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Old 10-15-2020, 08:36 PM   #1
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1st Pressure Canning - Potatoes - Dilemmas

Good evening all,

I did my first pressure canning last weekend, red potatoes cut up in quart jars. I read the recipe in the Blue Book and consulted the NCHFP site. Also called Ball to confirm about whether leaving the skin on could be done and about adding a bit of onion powder. Watched a bunched of videos online as well; many people in videos did not parboil their potatoes at all.

So here are my dilemmas.

NCHFP said to parboil cut up potatoes for 2 minutes. I did not really boil them (water was nearly a simmer) and I messed up re: parboiling (just dumped the potato pieces in the water without bringing water to a boil first). I used NCHFP’s time and pressure - 40 minutes at 11 psi (blue book was 40 minutes at 10 psi for my altitude).

Used warm-to-hot jars (had them in the oven), hot potatoes, hot water, 1 inch head space (measured by lower “rim” on jar). All jars sealed. Lost some liquid - maybe about an inch in a few jars. Don’t think I tightened the bands tight enough on those.

So being a bit cautious (and not really a cooking expert), I think I need to dump the jars and start over with new potatoes because of not boiling enough or correctly.

Any and all feedback will be appreciated!

Thanks

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Old 10-15-2020, 09:09 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Still_grateful View Post
Good evening all,

I did my first pressure canning last weekend, red potatoes cut up in quart jars. I read the recipe in the Blue Book and consulted the NCHFP site. Also called Ball to confirm about whether leaving the skin on could be done and about adding a bit of onion powder. Watched a bunched of videos online as well; many people in videos did not parboil their potatoes at all.

So here are my dilemmas.

NCHFP said to parboil cut up potatoes for 2 minutes. I did not really boil them (water was nearly a simmer) and I messed up re: parboiling (just dumped the potato pieces in the water without bringing water to a boil first). I used NCHFP’s time and pressure - 40 minutes at 11 psi (blue book was 40 minutes at 10 psi for my altitude).

Used warm-to-hot jars (had them in the oven), hot potatoes, hot water, 1 inch head space (measured by lower “rim” on jar). All jars sealed. Lost some liquid - maybe about an inch in a few jars. Don’t think I tightened the bands tight enough on those.

So being a bit cautious (and not really a cooking expert), I think I need to dump the jars and start over with new potatoes because of not boiling enough or correctly.

Any and all feedback will be appreciated!

Thanks

HI, I like your alias Still Grateful,


You have a lot of questions which leaves me with questions.
So, join a dedicated safe canning site and they can answer your questions. This one: https://www.facebook.com/groups/cann...ervingwithlove
will answer all your questions based on approved methods.


1. to peel or not. (peel)
2. to parboil or not. (?)
3. 10 or 11 lbs (both are fine)
4. heat jars in the oven (no)
5. hot jars, hot potatoes, hot water (yes)
6. lost liquid is called siphoning (not caused by undertightening jar lids)
7. "lower rim" (don't know what that is)
8. "not being a cooking expert" (what you need is a canning expert)


(my answers in parenthesis)
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Old 10-16-2020, 05:14 AM   #3
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Hi Blissful,

Thank you so much for your reply. Like your alias as well. Appreciate your detailed responses. I am no longer on Facebook, but will look for other safe canning forums.

Best,

Still_grateful
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Old 10-16-2020, 07:57 AM   #4
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Interesting. Or rather I am interested. Why would one can potatoes?
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Old 10-16-2020, 11:53 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Still_grateful View Post
Hi Blissful,

Thank you so much for your reply. Like your alias as well. Appreciate your detailed responses. I am no longer on Facebook, but will look for other safe canning forums.

Best,

Still_grateful
Do watch out for the groups that are full of wackos. E.g., "My grandmother always did it this way and no one ever died or got sick from it." is a warning sign.
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Old 10-17-2020, 09:26 AM   #6
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Taxy is right. Here are the ones I use most:
- http://nchfp.uga.edu
- www.foodinjars.com
- www.freshpreserving.com (from the company that makes Ball/Kerr jars)
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Old 10-17-2020, 09:33 AM   #7
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I just saw this on Facebook. It's an online primer on canning for home cooks, presented by the Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia and others. No cost, but you need to register.

https://fb.me/e/5JXC9rq5Q Click image for larger version

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Old 10-17-2020, 12:57 PM   #8
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So far you gotten great advice. I have canned for almost 40 years and I have canned Potatoes several times.


