Canning potatoes at home is easier than you think. It’s also the perfect way to preserve fresh potatoes to enjoy all year long.
If you grow your own potatoes at home you know that you will have a lot of potatoes ready at the same time. Storing them can be a bit of an issue, if you don’t have a root cellar.
Canning your potatoes will make them shelf stable for years and they are a great addition to soups, stews and more.
Our grandmothers used to can potatoes in a water bath canning pot but food experts have learned that there is no way to effectively kill any botulism spores that may be on them. Therefore it is no longer recommended that potatoes are canned in this method.
Since potatoes grow in the ground, they can potentially be exposed to Clostridium botulinum a bacterium that is responsible for botulism and can potentially be fatal. When home canning the entire goal is to kill this bacteria and others that can cause illness.
The only tested, safe method to can potatoes is to pressure can them. Potatoes are a low acid vegetable and like all low acid foods they must be pressure canned. This is very easy to do but you need a specific Pressure canning pot.
IMPORTANT NOTE: A pressure canner is not the same as a pressure cooker/ Instant pot type tool. It is specialty tool used for canning.
How to grow potatoes
Potatoes are an easy crop to grow. They can be grown in containers or in the ground. You simply need some potatoes that contain eyes, or have started to sprout.
“Seed potatoes” can be purchased at garden centers in the spring but you can also just go to your potato drawer and grab some that have started sprouting.
Simply cut the potato into chunks that contain an eye or a sprout and plant them. As the potatoes grow, keep adding loose soil to the top so that the spuds themselves are not out of ground. If you don’t continue to cover them as they grow, they will develop a green hue due to chlorophyll.
For canning whole, you want to harvest 1-2″ round tubers. If you would like to can them sliced or diced, let them grow to about 4″.
The best potatoes for canning
Canning potatoes requires a lot of heating for a long time. The amount of heat will affect different potato varieties differently.
There are different types of potatoes that will all have different characteristics, different amounts and types of starches.. Some are suited for canning. Others are best suited for mashing or baking. Starchy potatoes like russets are not recommended for canning. If your potatoes contain a high starch content, they will fall apart in the long canning process.
Waxy looking potatoes with thin skins or boiling potatoes work well. Many red-skinned potatoes, white round potatoes and gold potatoes have lower starch content and fit into this category. “New potatoes” are great for canning whole. If you are buying from local growers or distributors ask for size B or salt potatoes.
Although Yukon gold potatoes are waxy skinned, they tend to fall apart when canning because the amounts of starches is still pretty high. Many potatoes will fit into this category as well. So with all areas of home food preservation, you may need to test out specific potatoes varieties that will work for you.
Blue potatoes are a special circumstance as well. Some blue potatoes are pretty high in starch so they will fall apart when heated for long periods. Others are pretty low in starch and work well. This is another instance where you may have test small batches first.
How many potatoes do you need?
If you have a 23 qt. pressure canner, It will fit 7 quart jars. You will need about 20 pounds of potatoes to fill those 7 quart jars, or 2½-3 pounds per quart jar.. About 13 pounds is needed for a canner load of 9 pints.
Do potatoes have to be peeled?
Boy it sure would be a whole lot easier to can potatoes if you left the skins on! But…. read on.
The short answer to that burning question is yes. There are several reasons that potatoes have to be peeled. The first is because during the canning process the skins will slough off of the potato and make the jar unsightly.
The more important reason is that there are no tested recipes for leaving the skins on. When home canning you never want to take a chance and go with a recipe that goes against common practices or recommendations. Any deviation could potentially created a less than safe situation.
Institutions like the National Center for Food Preservation and Extension Services do controlled testing of current canning methods and procedures in home kitchens. They only recommend recipes that consistently produce canned goods that are free from bacterial toxins. In other words, their recipes are guaranteed to keep your family safe and healthy, if you follow recommendations.
The other important reason is that since potatoes are a root vegetable they have more of a chance of having Clostridium botulinum on them. So by removing the skins, you are eliminating a potential cause of infection and an unsafe situation.
Can you can potatoes raw?
Although canning some vegetable raw (otherwise known as raw pack) is fine, you cannot can potatoes raw pack. They are always canned hot pack. In other words, they need to be par cooked first.
