Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Canning Potatoes

From Movies

(I am experimenting making "movies".  You have to click on it to get it to open.  Bear with me I will get the hang of it)
Today was raining, cold and blustery.  A perfect Fall day to spend canning.  I bought a 50lb bag of baking potatoes for $5.57.  The potatoes were the huge baking variety.  I am sad to say some had rotten spots but they were easily cut off.

This was my first attempt at canning potatoes.  I have cooked up stews with potatoes and canned it sucessfully in the past but not just potatoes.  Since we eat so many taters it was time to can some up.  We like them mashed, fried, baked, in curry dishes, soup, stew and casseroles.

The potaotes were very dirty.  Buying them in bulk means they have not been as processed as the ones in the grocery store.  I let them soak in the sink for a while before peeling them. 

I found the peeler I had was making my hand sore.  I went to my neighbor (who is a great cook) and asked if she had a more friendly variety of peeler.  Of course she did.  She told me she got it at WalMart and I will get one on my next trip to that neighborhood!  It moved very easily and got some serious scraping done. 

I peeled the potatoes although we usually wash them, scrub them then cook them with the peels on.  Most of the directions I looked up called for canning peeled potatoes.  I think it is because they are a root vegetable and grow in the ground.  The ground if full of bacteria and can contain botulism.  I have reported before that Washington reports a hight level of botulism and these potatoes were grown in Washington. Since I want to steer clear of fatal sicknesses, I peeled all 50 pounds of the spuds single handedly. (Note:  I did some more research and found gardeners that had canned their new potatoes with the skins on.  I agree that if carefully washed this would be fine.  Especially if you are an organic gardener and know what is in your soil.)

I also cut off all the marks so they were all white.  I wanted to be sure there wasn't any rot or bruised areas.

Then I cleaned them thoroughly using the faucet spayer attachment.  Now I had a sink full of clean, peeled potatoes to work with.

The steps to can potatoes include:
  • Preparing by cleaning, peeling and cutting into desired pieces.
  • Blanching in boiling water for 2 minutes.
  • Draining.
  • Packing in hot clean quart canning jars then adding boiling water, leaving 1 inch of headspace. 
  • Clean rim then seal with heated lid and close with ring.
  • Process in a pressure canning for 40 minutes (30 minutes for pint jars) all at 11 pounds of pressure under 1,000 feet.
We did the canning outside with the propane heaters even though it was raining off and on.  I needed two large stock pots on the stove.  One was to cook the potatoes for two minutes and the other was to boil water to cover the potatoes in the jars.  I did not think there would be room on the stove to get the job done so outside the processing went.

The cooking time is shorter than meat which was nice.  Now I have 32 quarts of canned potatoes.  I chose not to add any salt for flavoring since when they are cooked later they will probably be salted.  No sense in salting them twice.

The potaoes break down to $.17 a quart (there were some potaotes left over which we had for dinner in a cheeseburger casserole and the rest will be fried up for breakfast).  I have not paid more than .25 a jar shopping at yard sales and estate sales.  Lids probably costs me no more than .10 beause I purchase lids on sale only and in bulk. Finally, the propane costs me about .07 per quart. So if I have figured correctly, a quart oh home canned potatoes cost me $1.22.  Last time I checked a can of potatoes in the grocery store it was .79 and that was probably on sale.  A can is less than a pint.  So, even though it was a lot of effort, I would say canning potatoes is worth the effort.

The potatoes are now cooled.  I am disapointed that they broke down quite a bit and I know it is due to using bakers.  I am sure they will be good for potato soup or mashed up for a Shepperds Pie.  I am going to use a harder variety next time in my experiments.  Also three jars did not seal.  I have to admit I know what happened.  Tim was helping me and I forgot to remind him to wash the rims carefully before placing the lids and rings.  Oh well potato soup tonight!

Tomorrow I will can the potatoes I grew in my own garden.  I have three varieties of different colors.  Since most of the potatoes came up from last year I do not have any real money in them.  The results of my canning will be even more frugal!!!! 

Note: Since I finished my tater caper experience I learned waxy potatoes can up better in chunks than other varieties.  The bakers look more mushy and have more starch in the water than the Yukon Golds and Reds.

Here is a recipe I found on the internet that sounds really good and uses canned potatoes.

Jar of canned Potatoes
Your favorite type of Cheese ( mixed varieties is ok )
Chopped Green Onion or Sliced Onions
Fresh Minced Garlic or Garlic Powder (Opt)
Veggie oil , Butter or Margarine (Whatever you like ~ I like olive oil )
Grease baking pan with veggie oil , just pour a small amount to coat bottom of baking dish. Pre-heat oven to 375. Drain water off canned potatoes and pour into baking dish , cut potatoes in half unless they are chunks , bake for 10 to 20 minutes. Remove and add minced garlic , cheese and onion , return to oven and cook until cheese melts or browns. I like my cheese browned.  Exact measurements on ingredients not available , just use the amount you have or like.

Here is another good idea for potatoes from Backwoods Home Magazine.

I have been looking for canning instructions for canning home made corned beef hash and haven’t found much. Can you please help me with this?

Tom Harden
Klawock, Alaska

Tom: I have had great luck canning hash. It’s easy. Grind your trimmed corned or roast beef in a meat grinder. Then grind several quartered RAW potatoes until the mixture is to your liking. In a large frying pan, add just a little oil and begin frying the hash, stirring well to mix the potatoes and meat. When the mixture is nice and hot….but not cooked, spoon out into hot wide mouthed pint jars to within an inch of the top. Don’t pack it down tightly. Add a tsp of salt, if you wish, to each pint jar. Wipe the rim clean of grease and food bits, then place a hot, previously simmered lid on the jar and screw down the ring firmly tight.
Process the pints at 10 pounds pressure for 75 minutes. If you live at an altitude above 1,000 feet, consult your canning manual for directions on adjusting your pressure to suit your altitude. — Jackie

Remember it is advised to boil canned food for 10 minutes to kill anything not killed during the canning process.  Be careful and use judgement or you might end up with mush.  I would add canned potatoes to soups in the last step of the recipe.  A jar of canned beef, some fresh veggies and a jar of canned potato would make a good quick stew or soup on a cold Fall night.  Canned spuds would be a good addition to a chicken pie also.  I love to make chicken pie with leftover chicken or turkey pie with my canned turkey.

I hate to admit it but I still have beets and carrots in the garden that need to be canned.  I hear them calling me.


MauserMedic said...

Just did this recently for the first time also; used russets with the skin on. Some starch settling out, but otherwise they look fine.

Jeanna said...

Found you blog a few days ago and am learning lots. I think you may have misfigured on you potato price unless I misunderstand.
.59 a quart.

As I said I might have misunderstood but that is what I figured. It is a good price either way.

Great Job,

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