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My tremendously supportive husband & I have 3 wonderful children, 1 dog, 12 laying hens, 2 dairy goats, 3 bee hives, and a 2000 sq foot vegetable garden on a small 1/4 acre lot in the city. In the center of it all is our small 1,000 sq foot house purchased in 2008 as a foreclosure that we fully renovated to host our growing family, home school adventures, and small home business (CozyLeaf.com). We have a desire to learn a path to self sufficiency finding ways to be good stewards of the resources God has given us. We want to learn to live with less as we laydown roots to our little homestead.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Canning Homegrown Potatoes at Home :)

I have never grown or canned potatoes before, but I have heard it is one of the easiest things to can! SO I was super excited to give it a try. The canning process was actually relatively easy, but the research and decision making process was much more intense than I had thought!!
My first hurdle: When do I dig up my potatoes?? Everyone was saying..."and then you harvest your potatoes.". Some resources said "when the leaves begin to wilt" and others say "when they plant dies back".
I have about 16 potato plants and several of them looked dead dead and several of them do not look like they are even starting to wilt. I had decided to dig up a couple plants (partially out of excitement and partially out of extreme curiosity!) but only found 4 potatoes in 1 plant and 6 in the other...after much digging around (which was fun!) to make sure I was getting everything!. So I called my dear friend Nicole (which I have called about this same issue several times this season already!) to ask her when do the plants look "dead enough". Nicole is my "potato expert", although I do not think she would consider herself a potato expert, she is a lot more experienced at it than I am! Nicole convinced me to leave the other plants until they are completely died off and we will hope for more than 4-6 per plant! Nicole plants her potatoes in bushel baskets and it makes it alot easier come harvest time because you just overturn the bushel basket and there you have it!! You know for sure this way that you are getting all of the potatoes!!

These are 2 of the plants I dug up: 1 looks really dead and the other was having some wiltage!

I got quite a variety of sizes!

I ended up digging up 1 more plant and from 3 potato plants I got 21 potatoes! The first plant I dug up was the "dead dead" plant and I got 4 from it, the second one was the "wilting" plant and I got 6 from it...then the last one that I almost didn't dig up gave me 11 potatoes!! So, I really don't know what the conclusion is here except that with potatoes it is just an extreme mystery :)

Get ready for canning: Get your pressure cooker, large pot for boiling potatoes and water, small pot for sanitizing your lids!
Step 1: Wash and peal your potatoes (some people say that they leave the skin on their potatoes, but some people say that the skin contains bacteria that could be harmful for canning...I'm not sure but I opted to use my new potato peeler!)
Get the family involved here!! Its alot more fun than standing by yourself in the kitchen for hours! Bryan helped with the hand peeler and Henry helped with the turning of the potato peeler handle...and Addie pretty much ran around the whole time.
Washing potatoes that are just out of the ground is Super easy! The skin pretty much comes right off! If you are wanting to keep your potatoes in a root cellar then you will need to let the potatoes rest for a few days and not scrub them right away or this is what happens to them...but since I was going to peel them anyway it really didn't matter :)
Step 2: Cut your potatoes and place in boiling water for 10 minutes. (not longer or they will turn to mush!)
Step 3: Fill your hot sterile jars with hot potatoes (not the water)...add 1 teaspoon salt at this time.
Step 4: Top off each jar with fresh boiling water leaving 1" head space
Step 5: Remove air bubbles - use a non metal stick (I used the plastic handle of a spaghetti spoon) and slide the stick around the outside of the jar several times to make sure all air bubbles are out.
Step 6: Clean/Dry off the top of each jar and place hot sterile lids and bands on top of each jar
Step 7: Place in your Pressure cooker and process for 40 minutes at 10psi.
Step 8: When processing time is complete, turn off the heat and let your pressure cooker slowly release the pressure and once it has stopped "whistling" and all the pressure is gone, remove all your jars onto a towel and let them set for 24 hours.
Step 9: Once your jars have set and all the seals are tight, wash them off, label and store!

It was seriously super easy and I am very excited to have these 5 jars of canned potatoes!! YEAH!

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