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PRESERVING POTATOES

Why preserve potatoes when they are so readily available all year round?  There are really two answers to this – one is if you grow your own and don’t want any to go to waste, and the other is taking advantage of buying large quantities of potatoes at a great price.  We might all have to be on stricter and stricter food budgets some day soon, so buying in quantity is a wise move. But how to preserve them so the family can still enjoy having them on their plates?

Simple – preserve them by canning.  You do need to have a pressure canner, but that is one investment everyone should be considering since food prices are going up.  And there is no way better to save money than to can and preserve your own food, whether you grow your own or buy in quantities.

CANNING POTATOES:

Wash, peel and rinse your potatoes (boiling potatoes seem to do best, but baking potatoes do fine).  If you have large potatoes, peel and cube them in a uniform matter; if you have small boiling potatoes you can leave them whole.

After rinsing, place the peeled and/or cubed potatoes in a bowl filled with an ascorbic acid solution (one cup fresh squeezed lemon juice to one gallon water).  This is to prevent discoloration.  Soak them just a few minutes and then remove the potatoes from the solution.  Throw the solution away.

Take the potatoes directly from the acid solution and place in one of the pots of boiling water.  Leave them in the boiling water for 10 minutes to blanch them.

HOT PACK ONLY: Loosely pack the hot potatoes to within 1″ of the top.   Add salt – 1/2 teaspoon for a pint jar or 1 teaspoon for a quart jar (this is for taste only, so it’s an option) and then cover the potatoes with fresh boiling water from the second pot that is on the stove.  Leave an inch of head space at the top of the jar.  This is to allow for expansion.  Using a clean dishcloth, wipe the top of each jar before placing the lids and rings on and secure snugly.

Process in pressure canner at 10 to 11 pounds  pressure (verify directions with the manual that came with your pressure cooker) 30 minutes if using pint jars and 40 minutes if using quart jars.

Remove jars from canner and let cool and to allow jars to seal properly.  When the jars are completely cooled and sealed, place in a dark cool area for long term storage.

Before attempting to can for the first time, please read your owners manual that came with your canner.   To prevent contaminated or spoiled food, you have to follow directions closely and make sure all jars and lids are sterilized properly.

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