Canning Potatoes

bruce_gAugust 20, 2010

The NCHFP says you are able to leave white potatoes whole or cut into 1/2" cubes and then can them.

Can these be cut into 1/4" slices and canned?

If not, why?

Thanks in advance for your responses.


Mustang, OK

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Becomes a density issue because it is far too easy to over-pack the jar with slices but the main reason is because slices turn to mush during the pressure canning.

You'd do better to can them small-whole or in whole-sized chunks (for the larger ones) like new potato-sized and then slice them after you open the jar. Granted it means fewer in the jar but that eliminates the density problems and the potatoes are usable instead of watery mashed. ;)


    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 1:44PM
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sapman(z5 NY)

Well I have to differ with this. Last fall we got hit with blight on out potatoes, and they would not keep. So the only solution was to can them. The small ones I canned whole in quarts, others I quartered and some I sliced in pints. Put up a total of 80 some quarts. Had no problems what so ever. In fact I had a pint of sliced potatoes fried for breakfast this morning. Excellent ! No "waterly mash". They kept there shape perfectly.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 2:03PM
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Thanks for the responses.

Why is their no density issue with canning them whole?


    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 2:54PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

For one thing it says 'small' whole but they are still surrounded by liquid just because of the way they will fit in the jars. Slices can easily be slabbed right up next to each other or stacked. Notice how they tend to stick together in the frying pan? So when there is no liquid between slices the heat penetration is slowed. A longer pressure canning processing time would be needed.

Although different varieties of potatoes react differently to pressure canning, I would suspect that one reason why sapman's "kept their shape perfectly" is because they were tightly packed in the jar and so may have been under-processed.

But as always, it is your choice whether to follow the guidelines - or not.


    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 4:09PM
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jill2761(Southeast Texas)

I just canned 6 quarts of sliced potatoes. The rest (about 30 quarts) were either diced, chunked, french-fry cut, or small whole potatoes. I wish I'd seen this thread first! Now I'm wondering what to do with the 6 quarts that were sliced. Should I be concerned that these may not have had adequate heat penetration? I have plenty of potatoes and it is not a huge loss if the risk is too great to use these, but I don't want to toss them unnecessarily. It's been less than 24 hours. What's your recommendation on this? What would you do?

Second question involves boiling times prior to processing. USDA says 2 minutes for diced, 10 minutes for whole. What times do you all use for the potatoes that are cut in-between sizes? Don't want to make them mushy, but want to be sure I've done it right. It seems like 10 minutes is just so long, especially when the quarts are processed for 40 minutes, plus the heating times to get to pressure, etc.

I still have several gallons of potatoes left to process. They are already peeled and ready for boiling and processing. I'm already to go and just waiting for confirmation.

Any tips on efficiency or organization when canning large quantities of potatoes?


    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 9:04AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Any tips on efficiency or organization when canning large quantities of potatoes?

Yes, line up some additional help. :) If only for the peeling process. Difficult to do alone.

As to the canned sliced potatoes? That boils down to your choice as there are too many variables to know - how tightly packed in the jar and the thickness of the slices are the biggest two. What set of instructions did you follow and did they give a processing time for slices?

My personal opinion is that while I wouldn't ever can slices, IF I had then as long as they are well cooked before eating they would be safe to eat. I would not eat them straight from the jar.

Boiling time - instructions call for 1/2" cubes, not diced, whole, OR you can cut very large potatoes into chunks that would equal the size given for small whole (2" in diameter) which is what I do and I blanch them for 10 mins. There aren't any instructions for "in-between sizes" so you'd just have to guess.

That is the problem when you deviate from the given instructions - you have to guess and accept any associated risks. Some choose to do that, some don't. It is your choice.


PS: and keep in mind that many of us use Pickle Crisp in our canned potatoes to avoid mushiness. Many discussions here about it.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 11:23AM
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jill2761(Southeast Texas)

What I called "diced" are the 1/2" cubes. My chunks are equal to the small whole (2" in diameter). So, my boiling times of 2 minutes for the cubes and 10 minutes for chunks and whole potatoes are correct. I used the instructions from the USDA bulletin. The instructions in the Ball Complete says "uniform cubes for 2 minutes" and "small whole or quartered potatoes for 10 minutes" but then states "until heated through but not soft" which is what made me wonder about being able to adjust the boiling/blanching times.

I know that Linda Lou posted about cutting them like french fries the other day, and I did those as well. I didn't note on my canning log how long I blanched those, and now I don't remember if I blanched those for 2 minutes or if I added a little time.

I am using the USDA recipe and So Easy to Preserve (same instructions in both). 40 minutes processing for quarts and 35 minutes for pints. My slices were greater than 1/4" but less than 1/2". I used the same boil time as for the cubes and processed the quarts for 40 minutes. I never eat the potatoes out of the jar without cooking, and the slices would be cooked in casseroles or stovetop (like for hashbrowns), so I will elect to keep these and be sure to cook them well, but I won't do the slices again. I really appreciate this forum. I hope my potatoes come out as good as they did last year, which was my first time to can. I did buy the pickle crisp for this year, but haven't tasted the results yet. Thanks again. I'm still learning.

As for organization and efficiency tips...what I was wondering is the best way to organize the blanching with the jar filling. I know not to overload the blanching pot because it takes too long to bring back to a boil, but by doing smaller blanching quantities, filling the jars takes longer and I was just wondering the best way to handle it for optimal food preservation and sanity. I don't have any help for this. Just me.

BTW...I do search the forums before asking questions, but sometimes there are so many hits with ambiguous post titles, that it would take forever to read every one of them. But I do try that first.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 12:06PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Sounds like you are in great shape then Jill. :)

As to the organizing, I have to picture me doing it without the wife's help and the only thing I can think of would be to have 2 separate blanching pots going at the same time. If i did that then it would be easier to fill enough jars for the PC within just a few minutes.

So I'd have 1 pot oro teakettle going with the boiling water to add to the jars (could also be done in the microwave), 2 pots for blanching, and the PC on the last burner. Jars set up and ready to go on the counter next to the stove and lids in a separate bowl of hot water sitting beside them ready to go on. Potatoes go into pots, set timer, from pots to jar, lid on, into the pre-heated canner.

Would that help in your kitchen set-up?


    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 12:39PM
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jill2761(Southeast Texas)

I didn't think about having two blanching pots. That would definitely help. Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 2:10PM
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jill2761(Southeast Texas)

forgot to ask...

Do you finish all of the blanching before filling the jars, or do you fill the jars in batches as you remove the potatoes from the blanching pot?

I've been removing the potatoes from the blanching pot to a colander to drain. Then I add the next batch of potatoes to the blanching pot. While that batch is boiling, I remove a few jars waiting in the canner and fill them with the blanched potatoes I just drained, and add my fresh hot water. I don't put them into the canner until they're all filled because I don't want some of them to heat longer than others. They are all still very hot when they go into the canner, but I wondered if that procedure was okay, or it was better to put each jar in the canner as soon as it was filled.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 2:22PM
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when I start the first batch in the canner, I can start the next batch of potatoes blanching, I keep a large oval roaster in the oven with hot water enough to cover half the jar standing, the oven on about 200-250 degrees I fill my jars and put on lids loosely. Then about the time I empting my Pressure canner of jars, my others are ready to go. I do this with all my vegetables including my mushrooms.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 9:52AM
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