Monday, July 9, 2012

Canning Potatoes


Someone asked me recently when I said I was canning potatoes... "Why? Why would you want to can potatoes, they're so readily available, inexpensive, and they keep a good long while?"

Well, I'm glad you asked!

We grew our first crop of potatoes this year... and we are very proud of that fact! When potatoes are ready, they're ready and we dug them all in one day... almost 100 pounds of them. We don't have a cool, dark cellar or any other cool, dark place to store them and we certainly didn't want them to rot... we worked too hard growing them... AND while digging potatoes, there's always the likelihood that you'll cut or stab a few of them with your garden shovel or digging tools and potatoes don't typically last very long once they've been cut or stabbed (and we cut quite a few!)... so in order to prevent losing the cut potatoes, so we decided to can most of them... plus home-canned potatoes are delicious and will be so convenient to have on hand... just heat and eat, add butter, mash, drain and fry, drain and mix up a potato salad... the possibilities are endless. My brother began canning potatoes a few years ago and although he shares a lot of his canned goods with the rest of the family, he won't share his canned potatoes... he enjoys them THAT much!

Here's what I did...

The hardest part of canning that many potatoes is cleaning them (my plan was to can them with the skins on)... I don't know what the dirt is like in your neck of the woods, but in my garden there's mostly beautiful red clay... that stays moist even on the driest day... and clings to potatoes...

I started out by sorting out the ones I wanted to keep for eating on... the blemish free, good-sized ones to store in a basket in my kitchen...

Then the washing/scrubbing began... I started out with the spuds in baskets and spraying them with the water hose, then I filled the wheelbarrow with them and sprayed them some more... to get rid of most of the dirt before I even brought them inside the house...

I have no pictures of that part of the process... I got a fair amount of the wet, clingy dirt on me and it was NOT a pretty picture! I wouldn't even let myself in the house with those muddy clothes on! Straight into the laundry with those filthy pants... I'm sure someone with more finesse and grace than I have could have remained dirt and grime-free while washing a bushel of potatoes, but alas, I am who I am!

After the outdoor scrub... and a shower and change of clothes for myself... I dumped the taters into the sink and scrubbed them with a brush... then rinsed them... filling the sink several times and rinsing and rinsing yet again... until I had scrubbed them clean.


Once they were all scrubbed and clean, I began preparing them... I trimmed all the bad spots, rotten spots, and cut spots off... I cut them in large dices (maybe an inch to 1-1/2 inches?)... depending on the size of the potato... the tiny ones were left whole or cut in half. I cut them into a pot filled with cool water so they wouldn't turn brown. After I got a pot full, I drained the water out and gave them another little rinse and refilled the pot with clean water.


I brought them to a boil over medium high heat... and boiled them gently for about 5-10 minutes... heated through but not soft.


I then drained them and discarded the cooking liquid.

I packed the hot potatoes into hot quart jars...


...then ladled fresh boiling water to cover the potatoes, leaving a half inch headspace.



I added salt to my potatoes (this step is optional)... 1 teaspoon canning salt per quart jar.


I wiped the jar rims with a damp cloth...



I tightened the hot lids on to fingertip tightness.


Then processed them in my pressure canner at 10 pounds of pressure for 40 minutes (pints would be 35 minutes)

After processing, I removed the jars from the canner using my jar lifter.


...and set them on a folded towel on the counter to cool... and to listen for the PING! of each successfully sealed jar... Music to my ears!!!!!

A grand total of 26 quarts of delicious potatoes!

122 comments:

  1. I love canning potatoes. I canned mine for the first time last year. So convenient to have for soup or just fry them in butter... So glad I canned them. Planning on it again this year. Love you site. So grateful for the info on her. God Bless!

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    Replies
    1. Thank YOU Donna for reading! ~~Granny

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  2. Granny, I canned potatoes last fall and the liquid got cloudy and slimy. What did I do wrong? Yours look so beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tami, my guess is canning them in the cooking liquid... I drained mine after partially cooking them, then added fresh, boiling water... you probably got a build up of the potato starches. ~~Granny

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    2. If you rinse them off good - they are still wonderful to eat. I cold pack mine so I have lots of starch. I may have to try a few of them cooked for a few minutes before putting them into jars. Thanks Mrs. G

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    3. May be you can help me. I have several #10 cans of potatoes my dear husband purchased before he passed away this March. There is no way I would be able to eat all of these potatoes if I should open a can. Is it possible to re-can them in smaller jars? If so how long would you process them at 10# pressure?

