Every year, we harvest at least 50 pounds of potatoes. While potatoes can be stored for quite some time in a root cellar or even a dry basement (and frankly, even just on your countertop), I like to can potatoes for several reasons.
First, canned potatoes are a quick breakfast, lunch, and dinnertime staple that everybody in my household loves. They can be fried, mashed, or roasted – although they definitely taste best with lots of butter! You can also use canned potatoes in soups and stews.
Another nice thing about canning potatoes is that you can use any shape, size, or condition of potato.
Since you’ll cut the potatoes before putting them in your canning jars, you’ll be able to remove any damaged or diseased pieces of potato and not have to worry about them causing your potatoes to age prematurely.
For instance, this year, we had a bad potato harvest. It was partially due to blight, and also due to the fact that a group of opportunistic yellow jackets decided to build a nest inside one of our potato raised beds.
I probably could have braved the strings to pull the rest of my spuds, but I decided the week of Benadryl to calm the stings probably wasn’t worth it!
Therefore, we harvested what we could and cut around the bad spots to get a good batch of pressure canner-worthy potatoes.
Ready to learn how you can make your own batch of tasty, versatile home-canned spuds? Here’s everything you need to know.
What Different Types of Potatoes Are Best Suited for Canning?
We used a mixture of red and purple potatoes for our canning this year.
They say that the only types of potatoes you should use for canning are those that are waxy or boiling varieties of potatoes. For the most part, I disagree with this.
The reason behind why these types of potatoes are recommended is that these are the ones that have a lower amount of starch and won’t fall apart during the canning process.
To be fair, I’ve only ever canned red potatoes, so I don’t know that Russets would fall apart as much as people say they do.
While they’re still going to be safe to eat, they might not be quite as palatable – so stick to red and blue potatoes as well as other dense, low-starch potatoes. Try to avoid Russets or Yukon Gold. Mashing or baking potatoes might not work as well.
Otherwise, the best potatoes for canning are the ones you have! Whether you have red-skinned potatoes or potatoes with thin skins, it doesn’t really matter – it’s safe to eat just about any type of potato you have.
While many assume that only cooked foods can be canned, this is not the case. In fact, raw fruits and vegetables are often preferable to cooked ones when it comes to canning.
This is because the cooking process can cause nutrients and flavor to be lost, as well as introducing potentially harmful bacteria.
Raw potatoes can be canned safely, provided that they are properly prepared. First, they should be washed thoroughly and peeled if desired.
Then, you should blanch them. This will help remove bacteria (raw potatoes have too much bacteria for safe raw packing, as you can do with many other types of vegetables).
Side note – there are no instructions for safely canning raw packed potatoes. This method calls for hot packing, or blanching, the potatoes first.
Potatoes are a low-acid vegetable and water bath canning is only recommended for high-acid foods. Low-acid foods need to be processed in a pressure canner to be safe.
When processed in a water bath canner, the potatoes will not reach a high enough temperature to kill all the bacteria present.
Pressure canning is the way to go for home food preservation, and the recipe from the National Center for Home Food Preservation includes recommendations for pressure canners only.
Some people might wonder if they can save time by leaving the skins on their potatoes when they process them.
Unfortunately, that’s not recommended. Leaving the skins on can increase the chances of bacteria contaminating the food. It also makes it more difficult to get the potatoes clean.
When potatoes are peeled, any dirt or bacteria on the surface is removed. However, when they’re left unpeeled, that dirt and bacteria can be transferred to the inside of the potato where it’s much harder to clean.
For safety’s sake, it’s always best to peel your potatoes before canning them.
Canned Potatoes Recipe with Instructions
- 10-14 pounds of potato (any kind)
- Salt (optional, to taste)
- Lemon juice or ascorbic acid (optional, to prevent discoloration)
- Pressure canner
- Canning jars
- Canning funnel
- A few large pots for preparing the potatoes
- Tool to remove air bubbles
- Lid and rings
- Cutting board and knives
Step 1. Wash, Peel, Cut, and Blanch Your Potatoes
When you begin preparing your potatoes, you may be curious about how much you actually have – and if you have enough potatoes to can. I usually estimate needing about two to two and a half pounds of potatoes per one-quart jar.
This depends on how densely you pack the potato pieces into the jar, as well as the consistency of the potatoes.
Therefore, for a pressure canner filled with quarts (I usually max it out at five jars, although some canners can hold seven), you will need ten to twelve pounds of potatoes.
Begin by washing your potatoes. This is one of the most important steps, particularly if you grow your own potatoes, because they will be covered in dirt and other debris.
Make sure you cut out any eyes or bad spots. If you have small potatoes, you may can them whole. Otherwise, I recommend using your potatoes into medium-sized pieces.
Don’t cut your potatoes too small or leave them too large – usually, anything over a quarter in size is going to be a pain to can, and anything smaller than a penny is too small. I recommend dicing the potatoes into one-inch cubes.
