Saturday, March 24, 2012

Canning: Potatoes

Today, I noticed that my large bag of potatoes were just starting to
grow the tiny eyes/buds on them. They were very tiny, just barely
noticeable. The weather is warming up, so I knew that the potatoes were
going to quickly grow the sprouts. I got out the canner and got busy.
In canning white potatoes, the process is very easy. I place cold water
with a bit of salt into a bowl. This keeps the peeled potatoes from
browning. Wash the potatoes and peel them, removing any discolored or
bruised areas. I diced the potatoes into chunks about 1 inch in size.
The diced potatoes soak in the salted water until I have a bowl full. I
fill the canning jars leaving 1 inch of headspace. Add 1/2 tsp. salt to
pint jars and 1 tsp. salt to a quart size jar. Fill with cold water
leaving 1 inch headspace. Adjust the lid assembly. The potatoes are
processed in a pressure canner.

By canning the chunks of potatoes, I am able to quickly use the fresh
potatoes before they sprout too much or go bad in warm weather. I am
able to take advantage of sales at the store. Some stores will have a
special on the 50# size bags of potatoes. This helps to quickly build
the pantry stores as well.

The canned potatoes are great for adding to a quick stew. If you drain
& pat the diced potatoes dry, you can fry them as you would southern
style fried potatoes. If in a hurry, you can heat the potatoes up,
drain them and mash the potatoes for a quick meal addition. Beloved
takes pint jars of diced potatoes on the truck. One quick meal that he
is able to make is to drain the potatoes and place them into a foil loaf
pan. Pour over the potatoes a jar of BBQ roast beef and cook in his
"lunchbox cooker" that he uses to cook his meals on the road. If he
happens to have a bit of shredded cheese in the cooler, this is a great
topping to add.

One of my favorite ways to use canned potatoes is for mashed potatoes.
They cook up just as fast as the instant varieties but are more hearty.