Potatoes are a staple food in our diets, but potatoes only last so long in the pantry. Whether you grow potatoes in your garden or find a deal at the grocery store, canning potatoes extends the shelf-life and makes dinner faster and easier.
It’s no secret that our family loves potatoes.
We eat fries, mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, home fries, and so many other ways. We grow as many potatoes as possible and purchase whatever else we need on sale at the local grocery store. Homegrown potatoes last for several months in our basement or garage, but if we don’t eat through them fast enough, we need to preserve them to avoid waste.
Canning potatoes is the answer!
You won’t be able to make baked potatoes from canned potatoes, but dumping a can of potatoes and frying them up makes breakfast easier. Canned potatoes turn into mashed potatoes a lot faster than fresh from the pantry potatoes.
That’s because you finished most of the work and cooking. These are like fast food for our kitchen; making dinner gets a lot easier with canned food like this in the pantry. Canning potatoes is another step I make to avoid eating out and cooking more food from scratch.
Pressure Canning is Safest When Canning Potatoes
The most important thing you need to remember is that pressure canning is required when canning potatoes safely. Potatoes are a low-acid food, so the safest way to can potatoes is with pressure canning.
You have to use a pressure canner because it is the only way to reach the temperatures internally to kill bacteria that cause botulism. Canning potatoes in a water bath canner is not a safe method.
I have a Presto 23-Quart Pressure Canner, and we have used this for years. It works great! Some canners love the All-American Canner, but the price tag is substantially higher. Don’t feel bad if that’s not in your budget
Supplies for Canning Potatoes
Before you start canning, you need to make sure you have the supplies gathered. You only need a few things!
- Pressure Canner: I love my Presto 23-Quart Pressure Canner!
- Pint or Quart Jars
- Potato Peeler
- Basic Canning Supplies: Bubble Popper, Headspace Measurer, Funnel & Jar Lifter
When picking potatoes for canning, many people swear that yellow and red potatoes are ideal. Russets have more starch, so the end result may be mushier than you prefer. However, they will still can safely, so if you only have those available, give them a while.
How to Can Potatoes at Home Safely
Let’s get into the steps of canning potatoes; it’s easier than you think!
Prepare Your Supplies & Pressure Canner
The first step to take while canning potatoes is to prepare your supplies.
Wash all of your canning jars, inspecting carefully for nicks and cracks. Any jars with show of damage should not be used for canning; save those for dried goods or other storage needs.
The canning lids, bands, and canning tools should be washed in hot, soapy water and rinse well. I keep my jars in hot water until they are filled with whatever we are canning that day.
Place your pressure canner on the stove, and make sure the canning rack is on the bottom of the canner. Add water to your canner based on your manufacturer’s requirements; a Presto canner needs three quarts. Many have notches on the inside to indicate how much water to add.
Bring the canner to a simmer until your potatoes are ready for canning.
Peel & Cube the Potatoes
After gathering the supplies, it is time to peel your potatoes before canning. All safe canning recipes require the removal of potato skins. Potato skins harbor additional bacteria, and they need to be removed BEFORE you preserve the potatoes.
After peeling, you need to cut the potatoes into one-inch to two-inch chunks. Smaller pieces will result in mushy potatoes when removed and cooked.
Unless you have baby potatoes that are no larger than 2 inches, potatoes must be cut into chunks. Potatoes contain starch, which makes them harder to can safely and restricts heat from reaching the center of the canning jar.
Keep a pot of cold water nearby, and as you peel and cut the potatoes, put them into the pot of cold water. Soaking in cold water starts to remove some of the surface starch and prevents discoloration from exposure to air.
This process may take some time, depending on how many potatoes you use. I found around 11 lbs of potatoes will fill seven quart jars, which is a full canner load in a Presto canner. Canning potatoes takes time, so I would work on the first 11 lbs and get those in the canner before starting another round of peeling and cutting.
Par-Boil the Cubed Potatoes
After all of the potatoes are peeled and cut, drain and rinse the potatoes with cold water. Then, fill the pot with water and par-boil for 10 minutes. Then, reduce the heat and prepare to fill your jars with hot potatoes.
As your potatoes par-boil, you should bring a second pot of water to boil over high heat. You will NOT can the potatoes in the water you boiled them in.
Fill the Jars & Can the Potatoes
Grab your hot jars (either kept warm in the canner or sink) and put a canning funnel on the top of the jar. Using a slotted spoon, fill the jar with hot potatoes, leaving 1.5-inch headspace. If you want to use salt, this is the time to add 1/2 tsp per pint jar or 1 tsp per quart jar.
Don’t press the potatoes down too much; you don’t want to overpack the jars. There has to be space for the water to circulate the pieces during the canning process.
Once you fill all of the jars, remove air bubbles, measure the headspace, and adjust if needed. Then, wipe the rims clean with a damp paper towel. Center a lid on the jar, screw the band over the lid, and make sure it is fingertip tight.
Then, place the jar into the canner, and continue with the rest of the jars.
After the canner is full, place the lid on and lock it into place. Bring the canner to a boil over medium-high heat and process the jars according to the instructions for your canner. In general, this requires venting for 10 minutes before placing the weight over the vent. Then, start timing once the pressure reaches the appropriate level.
Process at the right pressure: 10 pounds for a weighted gauge pressure canner or 11 pounds for a dial gauge canner. Set a timer and process pints for 35 minutes and quarts for 40 minutes. However, if you live at a different elevation above 1,000 feet, you need to adjust your weight and time. Use this chart from the NCHFP.
Easy pressure canning instructions for home canned potatoes
- 11 lbs potatoes
- 1/2 tsp salt – per jar
Start by filling your canning pot with water to the indicated level required by your pressure canner. Then, set a pot of clean water to boil on the stove. Clean the jars and keep them in hot water while you wait to fill them.
Peel & cut the potatoes into 1 to 2 inch chunks. Let soak in a pot of cold water until all are completed.
Dump out the pot of cold water, rinse the potatoes, and put them into a pot with fresh water. Bring that pot to a boil and par-boil for 10 minutes. At the same time, bring another pot of fresh, clean water to boil.
After the potatoes boil, take the hot jar, fill with cubed potatoes, and ladle in the hot water. Add 1/2 tsp of salt to each jar, but you could put as much as 1 tsp per jar.
Leave 1 inch headspace. Remove bubbles, check the headspace, and wipe the rims of the jar clean before putting on the lids and rims.
Pressure can the potatoes at 10lbs for 35 minutes (pints) or 40 minutes (quarts). Use the chart to adjust the weight and processing time based on your elevation.