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  3. can you water bath them?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, since potatoes are a low acid food, they must be pressure canned. ~~Granny

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    2. No! Potatoes are low acid and must be processed in a pressure canner.

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  4. I have caned for years and enjoy it a lot especially during the winter being able to eat fresh foods i have never however tried potatoes but after seeing these i defiantly will this year they look beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! Go for it! ~~Granny

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  5. The canning experts: Ball and The National Center for Home Food Preservation both say to peel your potatoes before canning them. Something about botulism in the soil being transferred to the jars of canned potatoes.

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  6. I can mine too, too warm in the south to store them for long, they make yummy potato soup as well as potato salad.

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  7. Fabulous post! The pictures make me want to get canning asap! (nothing to can yet in my garden) Great idea to can the potatoes! I've had way too many to use before they start spoiling in the past. Why didn't I think of this? ;-)

    Thanks!

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  8. I canned potatoes for the first time this year. Potatoes are grown locally here, so I don't take up garden space for them. I peeled my, but I think next time I will skip that step. Yours look beautiful.

    JM

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  9. awesome...I love home canned taters...gives me inspiration to grow twice as many next year!

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  10. I, too, have canned potatoes for years. However, I cut my smaller and can pints. Perfect size for Sunday morning fried potatoes. Love the site. Thanks for sharing.

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  11. we canned potatoes last year for the first time as well. We did a few "interesting" things as well as the straight up potatoes.. first we bottled "fries" - cut them into fries and cold packed, adding some salt, a bit of garlic and some whole black pepper. They are great, just drain and toss in the deep fryer. they stay nice and soft on the insides, while the outside gets nice and crispy.
    then we also did some pickled diced potatoes. used the same pickling recipe that i used for the cucumbers and other pickled veggies (we also did turnips last year as well) makes the best pickled potato salad :)

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  12. I love canning potatoes! I peel mine. I also do not pre-cook them. I do, however rinse multiple times before adding to jars. So easy and economical!

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  13. O had never thought to can potatoes. Do they get really muchy? Do then need to be mashed when you use them?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Debbie, they're soft, but hold their shape, not mushy. You could do a potato salad quite nicely with them. ~~Granny

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  14. Your potatoes are gorgeous! I have canned in the past and those potatoes are better than you can buy in market. Easier to use too..just grab a jar for your meal and there you have it...wish I had new potatoes our season for that is gone....love the post.
    Dolly

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  15. Your post inspired me and I will be canning a lot of potatoes this year. Thank you! Can't figure out why you didn't pack them cold though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't cold pack them because my book says to partially cook them to keep them from turning brown. ~~Granny

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    2. I canned potatoes for the first time this year, I did not boil them, however, I put 1/16 teaspoon citric acid in each pint and they are pretty :).....love this post !!

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  16. Does it matter what type of potato you use? I am so excited to try these! Thank you for your awesome post. I love to can!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amber, any potato will do... we had planted 4 different varieties (Yukon Gold, Red Gold, Kennebec, and Irish Cobbler) and I canned them all... mixed together. ~~Granny

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  17. Love this! We'll be canning potatoes this year for sure! I don't grow them myself, but buy them from the Amish. Can't wait!!

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  18. I have a great way to clean potatoes, it is unconventional but it saves me hours of work. I clean my washing machine out by running bleach and water for one complete wash and rinse cycle to disinfect tub inside, then run one full wash to rinse tub completely, then I load in a bushel of potatoes and run it through one wash cycle (regular). The potatoes then wring out once and I check them for cleanliness. Once is usually enough and the potatoes are not only spotless but some are even peeled. I remove from tub, and continue with the canning or freezing. I take the big ones for french fries to fry until almost done then freeze, and the others all get canned.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What an interesting tip! I woulda never thought of that. Thanks so much! ~~Granny

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    2. You can also wash cucumbers this way for pickles. Works great!!

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    3. LOL That's how I wash up my Mustard Greens.

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  19. Oh, cleaning out the washing machine tub is easy, just wipe it out, then run one more wash cycle to make sure it's clean. I've used this method for years, but just started canning potatoes this past year. Love your blog and will try your canning method, your potatoes look great!!!

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  20. Oh forgot to say, NO SOAP, but most would know that...lol!!

