Canning potatoes is an easy way to preserve this staple food for long term storage.
Have you ever grown potatoes in your garden and wound up with more than you know what to do with?
Have you ever seen potatoes sold in bulk and on sale at the grocery? and wished you could take advantage of the low prices?
I've seen 50 pound boxes of potatoes on sale for $18.00. That works out to about 3.6 cents a pound. 50 pounds of potatoes will last the average family a LONG time, and probably would go bad before they were all finished. You can extend the life of bulk potatoes by canning them. 50 pounds of potatoes will fill about 28 quart sized canning jars.
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Potatoes keep very well in cool, dark storage for a few months, but will lose moisture and shrivel if you can't maintain a relatively high humidity in the storage area. Unless you have a root cellar, this is tough to do. The simple solution to this is to can your potatoes instead. Canned potatoes will keep for several years, and can be used in many of the same ways you would use fresh ones.
Start by washing off any remaining residue from your potatoes. Remove roots, soil, etc.
Then, using a potato peeler, remove the skin and cut away any bad places.
Potatoes can turn brown if exposed to the air for very long. This doesn't affect their flavor, but it does make them look less appealing. You can avoid this by placing peeled potatoes in water.
Warm (nearly hot) water is best, because this will also start warming them up for canning.
At this time, you should put on a large pan of water and begin bringing it to a boil. Also put canning lids (dome lids) in a small pan of water and bring them to a boil.
Once all your potatoes are peeled, they need to be cut up to fit in the canning jars. I like to cut them into roughly one inch cubes. You can cut them up into what ever size you want as long as they fit into the canning jars. As you cut them up, return the pieces to the warm water.
Fill your canning jars with the cut up potatoes, shake them down to help pack them in tighter.
Add 1 teaspoon of canning salt to quarts or 1/2 teaspoon to pints.
Fill canning jars with boiling water, leaving 1 inch headspace.Apply 2 piece rings and lids & screw down hand tight.
Place closed canning jars of potatoes in the pressure canner as soon as the water is near boiling.
My Presto 23 quart pressure canner will hold 7 quarts (single stacked) or 18 pints (double stacked) at a time. It's a good idea to know in advance how many pints or quarts your canner will hold, so you'll know about how many potatoes to prepare.
Process at 10 PSI - quarts for 90 minutes, pints for 70 minutes.
Once done, and pressure has fallen off naturally, remove jars from the canner and allow them to cool to room temperature. After the jars have cooled, check to see that each jar has sealed. It's rare for jars to not seal, but it does happen occasionally. Any that have not sealed, can be refrigerated and eaten within a couple of weeks.
Always be sure to label your canning jars with what you have put in them, and the date that they were canned. This allows you to tap into your stores of canned food using the oldest inventory first.
Canned Potatoes can be used in most ways you would use fresh ones. Only difference is that they're quicker to prepare.
Here just a couple of ideas:
-Dump, drain and rinse canned potatoes, and brown them in a skillet.
-Dump, drain and rinse canned potatoes, heat them in a pan just covered with water, simmer for 10 minutes, drain, add milk and butter, whip with an electric mixer - presto you have mashed potatoes!
-Add drained canned potatoes to soups, stews and chowders that call for fresh potatoes - just add them later in the cooking process.
Canning potatoes is a useful and relatively easy skill that will help you to preserve this valuable staple food for long term storage. Prepared this way, they can be stored and used for several years. It's just one more skill in your arsenal for self sufficiency.