This year has included a huge canning and preserving learning curve for me, but invaluable experience makes it so much easier each time I need to can something and also when I want to tackle a new recipe or type of food to preserve.
We have a full basement in which to keep produce over the winter and I have tried for several winters to keep different things and this year I decided to can the produce instead of being disappointed again. I have found that it is too humid in our basement to keep things, but I have learned several different tips that I may try in the future. One tip is to make up a weak bleach/water solution and dip all winter squash including pumpkins in it to kill off any outer bacteria that will begin to cause them to decay. Another tip is to build a small box that is filled with sand and bury the produce in the sand. Any barrel would work for this too. Even with these great ideas, I decided to play it safe this year and simply can everything.
Besides.....how hard is it to can potatoes? Seriously? Not that hard, but of course my first try didn't turn out that good, but the potatoes aren't wasted and they will be delicious used for mashed potatoes. Sadly though, they won't work for hearty stew potatoes like I wanted them to.
After peeling and cubing the potatoes, I consulted my Ball canning book. The recipe stated that the cubed potatoes should be boiled for 10 minutes before packing into jars and then process in a pressure canner for 40 minutes (for quarts). I knew something wasn't quite right when the potatoes were already soft after boiling them, but I proceeded on, following the directions. A dear friend of mine later confirmed that I shouldn't have boiled the potatoes first, which of course makes the entire process that much simpler......thank you Kathy!
Anyway... I put the soft, hot potatoes in the jars and covered them with boiling chicken broth and processed them as directed. I really like the idea of covering the potatoes with chicken broth instead of just water so they will be delicious in soups and stews and the whole jar can be poured into the pot without draining the potatoes. Most recipes call for adding salt to each jar when canning potatoes, but I didn't add the salt because the chicken broth has plenty of salt in it.
The potatoes need a simple 40 minutes in the pressure canner and they're done! I'm so excited about having potatoes already ready to use all winter long! I absolutely LOVE canning!
Oh, I almost forgot....as you can see in the first picture, I hadn't removed all of the air bubbles yet.....be sure to try to get all of them out. I've read that the air bubbles are really ok to have in there, that air bubbles get treated too, but they just look undone to me with large air bubbles in them. Creature of habit I guess....
I've got another 50 pounds of Yukon Golds to do so off I go! Have fun canning your potatoes!!