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  21. You can also put them in the dishwasher and run the rinse cycle. Works great!

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  22. followed your instructions today and having wonderful results!!! wish we picked more, but 14 jars for my first try and the kids first digging experience is a good start. Thanks for all your great instructions!

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    Replies
    1. Way to go Dannielle!! And thank YOU for reading! ~~Granny

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  23. I completely understand the potato canning, but, I am wondering how they fared when you came to cook them?

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    Replies
    1. We had one jar to come unsealed Jeanette, so we warmed them up and had them for supper... they are PERFECT! Soft but not so mushy as to lose their shape. Very nice indeed! ~~Granny

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    2. Since I do not boil mine, they are firm but cooked, they fry up perfect and are so good!! I would like some softer so I think I will cook some of mine before canning. I still have a 25 pound bag of organic I brought back from CO. :)

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  24. Granny! We also grow potatoes in our garden and we use THE most fabulous tool for cleaning hundreds of pounds of potatoes. An old ringer washer! Take off the cover and fill the tub with water about half way. Then put some of your potatoes in there and run the agitator. The potatoes rubbing against each other will clean them! It works SO good..... Hope you get a chance to try it!

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  25. Well, you made me do it! Started with 25 pounds of potatoes this morning, made dinner with some, put a few more aside and I am waiting on the last batch to finish cooling enough to pull out of the canner. Reds and russets and I even tried 2 quarts of the fries someone mentioned. I just cleaned mine off with one of those green scrubby pads, gets most everything off pretty fast. All total I ended up with 19 quarts.

    Now for the next potato sale!! Wait, no, those go in the dehydrator....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Woo Hoo!!!! Way to go! ~~Granny

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    2. Liked doing it so much I had to add it to my blog. Thanks for the reminder not to be terrified of my canner!

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  26. Granny-I just did the potatoes for the first time and it went great-except-had some fluid loss-down about 2 inches from the top. They seemed full enough when I finished processing, took the jars out after everything returned to zero, no leakage on the counter. Do they absorb moisture when cooling overnight? BTW-LOVE your site-it's renewing my enthusiasm to can new and different stuff! Thanks to all who contribute! Deb

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    Replies
    1. They don't absorb moisture that I know of, you sometimes will lose a bit of liquid during the canning process. They should be fine. ~~Granny

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  27. Granny-I have a "pressure cooker" would it work the same as a "pressure canner"? I am new to this and thought I would be able to use my pressure cooker but now I'm not too sure. Love your site!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A pressure cooker is not necessarily a pressure "canner" but a pressure canner can be used as a "cooker"... if your cooker has a rack in the bottom to allow the jars to be held a bit above the bottom of the cooker, AND has a variable gauge (whether it is a dial gauge or a weighted one) so you are able to determine and maintain the pounds pressure you are using, then yes, you could. If not, I wouldn't chance it... most "cookers" only have one psi and, for example, the one I have only offers 5 pounds pressure. ~~Granny

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  28. Can u use store bought potatoes?

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    Replies
    1. Sure, store bought potatoes may be used, no problem. ~~Granny

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  29. The age of your potatoes makes a difference on how cloudy and starchy the water (in the finished product) becomes as well. The first time I bottled potatoes, it was with a bag of winter storage potatoes from the grocery store. They came of the the jar in one big clump. Since then, I've only bottled the garden fresh. Much better results!

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  30. Many years ago when my boys were young, I remember going to the potato fields with big "potato" bags and pitchforks to dig potatoes. My little boy "helped" by picking up potatoes and playing with them before putting them in a bag. My big boy dug potatoes with his dad, and humped the big bags around the field, and never complained because his friends were at home playing video games!

    Like you, I did lots of washing off the heavy clay in the yard with the hose. Then I scrubbed out the bathtub, put a filter in the drain, and did the final scrubbing. Some went in the cellar, and some got canned. My favorite way to can them is sliced ready for hash browns. Fried up with leftover meat, a jar of corn and onions, and cheese on top. Yum.

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  31. Have you ever done sweet potatoes????

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    Replies
    1. Sweet potatoes are on my list... they're pressure canned at 10 psi for 65 minutes for pints, 90 minutes for quarts. ~~Granny

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  32. The season is coming up and I thought if you can do new potatoes, why not sweet. I'm sick that I didn't can my new potatoes. My neighbor still has some that I am welcome to but they are looking a little ruff around the edges. I did make some potato salad about a week and a half ago but hopefully I can can next red potato season!!

