Thursday, September 27, 2012

1 Potato, 2 Potato, 3 Potato, 4...

   We grew potatoes in the garden this year, but it's not enough to sustain this 7- member family of mine.
We eat potatoes in nearly every meal or, at least, once a day. After discovering how much we harvested from the garden, I was a little disappointed. I'm still learning how much I need to plant to grow enough food to feed my family for a year, so I'm looking at this as a learning experience. But still, in the end, it's just not enough to feed us for this season, so when I saw a simple ad in the local paper advertising potatoes, I just had to call. 

    A bushel of potatoes for $15. The average bushel weighs 60+ pounds. That equals out to .25 cents a pound. Pretty good deal to me.  We went to look at the potatoes, grown by a local farmer 10 miles from us and they were beautiful.  As beautiful as potatoes can be.  Thin-skinned and huge, nothing like the potatoes we grew! They were obviously sorted, because none of theirs had blemishes or worm holes. I bet they kept the poorer potatoes to keep and eat and sold the nicer looking ones to customers.

   Four bushels of potatoes came home with us and we spent the next couple of days working on one bushel, turning them into potato skins to freeze and canning irish potatoes for later. We also ate potatoes morning, noon, and night, and today, I can safely say, we are all potatoed out! The rest of the potatoes will go into storage in the basement and hopefully, last us through the winter.

 Simultaneously pressure canning irish potatoes and baking potatoes in the oven for potato skins.

 Peeling and chopping potatoes for irish potatoes. Potatoes get pre-cooked in boiling water for 10 minutes, then loosely packed in quart jars and pressure canned for 40 minutes. I figure on 2 quarts getting cooked up for every meal, so I'm hoping to put away 50 quarts of irish potatoes, which will equal 25 meals.

I can only pressure can 7 quarts at a time, so I've got 28 jars done, so far. Halfway there!

 Lost count of how many potato skins we have in the freezer now.  Andrew cooked up so many packages of bacon for the skins, and still did not put a dent in our bacon stock in the freezer! I know for sure, there are over 100 skins in the freezer, vacuumed-packed in batches of 6. We had a meal one night of nothing but potato skins.  Did you ever do that, eating out at a restaurant and ordering the potato skins appetizer as a meal? I used to do that a lot. I love me some potato skins!

The potato "guts" scooped from the skins got vacuum-packed, too, and will be turned into potato soup or mashed potatoes later on. I didn't measure the potatoes when I packed them, just eye-balled it, knowing by now, just how much my family can eat in one meal. I thought about making and canning potato soup, but my supply of jars is getting low, and making soup from scratch is pretty easy, especially now that I have pre-cooked potatoes in the freezer!

   I am *this* close to buying another bushel. I saw another farmer with a sign at the end of his driveway selling his potatoes for $12 a bushel! *smacks head!* That would have been .20 cents a pound! But by the time I came back to his farm to buy some, the sign was gone, too late! I think I'll be making another trip back to the first farmer and buy one more bushel, just in case. I'd rather have too much, than not enough.


Cheyenne said...

Wow, such productivity. I certainly do admire you. That's a lot of potatoes. But they are so good, rich in potassium and other good things. I love the skins and always eat the entire potato. Plus whenever I make any kind of potato I always leave the skin on, including mashed potatoes.

jenny said...

Cheyenne-- oh yes, we're a skin-on family as well. Always leave the skins on! People fail to realize that it's what you do and add to potatoes that make them fattening, but the potato alone is wonderfully good for you! I think I'm going to end up buying another bushel of potatoes... I worry that the two I have left won't be enough!