Michigan Fresh: Using, Storing, and Preserving Potatoes (HNI14)


January 23, 2015 - Author: Joyce McGarry


Recommended varieties 

New potatoes are freshly harvested. They are sweet and moist. Round or white potatoes have thin red, brown or yellow outer skin and are good for boiling, in stews or baked.
Russets are oblong with thick outer skins. They are good for baking, and they make excellent mashed potatoes.

Storage and food safety 

  • Purchase potatoes that are firm, free of bruises, nicks or soft spots.
  • Avoid choosing potatoes with sprouts and those with green tinge.
  • Wash hands before and after handling fresh produce.
  • Scrub potatoes with a vegetable brush, using cool running water. Do not use soap or detergent.
  • Store potatoes in a cool, dark place, preferably 45 to 50 °F, with good ventilation. When properly stored, potatoes will remain fresh for up to a month. Throw away potatoes that are shriveled, green or have many sprouts.
  • Keep potatoes away from raw meat and meat juices to prevent cross contamination.
  • For best quality and nutritive value, preserve only what your family can consume in 12 months.


One pound =

3 medium potatoes

3 cups peeled and sliced

2 cups mashed

2 cups french fries

20 pounds = 7 quart cans
13 Pounds = 9 pint cans
50 Pounds = 18-22 quart cans

How to Preserve


Use new white potatoes.

Select small to medium-sized mature potatoes. For packing whole, choose potatoes 1 to 2 inches in diameter.

Hot pack method: Wash and peel potatoes. Cut into cubes, if desired. Place in a solution of 1 teaspoon ascorbic acid and 1 gallon water, to prevent darkening. Drain. Place potatoes in saucepot of hot water, and bring to a boil. Boil whole potatoes for 10 minutes; boil cubes for 2 minutes. Drain. Pack hot potatoes in hot jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to pints and add 1 teaspoon to quarts, if desired. Fill jars to 1 inch from top with fresh boiling water. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims. Adjust lids and process.

Process in a dial-gauge pressure canner at 11 pounds pressure or in a weighted-gauge pressure canner at 10 pounds pressure:

Pints………………………………35 minutes

Quarts…………………………….40 minutes 

NOTE: the processing times given are for Dial Gauge Pressure Canner at altitudes of 0-1,000 feet. If you are canning at a higher altitude, the processing times stay the same, but you must make the following adjustments:

  • At altitudes of 1,001-2,000 feet, process at 11 pounds pressure.
  • At altitudes of 2,001-4,000 feet, process at 12 pounds pressure.
  • At altitudes of 4,001-6,000 feet, process at 13 pounds pressure.
  • At altitudes of 6,001-8,000 feet, process at 14 pounds pressure.
  • At altitudes above 1,000 feet in a weighted-gauge canner process at 15 pounds pressure.

Processing times in weighted gauge pressure canner:

  • At altitudes of 1,001-2,000 feet, process at 10 pounds of pressure
  • At atltitudes above 1,000 feet process at 15 pounds of pressure

Let jars stand undisturbed for 24 hours. Remove rings. Wash jars, label, date and store.


Select smooth new potatoes. Peel or scrape and wash. Water blanch for 3 to 5 minutes depending on size. Cook, drain and package, whole or sectioned, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Seal. Label, date and freeze.

Water blanching: Use one gallon of water per pound of prepared vegetables. Put vegetables in blanching basket or colander and lower into boiling water. Place lid on blancher. Return water to boil and start counting blanching time as soon as water returns to a boil.

For recipes see: 

Complete Guide to Home Canning (Rev. ed.). 2009. Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Available at: http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html.

Andress, Elizabeth and Juda A. Harrison. So Easy to Preserve. Bulletin 989, 6th Edition. Cooperative Extension University of Georgia, 2014.


National Center for Home Food Preservation, CSREES-USDA, http://nchfp.uga.edu

Andress, Elizabeth and Judy A. Harrison. So Easy to Preserve. Bulletin 989, 6th edition. Cooperative Extension University of Georgia, 2014.

More information

Prepared by: Joyce McGarry, MSU Extension educator


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