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  33. can you do potatoes in a Hot water bath if you ad some kind of acid to them?

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    Replies
    1. You'd have to add an awful lot of acid (vinegar would work best) and you'd have a finished product that would be a pickled potato, I guess sorta like German Potato Salad. ~~Granny

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  34. Canning foods,has the great advantage of bottling seasonal produce and making it available year round..I never tried this technique of canning potatoes..But I will definitely try out this method.I appreciate for your great writing.Thanks for sharing

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  35. Can you potatoes with herbs and stuff? Garlic, Rosemary, etc? Anything special I'd need to know?

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    Replies
    1. Sure you can. The only herb I know of that it's not recommended for canning is sage... because it gets very bitter during the canning process. ~~Granny

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  36. This site is awesome. I have been reading it for days. Not new to water bath canning but am new to pressure canning. For those folks who are afraid of the pressure canner-- make the investment in a new heavy duty canner. I say new because unless you know who used it last it may be damaged-you do not know how someone else used/abused it; and if you are new to pressure canning you may not recognize damage if you see it.
    My questions are more to do with juggling stove space. Can I use an outdoor propane type stove. Something heavy duty like a Bayou Classic. Not talking a $50 turkey fryer. I realize that adjusting the flame is critical to maintain the correct amount of pressure. Is this advisable?

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  37. This is a great site! The washing machine is a neat idea, if it doesnt damage the machine. I dont have a washing machine due to washing out my laundry by hand-but I would like to get an old ringer washer some day. We planted misc potatoes and had a great crop. We had as many voluteers as the pre-planned planted ones. As well as canning them, I dried a bunch throughout the summer. They all turned out wonderful. We planted tomatos inbetween the potatoes to save space and both lived and produced A LOT! We had volunteer zuchinni and melons grow up right along side of the toms and pots. Its been quite a year.

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  38. I have a question I hope someone can answer. I need to start my Christmas baking for my soldier son and his battle buddies. Since I will be baking loads of goodies to send to him and his buddies, what is the best way to keep everything as fresh as possible. Most of it will be cookies, some fudge and pumpkin breads. I have tried freezing it but it seems to dry out. What is the best way to keep it all as fresh and moist as possible. I will probably mail out about week and a half after the first batch off cookies are made before I can mail out. Thanks for any suggestions and tricks to keep all the baking fresh as possible. Penny

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Penny:
      How about vacuum sealing? Food Saver has attachments for regular and wide mouth canning jars. These could store them until ready to pack and ship.
      How about food grade cardboard packages, like for freezing, then vac-sealed in plastic vacuum seal bags. This would protect from crushing and be light weight for shipping. Maybe restaurants would sell some larger sizes? The vac-seal bags are sold in rolls and bags. Thanks Military Mom and Son for your service. GOD Bless. Cheryl

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    2. My husband has been deployed many times. I do cakes in a jar, they can get ice cream from the dining facility to go with the cake. Cookies I bake on the smaller side and I put them in pringles potato chip cans. Ask friends and family to buy pringles and save you the cans. Homemade caramel corn is great and keeps a long time. I would do the pumpkin bread in the jar. The flat rate mailing boxes are the best way to ship to APO addresses the post office will deliver the supplies including shipping labels, boxes and tape you can order this online.

      Delete
  39. I have very tight clay for soil and am still trying to get it loosened up enough to grow potatoes ...so this year when potatoes were 2-10# bags for $4.00, I bought 40# of potatoes! They canned great! I'll definitely be doing this when they go on sale every year...at least until I get to where I can actually grow them myself!

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  40. Hi, can you tell me the shelf life of the canned potatoes?

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  41. Hi can anyone tell me if the juice in your canned potatoes ever "solidifies"

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  42. Some of the potatoes I canned several months ago no longer have clear water. The potatoes are surrounded by a thick with liquid. Starch? Still OK to eat?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, it's just the starch coming out of the potatoes and perfectly safe to eat. ~~Granny

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  43. Try cleaning ur potatoes in the wash machine this year....lots less mess

    ReplyDelete
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  54. Dear Granny, The pictures above of your potatoes look great. Did the liquid in the jars ever turn milky? Did they stay clear? if so, what did you do to keep the liquid from turning milky?

