.

I can think of SO many uses for these potatoes....soups, casseroles,  a potato salad or simply pan fried with your favorite seasonings.


 They are fully cooked and can be mashed.  Cool, huh?


How do you like your potatoes?




Special thanks to Aimee from Momzoo, who answered every question and allayed every fear!








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