When summer canning is underway, most people don’t include potatoes. That’s reasonable. Potatoes are available all year long, they’re cheap to buy and they can be stored in a cool place for a fairly long time without the need for special preservation techniques. But for those growing their own produce, canning the harvest is an easy way to store home grown spuds for use well beyond the few months a potato might last (even in the best of conditions). Canned potatoes can also come in handy at dinnertime, when the precooked potatoes make speedy mashed potatoes or hash browns a snap.
If your canning experience has been mostly about pickles and jam, potatoes may require some new equipment. Like many vegetables, potatoes are low-acid, which means they can’t be processed in a water bath like pickles, jam or other canning projects with sufficient acidity. Instead we look to pressure canning. While the temperature of a standard water bath peaks at 212 degrees F, the pressurized steam in a pressure canner can heat to 240 degrees F (or higher), which is the magic number needed to kill the bacteria that leads to botulism without the help of the bacteria-killing acid found in water bath appropriate foods.
Pressure canning is not difficult, but requires attention to be successful. Once the prescribed pressure has been reached (in this case, 11 pounds), that pressure must be maintained until the process is completed. This usually means hanging around in the kitchen and making minor adjustments to the temperature on the stove now and again to maintain steady pressure.
Pressure canning is worth the effort for those who want to preserve low-acid foods without pickling or otherwise adjusting acidity. Low-acid canned goods retain much of the flavor found in fresh produce and often have a much longer shelf-life than high-acid canned goods.
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 10-12 pounds potatoes
- 7 teaspoons salt (optional)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil at high heat.
Combine lemon juice with a gallon of water in a large bowl or other container.
Wash and peel potatoes and cut to desired size. Depending on size and preference, potatoes may be quartered, cut into 1-2 inch cubes or left whole.
As each potato is peeled and cut, place in lemon juice solution, which prevents browning.
Drain lemon juice solution from potatoes and transfer potatoes to boiling water to blanch for 2 minutes. Blanching will release some of the starch in the potatoes, reducing clouding and water loss in the canned produce. Remove from heat. Drain and discard water.
Place a teaspoon of salt in the bottom of each of 7 sterile quart canning jars. Salt does not impact the canning process and is added only for flavor.
Fill jars with blanched potatoes, leaving 1 inch of headspace.
Bring about 3 quarts of fresh water to a boil and pour boiling water into each jar to cover potatoes.
Cap jars with lids and bands.
Process jars in a pressure canning at 11 pounds pressure for 40 minutes (up to 14 pounds at higher altitudes). Consult your pressure canner instruction manual for equipment-specific canning instructions.