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  55. I have a presto canner/cooker, it came with a 15 pound weight/regulator I'm having trouble finding a 10 lb weight, do you know if there is a conversion for time using a 15 lb instead of a 10 pressure regulator?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is your weight in pieces? Mine comes apart into 3 pieces. Remove one piece and that is 10 lbs of pressure

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  65. Can you cold pack potatoes? I'[m having trouble with loosing a lot of liquid out of my jars. Canned potatoes for first time today and they all sealed, but they are not all covered with the liquid now. I left a 1/2 in of head space...can't figure out what I did wrong? Any ideas?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can... I'd fill the jars one at a time and add boiling water immediately to keep the potatoes from turning brown. Some liquid loss is normal and there are several reasons it happens... cooling down too quickly is the most common reason, but sometimes you do everything right and it still happens. They'll be fine, you may have a little discoloration on the ones above the liquid line, but they are safe to eat and once they're heated up, the discolored part usually goes away. ~~Granny

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  66. I live in north Carolina. Would I be able to can taters here. I do NOT have a celled. I read someone said you had to use them fast.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You won't need to use them quickly if you can them. They'll last for a year or more. ~~Granny

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  67. I have a Presto Pressure Canner and the booklet that comes with it says to wash, peel and soak the potatoes in an ascorbic acid to prevent darkening, then bring to boil. What do you think about the acid step?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Adding ascorbic acid won't hurt anything, but if you blanch the potatoes before canning, they won't turn brown. ~~Granny

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  68. Hi granny , two weeks ago I canned 10 lbs of potatoes they looked nice at first then they turned cloudy ,now there is so much starch in water it turned thick .I realize this wont hurt the potatoes but do you think if I were to soak in water longer and rinse several times it would not get as cloudy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Soaking and repeated rinsing would definitely help. Did you raw pack? or blanch them first? I find that blanching, then rinsing and canning in fresh boiling water helps the starchiness as well. ~~Granny

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    2. cut into small cubes and boiled for 2 minutes. Always used fresh water for each step .

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  69. I just love your blog. You've inspired me to do a lot more canning. I don't know how in the world you have space for all the canning you do! Is that a crocheted cloth you're using to wipe the rims? I thought I might recognize it since I have them as well. :-)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! And yes, it's a crocheted dishcloth... Love them! ~~Granny

      Delete
  70. I am so scared of a pressure caner. I s there no way at all to do a hot water bath?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, sweetie, I'm sorry... any low acid food (potatoes are low acid) must be pressure canned. ~~Granny

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    2. Clarissa,
      A lot of folks are scared of pressure canners, but the new ones are very, very safe. Check with your local county extension home economics specialist to see if she/he will help you get started; or, if they know someone who would give you a first-time lesson. That's how I got started with using a pressure canner. Once you've used one, you won't be afraid.

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  71. Thank you so much for this web site. I have learned a lot from you. I am 49 years old and this was my first year to can. Although, I grew up in a house where we always had a huge garden and my mother canned, we were never allowed in the kitchen while she was canning, so I never learned. Between your site and my future S-I-L, my first year has been great and I'm getting ready to can my first batch of potatoes. Thanks again. :-D

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  72. Thank for this. I'm canning skin on potatoes this year for the first time. Totally LOVE canned potatoes. We glean (as we live in the tato state) and canned potatoes are just so convenient!

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  73. I canned potatoes for the first time this year in a water bath which I know now is not okay. Is there a way for me to redo them in a pressure cooker without ruining the soup inside?

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    1. I would use new lids and just follow the time and pressure and reprocess them. ~~Granny

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  74. do you have to use citric acid, ascorbic acid or lemon juice to keep the potatoes from turning brown?

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  75. I made the same mistake, canned in the water bath before I knew better. I did however add citric acid. Do you think they'll be okay? I have 3 jars that have started to turn cloudy just since Monday, which is what led me to this post.
    Also, if I am going to re-can them, how long do you think I have?

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  76. I would recan ASAP... they most likely will go bad just being water bathed. ~~Granny

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  77. Thanks! Do you think I should toss the ones that have turned cloudy? I opened a jar out of curiosity and they smell fine, not fermented, yeasty, or foul smell, just potato. I did can them in the water I boiled them in and I cooked then down much more than I had planned.

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    1. The cloudiness is most likely just the starch coming out of the potatoes... I would re-can. Doesn't sound like they've gone bad yet. ~~Granny

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