Recently, I’ve received several questions about pressure canning fish. Is it difficult? What recipe do I use? How does it turn out? Instead of writing each reader individually, I decided to share the know-how and recipe here on the blog!
But before we get started, there are a few details you should know about pressure canning fish.
Choose Quality Fish
One of the rules for tasty (and safe) home canning is this: begin with quality food! It isn’t true of just fruits and vegetables. Make sure your fish is freshly caught or has been properly refrigerated/frozen if you are attempting to pressure can it.
What Type of Fish Should I Pressure Can?
You can safely pressure can both pink and white fleshed fish. In this tutorial, I preserve a large catch of bony pike minnow.
Yes, that is one of the beautiful things about pressure canning fish! The bones will disintegrate, making many a ‘junk fish’ edible.
What About the Texture?
Pressure canned fish will be softer in texture than when fried or baked. As a general rule, the larger the fish, the firmer it will be.
If the meat is canned with bones in, they also add a texture all their own! They’ll disintegrate in your mouth, but do add their own unique element.
How Should I Prepare My Fish?
If your fish has scales, be sure to remove them! Also trim off the tail and large fins. Because fish may be pressure canned with bone in, the only time you need to flay a fish is when it’s too large to fit in your canning jar! Recommended sizes are half pints (250 ml) and pints (500 ml).
You MUST use a pressure canner (not a pressure cooker) to safely preserve fish. Under no circumstances should you attempt to process your fish via waterbath methods!
Herbs and Spices
Be sure to add salt to your fish or the results will be quite bland.
Half pints (250 mls) need 1/2 tsp salt per jar
And pints (500 mls)? They should have one full 1 tsp salt per jar.
Other seasonings (such as paprika, curry, garlic or onion powder) can also be added to each jar in small amounts.
Preparing the Jars
Cut your fish into lengths that will allow for 1 inch of headspace in the jar. Add salt and spices to each jar, then begin filling with your cuts of fish.
Once the job is complete, dampen a paper towel in vinegar and use it to wipe the rim of each jar. This will remove any fish slime or oils!
There’s no need to add extra liquid. The fish will create it’s own juices.
Add lids and metal bands. Tighten to fingertip tightness and fill your pressure canner!
I use a weighted gauge pressure canner. If you need directions for a dial gauge, go to the National Center of Home Food Preservation. You’ll find what you need there!
With a weighted gauge canner, those of us living under 1,000ft in elevation need to process fish at 10lbs of pressure. If your altitude is higher, you’ll need 15 lbs of pressure for safe preserving.
Regardless of altitude, your fish must be processed for 100 minutes. Yes…for one hour and 40 minutes.
After you’ve processed the fish and your pressure canner has cooled, remove the jars and set them on a baking rack or towel to cool. Don’t place them on a cold surface or they may crack!
Using Your Canned Fish
You can treat home canned fish as you would tuna. We add it to sandwiches, salads, wraps and tacos. It’s a great item to take on family camping trips for quick and easy protein!
That’s all there is to it!