You want to make sure your pieces fit nicely into the jars, yet you don’t want to worry about overloading them and preventing them from sealing properly.
If your pieces are too small, on the flip side, they might become too soft during canning and turn into a messy mush.
Peel your potatoes, as the toxins that spread botulism and other foodborne illnesses live in soil and are difficult to remove from potato skins by washing or cooking alone.
The most important thing when you are preparing your potatoes is that you cut out any bad spots or eyes. These can contaminate your canned products, at the very best imparting a poor flavor and at the worst making you very sick.
While you peel and cut your potatoes, place them in water as you do so. You should avoid leaving your peeled potatoes exposed to the air because they may blacken on you.
You may also want to add a drop or two of lemon juice or ascorbic acid. This is not necessary, and is purely for aesthetic purposes – it will prevent your potatoes from browning.
I don’t particularly care about how my potatoes look, so I don’t usually do this. However, if you do decide to add it, use just a little bit and you shouldn’t have to worry about any unwanted flavors.
As the potatoes are being chopped, peeled, and otherwise prepared for your canner, you can also get a pot of water to boil.
Depending on whether you use a hot or cold pack recipe for canning, you may be able to skip this step – however, I also recommend a quick blanching of your potatoes before canning them.
You will need a second jar of water boiling to fill your jars with. This step is mandatory – you will need hot water to pour in with your potatoes.
Once your potatoes have been cleaned, peeled, and diced to your satisfaction, give them one final rinse in a colander. You can put your potatoes in a pot of boiling water to blanch them.
If you are cooking whole potatoes, you will need to boil them for about ten minutes. If you just have cubes, two to three minutes should suffice.
Drain your potatoes and rinse again if desired.
Step 2. Prepare Your Canning Equipment
This is really step one and a half, because you will want your jars to be ready to go by the time your potatoes are all done being peeled, chopped, and cooked.
You will need to heat and sanitize your jars, lids, and bands before you can process your potatoes. I recommend heating your jars through the sanitize cycle on your dishwasher and doing the same for the bands.
Don’t do this for your lids, though. You can reuse your bands and jars an unlimited amount of times, but you can’t reuse the lids, as they will not maintain a proper seal. Instead, start with fresh lids each season.
The lids should be placed in a pot of hot water to sterilize them on the back of the stove. There are some arguments against preheating your lids – I always do this just to sterilize them.
Although I don’t reuse lids between seasons, I do stockpile boxes of new lids, purchasing them during the off-season to save a little bit of money. I like to sterilize them because I don’t want any of the dust that they collected to damage the quality of my canned food.
However, some people argue against preheating your lids. There aren’t many safety reasons not to do this – your jars should seal just fine either way. It is, however, viewed as a waste of time by many. The choice is up to you.
Don’t skip heating your jars, though. If you put cold jars into a hot canner, you risk breakage inside the unit during processing – this is not something you want to have to deal with.
You should also get your pressure canner ready to go at this time. Again, under no circumstances should you use a water bath canner to process potatoes – no, not even if your grandma used to do it!
You must use a pressure canner because potatoes are low-acid foods and cannot safely be processed in the lower temperatures of a water bath canner.
Whether you choose to follow this recipe or to look elsewhere for inspiration, it’s important that you choose a tried-and-true recipe as you are getting started with canning potatoes. Now is not the time to experiment or try new things!
Step 3. Fill Your Jars
As soon as your potatoes and jars are ready, you can get to work getting them into the canner. You should pack your jars with potatoes, seasoning with salt to taste, if desired. I use a teaspoon of salt for every pint jar.
Fill each jar, methodically adding your potatoes and optional seasonings. You should leave about an inch of headspace. Once your potatoes are in the jar, add your boiling water, maintaining that 1-inch headspace.
If you need to adjust headspace and remove bubbles, do so. Use a plastic or wooden bubble remover to get rid of the bubbles – avoid metal, as this can etch the glass and cause breakage.
When the jars are filled, wipe the rims, making sure there are no diced potato particles on the edge. Center the lids and screw them on until they are fingertip tight – but not overly tightened (you shouldn’t be straining to tighten the bands).
Step 4. Load Jars in the Canner
One by one, place jars in the canner. Try not to let them touch. Most potato recipes call for seven quarts of potatoes in a pressure canner, but I recommend five if you intend on mixing and matching jar types or using all wide-mouths.
Regular mouth jars tend to fit better in a pressure canner, but if you use jars of both types, you may find that you have some trouble arranging them.
This awkward placement can lead to movement during canning, which can then cause breakage. Limit yourself to five jars for best results.
As you put your jars in the canner, fill with a few inches of water, with the amount of water varying depending on the canner manufacturer’s instructions.
Step 5. Can Your Jars
After placing your jars on the rack in the canner, you may need to add a bit more water. Then, put your canner lid on and twist it into place so that everything is nice and secure.