I have always pealed, soaked them in a solution with ascorbic acid and parboiled them. There are a few folks who believe that the oven method of heating jars is fine - I do my jars in either the dishwasher with the sanitation/heat cycle or take out my water bath canner and sterilize them in that. Liquid loss is not uncommon and can be caused by several things. The most common are - packing incorrectly and not getting out the air pockets, sometimes starchy foods actually absorb the liquid (which might be the case here) and if you do not remove the jars after the lid had unlocked and the pressure is down they will continue to cook possibly boiling.the liquid. I have had loss of liquid in potatoes, winter squash and pumpkin. Sometimes it can not be helped and you may never know what caused it.



The bands should be "finger tight" - it they are too tight the captured air can not escape to form suction for the seal. The heads space sounds about right - I always use that lower "band" as you called it as my guide. When I am hot packing like this - I make sure that the potatoes are lower than that band so they will all be submerged after I add the canning liquid.



There are canning groups other than on Facebook. Groups.io (where some of the yahoo groups went) has a several canning groups that are fairly active. Here is a link to one https://canning2.groups.io/g/main


Taxlady is correct - there are a lot of wackos out there with out of date information. In the years I have been canning - there have been huge changes in recommended procedures and recipes. Stick with NCHFP (which has the entire USDA guide on line) and Ball and you wont go wrong!!
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Old 10-17-2020, 04:16 PM   #9
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Interesting. Or rather I am interested. Why would one can potatoes?
Me too Charlie.

I would think that the cost of lids and bands would be more than the value of the potatoes.
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Old 10-17-2020, 05:53 PM   #10
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Me too Charlie.

I would think that the cost of lids and bands would be more than the value of the potatoes.

I used to raise hundreds of pounds of Kennebec potatoes each season. We didn't have a storage system that would keep them through out the winter. My late husband and I would work together to get them pressure canned. Kennebec's were smoothed skinned potatoes and were very easy to clean. I did not peel them before canning. We would can between 80 and 100 quarts of chunked potatoes each fall. I mainly used them in soups.
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Old 10-17-2020, 06:20 PM   #11
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Beth, we also grow kennebec, they are our favorite. We only have enough storage room for 100+ lbs, not nearly enough for a year. I love that they are so thin skinned and moist potatoes.
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Old 10-17-2020, 06:30 PM   #12
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blissful, CharlieD, taxlady, GotGarlic, eparys, Aunt Bea, and bethzaring



Thank you all for your thoughtful, kind, and helpful replies! I am very thankful for all of your insights...


I am just trying to learn how to preserve using canning so that I can feel secure and as though I have done all I am able to be prepared. It was hard to get food at times (in stores) during March where I live in NJ. It was stressful and kind if traumatic to be honest. I do not have a homestead. I am truly blessed in my life and we came out OK, but I vowed to never be put in that position again. Never...



I picked potatoes at random... It seemed like something hardy that might hold up well in a pressure canner (to me as a newbie anyway), and that seemed to make sense to me.



I started by making some grape jelly (the easy way - with 100% unsweetened grape juice) using water bath and that worked out well. Baby steps...



I am going to check out the primer you suggested GotGarlic thanks. And I will check out some of the other sites as well.


Part of my issue was logistics. Not enough stove space for so many large pots - one for boiling water to pour over the potatoes in the jars, one for boiling the potatoes, one for simmering the jars, and one for the canner so that everything will be hot at once. Think I figured that out in my head today though.


I am going to try red potatoes again. I will peel and parboil. I also think I removed the jars from the canner too soon. Some of them were still bubbling in the jar when I took them out.


Thank you again for your support to this newbie...


Best and blessings to you all...
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Old 10-18-2020, 09:54 AM   #13
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This should help with the logistics - newer guidelines say that, if the processing time is more than 10 minutes (up to 1,000 feet in elevation), you don't have to pre-sterilize the jars before using them. Just wash them and keep them warm. You could put a couple of inches of hot water in a pot and put it on a towel on the counter, then keep your jars in that till you're ready to fill them.
https://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/n...erilizing.html
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Old 10-18-2020, 11:33 AM   #14
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Just curious, what's the problem with heating the jars in the oven?
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Old 10-19-2020, 07:01 AM   #15
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Just curious, what's the problem with heating the jars in the oven?
They're designed to be heated in a moist environment. Heating in a dry environment could cause them to crack.
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Old 10-19-2020, 10:55 AM   #16
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They're designed to be heated in a moist environment. Heating in a dry environment could cause them to crack.
Ah, that makes sense. I was having a hard time understanding it as a food safety problem.
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