When you want to pressure can root vegetables for your food storage, it may seem like a big task. Pressure canning isn’t any harder than hot water bath canning and has many benefits. Only high acid fruits and pickles should be canned in a hot water bath canner. The low acid root vegetable require the pressure canner preservation method for safe long term storage of food. Always use a pressure canning when canning recipes for complete meals, if any of the ingredients are low acid or meat or poultry. Hot water bath canning will seal just about any meal or food. The pressure canner reaches a high enough temperature to kill the bacteria that could be present in low acid foods.
Potatoes, carrots and beets may store longer in cool storage areas. They can still take a turn for the worse before the winter months are over. When you employ both methods of a food storage, a root cellar and some pressure canned food in jars, you extend the life of the root vegetables. Perhaps use the foods in the root cellar first and then filling in with the canned potatoes, carrots or beets. This allows you to eat from your own pantry throughout the winter. I don’t have a root cellar. We have tried creating some sort of make shift root cellar using straw, newspaper and an enclosed container. Some of the foods lasted a little longer than they would normally, but most of the food spoiled before we could eat them.
Prepare the Vegetables for the Canning Jars
Carrots, beets and potatoes can all be pressure canned in pints or quarts. Start by washing and removing the skin on the beets and potatoes.
Beets peel very easily if they have been oven roasted for an hour. Cut the greens off leaving about an inch of stem and a small length of root. Place the washed raw beets on a foil lined cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Cover with foil, crimp edges to seal, and put into the oven. Roast beets at 400 degrees F., for about 45 minutes to an hour. Test the beets at 30 minutes to see how done they are. You will want the beets to be firm yet tender. When they are cooked, remove from the oven, and set on the counter to cool down.
While still warm, but not hot, use your hands to slip the beet skin off the beets. Slice the beets or place small beets whole into canning jars.
For carrots, you can just scrub the vegetable but you may want or need to peel the outer layer using a vegetable peeler. Slice, dice or chop the carrots into bite size pieces or larger. Place the carrots into the canning jars.
Peel the potatoes. For cold pack canning, you do not need to cook the potatoes first. Slice the potatoes or cut into chunks. Place into the canning jars.
Do not mash your root vegetables! When you pressure can root vegetables at home the canner used in home canning does not reach a high enough temperature to safely can mashed potatoes, carrots, beets, pumpkins or sweet potatoes. Can only slices or chunks of these vegetables instead.
Cold Pack Method to Pressure Can Root Vegetables
Use for carrots,
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer.
Pack the vegetables into the quart or pint glass canning jars.
Add the hot water to the jars using a ladle and a canning funnel.
Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean cloth or paper towel
Place the flat canning lid on the jars and tighten band rings finger tip tight
Hot Pack Method to Pressure Can Root Vegetables
1. Peel potatoes, wash, cut into quarters, boil 10 minutes in a saucepan covered with water.
Parsnips.rutabagas, and turnips, wash and cut to desired size. Cover with water and boil three minutes.
Beets, wash and roast or boil until the skins will fall off. Cut into desired size or slices.
Sweet potatoes, wash, dry, then boil or steam until the skin peels off easily. Cut into quarters.
2. Pack the hot vegetables into pint or quart canning jars.
3. Pour or ladle boiling water into the jars. Cover vegetables leaving a one inch head space.
4. Remove air bubbles
5. Cap using two piece lids
Prepare to Pressure Can Root Vegetables
One thing I really want to pass on to you. Pressure canning root vegetables takes longer than hot water bath canning. This is just the way it is. I have a stove that takes forever to heat up the pressure canner. I do not start this when I have limited amount of time and need to be somewhere else. Using an outdoor gas burner that is deemed safe for pressure canning is another option that would work better for me. I am looking for one of these to add to my canning supplies.
Each pressure canner will have it’s own basic set of instructions which you should consult before beginning. The top, gaskets, washers and nuts, and all parts should be inspected prior to use. The pressure gauge is attached to the lid with a washer and nut that can come loose. Pressure will escape through here if you don’t tighten it before beginning. I learned this the hard way!
Place the jars into the canner setting them on the rack that is included. Leave space between each jar. Begin to heat the water. Put the lid on the canner and seal it tight as the instructions describe for your canner.
Can You Put Potatoes, Carrots and Beets into the Canner at the Same Time?
The short answer is no. Each vegetable has a recommended time that it should be maintained at 11 pounds of pressure. (psi) If you put the beets in with the potatoes there is no way to remove them during the process. Potatoes require a longer cooking time. The beets may become over cooked and mushy in texture. It is better to pressure can root vegetables that require the same amount of cooking time together.
The Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving lists these suggested pressure canning times for various root vegetables
Carrots – pints 25 minutes quarts 30 minutes @ 10 pounds pressure
Beets – pints 30 minutes quarts 35 minutes @10 pounds pressure
Potatoes(white) – pints 35 minutes quarts 40 minutes @ 10 pounds pressure
Sweet potatoes – pints 1 hour and 5 minutes quarts 1 hour 30 minutes @ 10 pounds pressure
Parsnips, rutabagas and turnips – pints 30 minutes quarts 35 minutes @ 10 pounds pressure
Source – Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving