Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Canning 101: White Potatoes

Canning white potatoes is almost identical to canning sweet potatoes with only a few changes. This is a great way to store an overabundance of this root vegetable. Canning your own food is a great way to be conscious of what you eat and a way to keep the over-processed foods available in the grocery stores these days out of your diet.

*The full recipe without commentary will be at the very end of this post.

1. Get everything out and set up, ready for use.

2. Prepare your jars. Check them for chips or cracks and sterilize them. I put mine in my dishwasher on the extra hot sterilizing cycle. If you don't have a dishwasher wash the jars in hot soapy water, rinsing well.

3. Prepare your potatoes. Wash them, leave the smaller potatoes whole and quarter the larger potatoes. Place them in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil to partially cook them, until the peel can be easily removed, about 10 minutes.

4. Drain the water and let them cool for awhile. Peel and cut into 1" cubes. Place the cubes in a bowl/pot with water and lemon juice (about 1 quart of water and 2 Tbs of lemon juice will do the trick). This will keep your white potatoes from discoloring or darkening while you work.

5. Prepare the rest of your equipment. Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil, this will be used to pour over the potatoes in the jars. And place your lids in another small pot, heat but don't boil.

6. Prepare your pressure canner(s- I'll be using 2 canners this time). Fill it with 4 quarts of water and set the heat to medium/low to begin heating the water. I have really hard water so I also add a couple tablespoon of white vinegar to the water. The vinegar keeps a chalky white build up off the jars- it's not going to hurt your jars if you don't add the vinegar but it just makes them look nicer!

7. Fill each jar, leaving 1 inch of headspace between the potatoes and the rim.

8. Pour the boiling water over the potatoes, also leaving about 1 inch of headspace.

9. Run a couple wooden skewers or a wooden spoon between the inside edge of the jar and the potatoes to release any air bubble. Add more hot water as needed.

10. Clean the jar rims off, place on the lids and rings, finger tip tight. You don't need to tighten the rings too much, just enough to hold the lids in place.

11. Place the jars into the pressure canner and lock the lid in place.

12. Turn the heat up on the canner. At this point the pressure gage is at zero, the cap is off the air vent, and the vent is down in the open position.

13. As heat and pressure builds the vent will eventually pop up into the closed position. Leave the cap off the air vent for 5 to 10 minutes to let the steam to continue to vent, and heat and pressure to build.

14. Place the cap on and let pressure build. For white potatoes, the pressure needs to be between 10 and 11 pounds of pressure. Adjust the heat to keep it at the correct pressure throughout the canning process.

15. Once pressure has built to the correct 10-11 pounds of pressure, begin timing. Can the white potatoes for 35 minutes for pints or 40 minutes for quarts.

16. Once the times is up, turn the heat off and leave the canner alone. Let the pressure decompress on its own. Once the air vent has dropped back down into the open position it is safe to open the canner. When you open it, lift the lid away from you. It's still hot in there and you don't want to be burned by the steam!

17. Using your jar lifters remove the jars from the canner and set them in a place to cool for 12-24 hours. You might here the lids 'pop!' down sometime in the cooling process. After the jars are cool check to make sure all the lids have popped down and are correctly sealed. If any jars haven't sealed correctly, re-process them in the pressure canner with new lids or use immediately and store in the refrigerator.

To store: Label the lid with the date and what is in the jar. Remove the rings and place in a cool, dry place out of the sunlight. Store for up to a year.

Before eating canned items, always check the jar for a good seal, check the canned item for a fresh smell and good color. If anything looks off or smells bad then toss it!

Potatoes- White or Irish

  • 2 to 3 pounds white potatoes per quart
  • Salt (optional)
  • Water
Wash white potatoes; drain. Leave small potatoes whole; cut large potatoes into quarters. Cover potatoes with water in a large saucepot; boil 10 minutes. Remove from eat and partially cool; peel and place in lemon bath (1 quart water to 1 Tbs lemon juice). Pack potatoes into jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to each pint jar, 1 teaspoon salt to each quart jar (optional). Ladle boiling water over potatoes, leaving 1-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust 2-piece caps. Process pints 35 minutes, quarts 40 minutes, at 10 pounds pressure in a steam-pressure canner.

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