Thursday, March 8, 2018

Canning Potatoes the Lazy Way

We've been excessively blessed with sunlight the past couple of weeks.  I haven't had to run the generator for at least a week, and everyone just feels a bit more peppy.

After canning the chicken last week, I was enthused to replenish our pantry with meals in jars, so I set to work doing up our potatoes.  I have mixed and matched a few techniques for doing potatoes that I think make mine easy, safe and still tasty and useful.

First off, it's widely accepted that peeling them is important and they really aren't safe otherwise.  I happen to see some logic to this, and besides, I'm really retentive about ensuring only the best of the best stuff gets canned, so I like to peel them to see what's going on under the skins.

Peeled, and ready to slice and dice for soaking.
I also do dice them into odd shaped chunks.  I would like to slice them uniformly for scalloped potatoes, but I believe that you have to have good circulation of water around them to ensure proper processing, and if they were all stacked up, the interior of the stack may not get up to a good temperature.

These were soaked overnight, and now I'm dicing them a bit smaller before putting them into the jars.
It seems that many people briefly boil (parboil?  blanch?) their potatoes before canning them.  A year or two ago when I was having kidney problems, I was told to lay off potatoes due to potassium, or to soak them overnight to help reduce it a bit.  This also has the function of removing much of the starch in the potatoes that caused them to go cloudy and slimy when canned.  I find the overnight soak is just as effective as boiling them before canning them.

With non-sealing lids, ready to soak overnight in the jars themselves.
Normally I have been soaking them in some large bowls, but that is very disruptive in the fridge, so now I raw pack them in jars, top up the jars with clean water and let them sit in the fridge overnight like that.  Then I drain off the water, pour in new water (cold, warm, hot - it doesn't matter - it just affects how long the steamer takes to come up to pressure) and put on the lids and rings.

Ready to go into the canner.  Fresh water up to the threads, just enough to cover the potatoes.
Nota bene I don't bother sterilizing the jars or lids or rings.  It's clear that I'm basically autoclaving everything that goes in the canner, so that's a silly extra step.  As long as my jars are clean enough to eat and drink directly out of them (and we do), they will be totally fine for the canner.  In case you don't believe me, a brief google search will back up my opinion.

Otherwise, my canning process is nothing remarkable.  I ensure that the chunks are completely covered in water - we've found that if they are exposed, they tend to turn grey.

Just prewarming the water and canner on the corner of the stove while preparing the jars.  This saves a bit of time and energy.
I turn up the heat with the vent closed until the canner locks from the pressure.  Then I open the vent and let steam hiss out for close to ten minutes.

I close the vent to fifteen pounds of pressure and if I have the energy, I crank the heat up to get it steaming again more quickly, but it's not required if I'm patient.

As soon as it starts steaming again, I turn the temperature gauge down to 120 degrees (Celsius) and set the timer for whatever is required.  In the case of half litre jars of potatoes, it would be 35 minutes.

Steaming away.  I put paper towels between the cooker and the canner to catch the steamy drops of water that drip down while it's coming up to pressure.  You can't do that on anything other than an induction cooker!
The timer shuts it off, I wait until I see the lock indicator on the canner click off, then I remove the lid and take out the jars and set them on a cutting board to cool off.

That's it!  Fun, and flavourful!  And it means no more worrying about potatoes doing weird things in the back corner of the pantry. :)


  1. We already did - I used a part jar, as well as a jar that didn't seal, along with some leftover nacho cheese to make some super mashed potatoes the other night. I'll try frying some up maybe this weekend. Yummy!!!