Anyone else facing their first time hosting a holiday and finding the plethora of dishes to prepare mildly panic inducing? Even with many years of cooking dinner meals under my belt, there’s nothing quite like having to put together what is essentially a multicourse meal. Even if it is only for family and friends, no one wants to serve an unappealing dinner or worse, have hungry tummies waiting. Preparing certain dishes ahead of time, like these candied sweet potatoes, will take some of the pressure off when it comes to preparing a holiday meal.
Pressure Canning Candied Sweet Potatoes
An online order/pickup mishap left me with an overabundance of sweet potatoes to use up, so what better time to do some pressure canning. The basic guidelines on how to pressure can sweet potatoes can be found here, on the National Center for Home Preservation’s website. I followed the basic ratio for making a heavy syrup 50% liquid to 50% sugar.
Additionally, I substituted some of the water with orange juice and lemon juice for added acidity. Cinnamon and nutmeg are often added to this type of recipe, however I am not a nutmeg fan and decided to swap in cloves instead. Feel free to add whatever fall spices you prefer. I prepared my sweet potatoes as outlined in the guide. I first peeled them before chopping into 1 inch cubes. Then I parboiled briefly for ten minutes and packed into jars. My syrup was then poured over the top and I processed for 90 minutes at 11lbs of pressure (for dial gauge).
Do I have to Process My Candied Sweet Potatoes?
If you want to store these on your pantry self, then yes, you have to process them first in a pressure canner. You can keep them in the refrigerator (up to a week) or freezer (up to a month), if you don’t want to process them. Be aware that if you do not pressure can this recipe the warming time may be longer than suggested below.
Thick or Thin Syrup
If you would like a thicker glaze like syrup when serving, I would suggest pouring out the liquid from the jars into a sauce pan and reducing the syrup down. Be careful to keep on low heat, and stir frequently. Sugar has a tendency to burn and this sauce is mostly sugar. I did experiment with using some clear gel to thicken the sauce, but have not perfected that yet. (If I do I will update this recipe to include that info!)
Have a Stress Free Thanksgiving Day
Okay, so maybe it won’t be stress free completely. I have no control over how your in-laws or out-laws may behave after all! But, prepping dishes ahead will mean less time in the kitchen and more time spent with friends and family. Added bonus, it will probably mean less dishes the day of. When it comes to serving, simply pour your candied sweet potatoes into an oven safe serving dish and place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes or until heated through and enjoy!
Adapted from the National Center for Home Food Preservation Recipe
9 lbs. Sweet Potatoes
4.5 C Brown Sugar
3 C Orange Juice
2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
1.5 C Water
3 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Cinnamon
2 Whole Cloves
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
For a little added texture, sprinkle chopped pecans and pats of butter over your candied sweet potatoes before warming.
Recipe Make 4 Quart Jars (~8-10 servings)
Preparing the Jars
Per the Ball Guide for Canning, jars do not need to be sterilized (as long as they are clean) but I do make sure to warm them up before placing hot food/liquid into them. To do this, I fill my pressure canner up with 2 inches of water, add a splash of white vinegar and place on the stove on medium high heat. I then place my jars into the canner and leave them to warm while I work on the rest of the recipe.
Preparing the Syrup
Place the brown sugar, orange juice, lemon juice, water, spices, and salt into a saucepan and bring to boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved turn heat down to low and keep warm until needed. Remove cloves before ladling overtop of sweet potatoes.
Preparing the Sweet Potatoes
First peel the sweet potatoes, then dice into approximately one inch cubes and par boil for 10 minutes in boiling water.
Carefully remove your jars from the pressure canner and fill with chunks of sweet potato. Leave one inch of head space. Take your hot syrup and pour into each jar until sweet potatoes are covered, maintaining the one inch of head space. Take a paper towel or clean wash rag dipped in vinegar and wipe the rim of each jar. Center lid on jar and then place ring on jar, tightening to fingertip tight.
Place your filled jars into the canner, and seal the canner per your canner’s instruction manual. Process at 11lbs (Dial gauge) or 10lbs (weighted gauge) of pressure for 90 minutes for quarts or 65 minutes for pints. Once the time is up, turn off the heat and allow the pressure canner to return to room pressure on its own.
Once pressure has returned to zero, you can remove the lid (be careful of the hot steam that may release). Remove jars and place onto a cutting board covered with a clean cloth and leave to cool. It can take up to 24 hours for jars to seal. After 24 hours remove the rings and store in a cool dark place for up to a year (maybe longer!).
When ready to serve you can use any of the following methods to warm up your candied sweet potatoes.
Oven: Pour into a heat proof serving dish, and place in 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes.
Crockpot: Place into a crockpot on high heat until warmed through. Switch setting to low to keep warm until ready to serve
Microwave: If you are using these as a side dish and not a big fancy meal you can pour into a heat proof bowl and heat in the microwave until warmed through.
Candied Sweet Potatoes
Make Thanksgiving and weeknight side dishes easy with preserved candied sweet potatoes.
- Pressure Canner
- Canning Tools (Jar Tongs, Funnel)
- 9 lbs Sweet Potatoes
- 4.5 Cups Brown Sugar
- 3 Cups Orange Juice
- 2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
- 1.5 Cups Water
- 3 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Cinnamon (or to taste)
- 2 Cloves (or to taste)
- 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 Cup Pecans (chopped) (Optional)
- 4 Tbsp Butter (Optional)
In a saucepan or pot add the brown sugar, water, orange juice, lemon juice, cinnamon and clove to a boil, stirring frequently to dissolve sugar.
Set aside on low heat to keep warm while you finish preparing you sweet potatoes.
Preparing Sweet Potatoes
Place a large pot of water onto high heat to boil.
Peel sweet potatoes and cut into roughly 1 inch cubes.
Carefully place sweet potatoes into the pot of boiling water and cook for 10 minutes.
Into clean jars add sweet potatoes. Take the hot syrup and ladle into each jar, leaving 1 inch headspace.
Wipe the rim of each jar with a paper towel or clean rag dipped in vinegar before centering the lid on each jar. Add the ring band and tighten to fingertip tight. Place jars in canner.
Follow your canners instructions for set up and amount of water to add to the bottom of the canner for pressure canner processing.
Place jars into canner and process for the following:
Quarts: 11lbs (dial gauge), 10lbs (weight gauge) for 90 minutes
Pints: 11lbs (dial gauge), 10lbs (weights gauge) for 65 minutes
Additional information for high altitudes can be found here.
Once the time is up, allow canner to return to room pressure on its own before opening and removing jars onto a cloth covered cutting board to cool. Jars may take up to 24 hours to seal.
Once sealed, remove ring bands and wipe jar clean of any residue. Label and store for up to one year in a cool dark place.
Empty candied sweet potatoes into an oven proof serving dish. Sprinkles with optional pecans and butter and bake at 350° for 20-30mins or until warmed through.
If using as a weeknight side dish, empty jar into heat proof bowl and warm in microwave.
Each quart will provide you with 2-3 servings.