Leave the weight off (or the valve open, depending on the type of canner you have). Allow the canner to vent steam for about ten minutes to purge the airspace inside. Make sure the stove heat is on high during this time.
After ten minutes of venting, you can put the weight back on or close any openings. Let the pressure build to 10-11 lbs, depending on the type of canner you have.
Once the canner reaches the desired pressure, start your timer. If you have a dial-gauge canner, you will need to process for 35 minutes for pints or 40 minutes for quarts, both at 11 lbs. pressure.
If you have a weighted-gauge pressure canner, you will need to process for the same amount of time but at 10 lb pressure.
Step 6. Let the Pressure Come Down and Cool Your Jars
Once the timer has completed its timing, you should turn off the heat and let the pressure canner cool. Do not open the canner until the pressure has dropped to zero.
Some people pull their canners off the burner once it’s done, but I recommend waiting until the pressure has equalized. You also need to avoid jostling your jars while the canner is coming back down.
Once the pressure drops to zero (you might hear the safety release vents clicking open), you can remove the jars. It’s important that you don’t rush this process – it can take over an hour for your pressure to come back down.
If opened too soon, you can not only injure yourself but you can also cause water to be lost from the jars, hindering the sealing process.
Remove your jars and let them cool off on a towel. Don’t bump them and leave them in a draft-free place. You are welcome to remove the rings, as these have completed their purpose, but you need to make sure the jars are undisturbed.
If you want to check that the lid has sealed, you can push down with your finger. If it moves up and down, it’s not sealed and you will need to use the potatoes right away or store them in the refrigerator.
Step 7. Store Your Jars
Your finished potatoes might appear a bit mushy, but they will cook up quite nicely.
Let your jars cool for at least twelve hours – twenty-four is better. When they have cooled down, you can store them in a cool, dry location.
Try to use them within a year for optimal freshness, but know that they will likely remain safe to eat long after this time.
Some Final Tips
This recipe yields about five quarts, but you are welcome to convert that to pints, too. For a canner load of pints, you will need about five to eight pounds of potatoes.
If you’re lucky enough to have a pressure canner that enables you to double-stack your jars, you can double those quantities (just not for quarts, as these can usually be double-stacked in a pressure canner).
These canned potatoes are not only delicious, but they’re good for you, too. One jar yields about 193 calories and is filled with potassium and healthy carbohydrates.
If you leave the skin on, you’ll also get some extra fiber, too. Plus, there’s none of the added salt that you’ll find in store-bought canned potatoes.
If you’re canning at an altitude of 1,000 feet or less, you can follow this recipe directly, canning at 10 lbs. with a weighted gauge or 11 pounds of pressure with a dial gauge.
Adjust your pressure for altitudes above 1000 feet. Here’s the ratio: 12 lbs for dial-gauge pressure at altitudes of 2001-4000 ft, 13 lb for pressures of 4001-6000 ft with a dial gauge, and 14 lb for a dial gauge canner up to 8000 ft.
If you are using a weighted-gauge pressure canner, you will need to add five pounds of pressure (15 lbs. total) for any altitude above 1000 feet.
How Long Do Canned Potatoes Last?
Canned potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark place, such as a pantry or cupboard. They should also be kept away from direct sunlight, which can cause the potatoes to spoil.
Once opened, canned potatoes should be refrigerated and used within three days. When properly stored, canned potatoes can last for up to two years.
The best way to tell if canned potatoes are bad is to look for signs of spoilage, such as mold, discoloration, or leaks. If the potatoes have any of these signs, it’s best to throw them out.
Take a look at the appearance of the potatoes. If they are discolored or covered in mold, it’s best to throw them out. Finally, give them a sniff – if they smell sour or otherwise off, it’s time to get rid of them.
How to Use Canned Potatoes
Canned potatoes are incredibly versatile. I recommend pre cooking them before you add them to a recipe, as they will release some water after you remove them from the can.
You can then fry them, bake them, roast them, or even mix them into a soup or stew. Essentially, you can use canned potatoes just as you would use any other type of potato – but keep in mind that they might be a little more watery and softer, too.
What recipes do you have for canned potatoes? The options are limitless – so make sure you plan on canning lots of jars this season!
It depends on the recipe and the type of canner you have, but in most cases, you’ll process potatoes for 35 to 40 minutes for pints and quarts at 10 to 11 lbs. pressure.
One method is to store them in a cool, dark place such as a cellar or root cellar. Another option is to pack them in straw or sawdust. This will help to keep them from drying out and prevent them from sprouting. Additionally, you can pickle or freeze them.
Although it’s not necessarily unsafe to cook potatoes, it’s not recommended. They can become mushy and develop an unpleasant texture when stored in a jar.
Rebekah is a full-time homesteader. On her 22 acres, she raises chickens, sheep, and bees, not to mention she grows a wide variety of veggies. She has a huge greenhouse and does lots of DIY projects with her husband in her ever-growing homesteading endeavor. Learn more about Rebekah here.