So you’re in the grocery store being frugal and you notice that potatoes are on sale, but you know that if you buy too many – they will spoil before your household will eat all of them…
Or, you are growing potatoes in your garden, and during harvest you have LOTS of them…
If you don’t have your own root cellar and don’t want all those extra potatoes to spoil, here are a few ways to preserve them for long term food storage.
Note: Potatoes are one of the highest calorie-per-pound garden vegetables (about 400 calories per pound), and are a great choice for the ‘survival garden’ (among other things).
UPDATED: Additional method added (a sort of DIY root cellar)
FREEZE your potatoes
1. Peel the potatoes.
2. Wash the potatoes.
3. Blanch the potatoes (3 – 5 minutes.)
Blanching: (scalding vegetables in boiling water). It stops enzyme actions which can cause loss of flavor, color and texture. Blanching cleans the surface of dirt and organisms, brightens the color and helps retard loss of vitamins. It also wilts or softens vegetables and makes them easier to pack.
Use one gallon of water per pound of prepared vegetables. Bring the water to a boil. Then add the potatoes. Place a lid on the pot.
The water should return to boiling within about 1 minute, or you are using too much potato for the amount of boiling water.
Start counting blanching time when water returns to a boil (3 – 5 minutes). Keep heat high for duration.
4. Cool. Put in ice water for 5 to 10 minutes (stops the cooking process), then drain.
5. Pack. Place in Ziploc freezer bags, remove the air from the bag as best you can.
6. Seal and Freeze.
The quality of the frozen potatoes will remain best in a very cold freezer (0-degrees-F or lower).
Another option: Make ‘mashed’ potatoes, put them in Ziploc freezer bags to freeze.
DEHYDRATE your potatoes
1. Scrub and wash the potatoes in the sink, optionally w/skin on (nutritional benefit).
2. Put potatoes in a pan of water, bring to boil, simmer until tender but NOT squishy (~15 mins.)
3. Put potatoes in bowl to cool, and/or refrigerate overnight for easier slicing.
4. Slice into 1/4 or 3/8-inch widths (slices, cubes, whatever) and arrange on dehydrator trays without overlapping.
5. Dehydrate at 125-degrees-F until crisp.
6. Store in Ziploc bags (burp the air out) or canning-jars, etc.
Note: If you choose not to boil first, then slice the potatoes thinner.
Related: Food Dehydrator Basics…
HOME-CANNING your potatoes
1. Wash and peel potatoes. Place in ascorbic acid solution to prevent darkening.
2. Cut into approximate 1/2 inch pieces.
3. Place potatoes in a pan of hot water, bring to a boil and boil pieces for 2 minutes (10 minutes for pieces up to 1 – 2 inches). Drain.
4. Fill jars with hot prepared potatoes, leaving no more than 1-inch head-space. Add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart to the jar, if desired. Salt helps preserve the texture and taste of the potatoes.
5. Cover hot potatoes with fresh batch of boiling water, leaving 1-inch head-space and covering all pieces of potato. (Caution: Do not use the water you cooked the potatoes in; it contains too much starch.)
6. Adjust lids and process following the recommendations for the pressure canning process.
Quart jars (Hot Pack), Process 40 minutes at 11-lbs (dial gauge) or 15-lbs (weighted gauge).
Store Potatoes In Your Homemade Root Cellar
No, you do not need to dig a hole in your yard.
Instead you simply need a cardboard box and some newspaper.
1. When you harvest your potatoes, DO NOT rinse them off or clean off all the dirt.
2. Place a cardboard box on the cool floor of your basement or other area which may remain cool. Perhaps a corner in your garage on the cement floor. Wherever it may be the coolest in your home. If you have a damp floor in your basement, set the box somewhere else or on something (otherwise cardboard will disintegrate).
3. Place a layer of potatoes on the bottom. Do your best to not let them touch each other. Invariably some will, but keep them a bit separated as best you can. This will prevent them all from rotting should one of them begin to rot.
4. Place a layer of newspaper on top. I use several sheets for each layer.
5. Then spread another layer of potatoes.
6. Repeat until full or you run out of potatoes.
7. Close up the box so no light gets in.
Note: I have stored my garden potatoes this way since my last harvest. Incredibly as of this post it has been 4-1/2 months and only now are they beginning to get a bit soft and some eyes are sprouting. But they are still absolutely fine to eat!
The box of potatoes shown above is now almost empty, so I am going to leave them ‘as is’ to discover how long they ultimately last. I will update this post at that time…
Garden Vegetable Calories