Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Canning Salmon, Smoked Salmon, and Tuna

I have been canning salmon for many years. Canning salmon is a great way to free up freezer space. Just be sure to thaw your salmon before canning. Canned salmon has so many uses: salmon loaf, salmon patties, salmon pasta toss, salmon chowder, salmon spread, smoked salmon eggs Benedict, salmon and egg hash, salmon stuffed potatoes, salmon BLT, salmon salad sandwiches, and more. The Ball Blue Book tells you to soak salmon pieces in a brine of 1 C canning salt to 1 gallon of water for one hour and then drain for 10 min. I have never done this. The National Center for Home Food Preservation doesn't have you do this. It is an unnecessary step and I just add salt to the jar before capping.

My method is simple: Cut salmon in pieces to fit your pint or half pint jars and pack into strelized jars with skin next to glass. Fill gaps with smaller pieces of salmon. Leave 1 inch head space. Add 1 tsp canning salt per pint, or 1/2 tsp per half pint. DO NOT add liquid. Adjust simmered lids and rings.  Process in a pressure canner for 1 hour and 40 minutes at 10 pounds pressure, or adjust for altitude like I need to where I live. Follow your canners directions returning pressure to zero before removing from canner.

Canning Smoked Salmon- Lightly smoke the fish with only 1-2 panfuls of wood chips before canning. I cannot stress this enough. You won't get a stronger smoke flavor by smoking longer, you will only end up with salmon chips. Hard, dark pieces of salmon that are more like jerky to be gnawed on by your dutiful spouse who insists they are delicious. Yes, I'm speaking from experience. So, lightly smoke your fish according to your favorite recipe and follow canning instructions above, EXCEPT, OMIT SALT. Remember, you salted your fish in a brine prior to canning and you don't want salted, smoked salmon. The salmon will finish cooking in the canner. It won't be mushy and will be a sought after commodity. Trust me. It is delicious and I use in in salmon spreads, by itself on crackers, or straight from the jar.

Favorite Recipe for canned salmon:

Pasta Salmon Toss

2-3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pint salmon, regular or smoked
salt and pepper to taste
1/2-3/4 pounds spaghetti, cooked al dente, reserve 2-3 TB cooking water
3-4 TB olive oil
3-4 TB butter, room temp.
1 TB dried parsley
1-2 TB lemon juice
1-2 TB capers

While spaghetti is cooking, drain and flake salmon, removing skin. Stir in garlic, eggs, olive oil, butter, parsley lemon juice and capers. Toss in cooked spaghetti and fold together. Add capers and a Tb or more of cooking water if it seems dry. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve. This is a frequent request when our daughters visit us.

Canning Tuna

We are fortunate enough to have access to the Pacific NW waters and fresh albacore tuna. If you are ever able to buy tuna straight from the docks (or charter a guide to go fishing), you're in for a treat. There is nothing like fresh tuna and if you ever can your own albacore tuna, you will NEVER want store bought canned tuna again. The dock hands will clean and quarter the tuna you choose and you just keep it on ice until you are ready to use it. Follow the directions for canning at the National Center for Home Food Preservation can your tuna. Cut out the dark flesh and Quarter. Cut quarters crosswise into lengths suitable for half-pint or pint jars. Fill into jars, pressing down gently to make a solid pack. I don't add liquid to my tuna, but it may be packed in water or oil, whichever is preferred. Add water or oil to jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt per half-pint or 1 teaspoon of salt per pint, if desired. Process according to your canners directions for time ( 100 minutes) and altitude.

If you can't get fresh tuna, you can order canned tuna from The Seafood Connection in Westport, WA. Their canned tuna is awesome and they even have smoked canned tuna. We have tried both and love it. We order their tuna when we run out of our home canned. It is so much better and superior, and you get a solid piece of tuna that fills the whole can.

Favorite Canned Tuna Recipe:

Creamed Tuna

Make a white sauce by making a roux with appx. 1/3 C butter and 1/3 C flour and heat while it bubbles stirring frequently with a whisk, for 1-2 min. Add milk while stirring to make a medium thick sauce. Add 1-7 oz can tuna, stirring to break up pieces. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over mashed potatoes with a side of peas or green beans.

How do you like to prepare canned seafood and what are some of your favorite recipes?



  1. We live in Oregon's east side and don't get to go salt water fishing these days. Thank you for the link to the Albacore cannery. We gave up eating store bought tuna years ago....just ordered from the site you linked to. I grew up on the ocean and miss it terribly....and all the fresh fish. Your pasta salmon toss sounds delicious....will make it when I get my tuna.

    1. We miss living so close to the ocean too, but travel there when we can. You will love the tuna! It is sooo much better than store bought. They can it themselves, and they are awesome when we come to purchase fresh tuna. Very helpful and they give out lots of samples. Let me know how you like the pasta toss.

  2. Rose,

    Thank you so much for the recipes. I have the Salmon from Alaska a friend gave me in the freezer. I know how to bake it for serving directly on the table however, didn't know how to can it. I totally appreciate this post!!!

  3. You'll love it canned. Let me know how it turns out- Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!


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