Cook whole 1-2″ potatoes about 10 minutes and diced potatoes about 2 minutes.
What you need
- fresh, new potatoes – ask for size B or salt potato size (1-2″ in diameter)
- pressure canning pot
- quart or pint jars
How to make them
Start a large pot with clean water to boil. Boil for 10 minutes.
- Peel potatoes. Place them in a pot with clean, cold water so that they don’t discolor. Once potatoes are all peeled. Drain the water that they were soaking in and cover with fresh water.
- Prepare jars. Add salt to each jar. (optional step)
- If you would like to make diced potatoes, dice them into ½” chunks. I cut potatoes that are larger than 2″ inches into diced.
- Add those potatoes to a different pot to par cook.
- Bring to a boil. Boil 10 minutes for whole potatoes and 2 minutes for diced.
- Fill jars with potatoes, leaving 1″ headspace. The use of a canning funnel will help keep the edge of the jar from getting debris on it.
- Pour clean, boiled water into jar, leaving the headspace.
Prepare pressure canner adding water to the bottom line. Add jars to the canner. Lock lid. Turn fire on high and vent the pressure canner for ten minutes. Then add the pressure regulator. Bring the pressure up to 11 psi and maintain it there. Process pints for 35 minutes and quarts for 40 minutes.
Adjust pressure for elevation. See recipe notes below.
How long do canned potatoes last?
Common practice is to say that the potatoes will last approximately 12 months. Ball has come out with a new canning lid that they guarantee safe for 18 months. If you use the new lids, you can count on 18 months.
In my experience these potatoes never last that long because they are so versatile!
Uses for canned potatoes
As previously discussed, potatoes are canned whole, sliced or diced so they have different uses. Whole potatoes can be added to kabobs. They are great grilled in foil packets because they can get a bit browned and crispy. They can be added to soups and stews. Since the potatoes are precooked, add them towards the end of the cooking process so they don’t overcook.
Sliced potatoes can be used for home fries. They are also great added to soups and stews. Again, add the potatoes at the end of the cooking process so that they don’t overcook.
Diced potatoes are great for hash browns. Let them drain and dry them well for the best crispiness. They turn out crispy on the outside and soft, puffy and tender in the center. They can also be used in soups and stews.
You can use any of the above potatoes for mashed. Just add them to boiling water and cook until they are a good doneness for mashing. Any of the potatoes can be used for roasting too.
Canned potatoes are a super easy shortcut to a fast dinner too. Just warm them in the canning liquid in a pan over medium heat. Drain and then top with butter, sour cream, chives, salt and pepper or your favorite toppings.
Other delicious canned goods
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Canning Potatoes | How to Can Potatoes
- 20 pounds Potatoes
- 1 tsp salt optional
- Peel potatoes with a potato peeler. Place them in a pot with clean, cold water so that they don’t discolor.
- Once potatoes are all peeled. Drain the water that they were soaking in and cover with fresh water.
- Start a large pot with clean water to boil. Boil for 10 minutes
- Prepare jars. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to each jar. (optional step)
- If you would like to make diced potatoes, dice them into ½ inch cubes. I cut potatoes that are larger than 2″ inches into diced..
- Add diced potatoes to a different pot to par cook.
- Bring to a boil. Boil 10 minutes for whole potatoes and 2 minutes for diced.
- Fill jars with potatoes, leaving 1-inch headspace.
- Pour clean, boiled water into jar, maintaining the headspace. Run a knife around to edge of the jar to eliminate any air bubbles. Wipe rims with a clean, damp paper towel or cloth to remove any residue.
- Prepare pressure canner adding water to the bottom line. Add jars to the canner. Lock lid. Turn fire on high and vent the pressure canner for ten minutes. Then add the pressure regulator. Bring the pressure up to 11 psi and maintain it there.
- Process pints for 35 minutes and quarts for 40 minutes.
- Once the pressure valve has gone down and there is no pressure in the pot. Remove lid. Allow jars to sit in hot water for 5-10 minutes.
- Remove jars from the canning pot and place them on the counter.
- Leave for 12-24 hours and check seals. Any lids that flex up or down have not sealed and should be stored in the refrigerator and used first.