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... goods with the rest of the family, he won't share his canned potatoes... he enjoys them THAT much!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
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 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!|