Remember when I went downstairs to get potatoes from the root cellar and the roots were so long the whole thing looked like a monster from the deep? Eek! (If not, here is the post. It’s rather scary.) I did remember, though, that the year before that I had simply put the potatoes in a wire crate and set them in the basement (instead of five gallon buckets with (slightly damp, I fear) straw). We ate nearly all the potatoes that year. Very few shriveled and those were the smaller ones. Bigger ones can have bruises cut off of them. I did learn never to store damp potatoes. Make sure they are all dried out. After the plants die back, leave them in the ground for a week or so. After harvest, I leave them in the wire crate with plenty of air flow on the porch for the day. Then down to the basement they go.
We eat a lot of potatoes. That would be the Irish part of me, I suppose, but I think a lot of cultures love potatoes! I wanted to make sure I had enough. Nothing like heading down to the dungeon on a crisp January morning to find an empty crate. The health food store is 45 minutes away and I am trying to save money and not go grocery shopping so much! I am attempting to provide enough to get through winter.
A few years ago, at the farmer’s market (which is much like high school, if you must know, with people picking on so and so, and the cool kids being the farmers…) the farm booth folks were picking on the balloon guy after he purchased a fifty pound bag of potatoes to can.
“To can?” they roared, laughing and pointing (not kidding here) the whole time. “They stay good stored the way they are.”
I giggled, attempting to be cool like the farm kids and thought nothing of it. That is, until I ran out of potatoes in the middle of winter! The Irish blood part of me was ready to pitch quite a fit.
This year, I bought a bushel of potatoes. All of mine from the garden are going into the wire crate (geez, we have already eaten a quarter of them!) and these beauties from the farm are being canned. (Laugh if you will.)
Half of them, I just scrubbed and diced into one inch chunks. Then poured into quart jars, added a teaspoon of sea salt to each one, and topped with water leaving a 3/4 inch head space. On went the lids and into the pressure cooker they went. Forty minutes later, I had insurance.
I have insurance that in January, Mama is going to have some potatoes to cook!
Today, I will peel the other half and do the same thing. Variety, you know. Yum. The potatoes are cooked already when opening the jar and simply need a masher, a frying pan, or a quick turn in the oven with all the rosemary, thyme, and sage I brought in to overwinter in the window.
Happiness comes in many forms…mashed, roasted, pureed in soup, au gratin, fried, baked….