Every year my husband grows far too many potatoes.
We give some away and we attempt to eat as many potatoes as possible before they grow too many eyes. Fortunately, once the eyes get too numerous and too large, the potatoes are still usable as seed potatoes for the following year’s garden, so there’s no real waste here.
Recently, I’ve started canning potatoes and I’ve found this to be a really handy staple to have in the kitchen.
Canning potatoes is only recommended for red-skinned potatoes because they hold their shape best once they’re boiled and cooked. Light-skinned potatoes unfortunately turn to mush and are thus potentially unsafe for canning.
The process outlined in the recipe is fairly straight forward.
Wash and peel and cube potatoes, storing them in water as you go to prevent unwanted colour changes.
Once this is done, rinse the potatoes once more and blanch them as per the instructions below. Pack into pint or quart jars with a bit of salt (or a salt alternative if you’re watching your sodium) and top off with boiling water, then process in the pressure canner.
Since potatoes in water are a low-acid food, this must be done in a pressure canner and cannot be done in a water bath canner. Doing so in a water bath canner runs the risk of botulism, which has the unfortunate side effect of death.
You might be looking at this like I initially looked at this—with a bit of disinterest because canned potatoes doesn’t sound all that appetizing.
What I’ve found, though, is that canned potatoes are perfect for various uses in the kitchen, including:
- Quick mashed potatoes—since it’s already cooked, you just have to heat and mash
- Shepherd’s pie—skip the extra step of making mashed potatoes and just pull a jar of canned potatoes out of the cupboard, mash, and top your pie
- An alternative to gnocchi—we love having gnocchi but I’m not always organized enough to remember to buy it when I’m grocery shopping, so I’ve learned that if I drain a can of potatoes and toss them into a pan with some oil and butter, they fry up nice and crispy and go great with some pesto sauce
- The first step in gnocchi—if you want to make your own gnocchi, the first step is cooking potatoes, but using canned potatoes means that first step is already done
- Potato bread (recipe here!)—I recently discovered an Irish potato flatbread where the first step is to boil and mash potatoes, but using canned potatoes cuts down the time dramatically
Canning Potatoes (Pressure Canner)
- 1 Pressure Canner
- Pint or Quart Mason Jars The exact number needed will vary based on the amount of potatoes you have.
- Red-skinned potatoes These must be red-skinned potatoes as they hold their shape best after boiling. Other potatoes are not recommended for canning.
- Salt A sodium-free salt alternative could work if you're watching your sodium.
- Wash potatoes, then peel them and cut them into cubes no bigger than half an inch. Small potatoes (1-2 inches) can be left whole, but must be peeled.
- As you peel and chop the potatoes, put the cubes into a big bowl or pot filled with water. This prevents them from changing colour and also drains a bit of the starch from the potatoes.
- Boil water in a big pot. You'll be blanching the potatoes, so it should be big enough to accommodate all of the potatoes, or at least to accommodate batches of potatoes. Boil additional water, either in a pot or a kettle; this will be for adding to the jars with the potatoes.
- While waiting for the pot of water to boil, rinse the potatoes once more to wash away more starch.
- Boil potato cubes for two minutes. If using small whole potatoes, boil them for ten minutes.
- Drain the potatoes.
- Pack into pint or quart mason jars, leaving one inch of headspace. Add ½ teaspoon of salt to each jar. (Adding salt is optional, but potatoes can be very bland without added salt at this step and sometimes the blandness can't be remedied.)
- Add boiled water, maintaining one inch of headspace. Debubble and top up water if needed. Wipe jar rims, put on lid and screw band to fingertip tightness.
- Process in a pressure canner as per your pressure canner's directions. *See note below.Pressure gauge at 10 lbs, dial gauge at 11 lbs. Adjust as necessary based on your altitude.Process pints for 35 minutes, quarts for 40 minutes.
- When finished, bring canner pressure down as per canner instructions. Remove jars from canner and set on a heavy towel overnight to cool and seal. The next day, check that jars sealed; if any didn't seal, put them in the refrigerator and use them within a couple days.