How To Can Potatoes
Canning Potatoes for Easy Meal Prep
Reading Time: 4 minutes
Many individuals wonder why one would learn how to can potatoes when they store well in a cold storage space or root cellar. The answer is quite simple, for convenience. Home-canned potatoes are completely cooked once the canning process is done, making them a ready-to-consume food item.
There are days in which working the property takes precedence to preparing the meals for the day, and on these days I opt to grab items from the canning pantry to prepare a meal. Is there anything better, or more convenient than grabbing a jar of Shepherd’s pie filling and home-canned potatoes for Shepherd’s pie? Now, add an easy no yeast bread and some green from the garden and you have the quickest, and easiest, meal to serve your family.
I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked whether canning potatoes is worth space in the pantry. My response is the same every time … it is absolutely worth having jars of canned potatoes in the pantry. Remember, canned foods that have been pressure canned provide not only a method for preserving foods, but also a healthy version of fast food. Do you need 50 jars of potatoes? Not if you were able to store fresh potatoes into the root cellar or cold storage space.
One thing you will have to remember, canning potatoes means they are completely cooked. This means you will be able to serve mashed potatoes to your heart’s content, and for my family, that is not a problem! Canned potatoes can also be used as an ingredient in a dish, however, how they are incorporated as an ingredient is a little different than what most are used to.
When using pressured canned vegetables as an ingredient, you simply just need to heat them, as pressure canned goods are already cooked.
If you are ready to give canning potatoes a go, here are the steps for you. Just make sure to store some fresh as well!
How to Can Potatoes
The process of learning how to can potatoes is extremely easy, but there is one vital tip you are going to need to remember. All root vegetables must be peeled before canning them. Botulism, Clostridium botulinum, thrives in the soil. To ensure the spores do not transfer to your home-canned goods, it is essential to peel potatoes prior to canning them. This includes new or young potatoes. One last tip: potatoes can be canned cubed or whole.
- 20 pounds potatoes, red potato variety cans well
- Ascorbic acid, bottled lemon juice, or citric acid to prevent browning — one teaspoon ascorbic acid to one gallon of water
- Boiled water
The method used for canning potatoes is a hot pack method. If you are new to canning, make sure to read up on how to use a pressure canner.
- Wash and peel potatoes, cut into cubes no larger than ½ to 1-inch cubes. Cutting potatoes too small will cause the pieces to break up during the canning process.
- Place cut potatoes in an ascorbic acid solution of 1 teaspoon per 1 gallon of water to prevent browning.
- Bring the stockpot to a boil. When the water reaches a hard boil, drain the potatoes from the ascorbic acid solution and blanch for two minutes.
- In a kettle, bring fresh water to a boil.
- Strain the potatoes and begin filling quart-size canning jars leaving a one-inch headspace. Do not damage the potatoes already in the jar.
- Salt is optional. Just keep in mind that the longer a seasoned jar of food sits, the more amplified in flavor it becomes. If salt is desired, a generous pinch of salt is all that’s needed.
- Fill jars with hot water from the kettle making sure to leave a one-inch headspace.
- To not damage the potatoes in the jars, gently tap the jars onto the counter to remove any potential air bubbles. Add additional water if necessary making sure to leave a one-inch headspace.
- Once the canning process is complete, remove jars from the pressure canner and allow them to rest, waiting for the lids to vacuum seal themselves to the jar.
- Once the jars have completely cooled, remove the rings and gently wash the jars with warm water and dish soap. Mark the jars with the contents and the date that they were canned. This ensures you are using older jars of food first.
Select the correct PSI based on your altitude above sea level.
Storing Canned Potatoes
Now that you have mastered how to can potatoes, make sure to store the jars appropriately. Home-canned foods store best between 50 and 70 degrees F, making cold storage or root cellar ideal.
Originally published in Countryside and Small Stock Journal, September/October 2021 and regularly vetted for accuracy.