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?


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Pickled Salmon and Applesauce

Made my first batch of pickled salmon yesterday. I had a King salmon fillet in the freezer from 2015 and since it was from the Columbia River in Washington, I knew it was heading up to spawn, so not as fresh eating as ocean salmon. We prefer eating Reds (Sockeye) or Silvers (Coho). Salmon that are starting to turn because they are getting ready to spawn, aren't as palatable. They are better for smoking, or in this case, my first attempt at pickling.

The salmon season is so finicky on the Columbia River. Last year, sockeye were stacked up at the mouth of the Okanogan due to high water temperatures to head up to Canada to spawn, and it was a fishers paradise. This year, cooler water meant sockeye weren't hanging around and headed straight up river. We spent 2 hard weekends fishing for sockeye this summer up there. One Sunday after fishing our tails off all day Saturday, and then again on Sunday, we managed to land 2 fish. When we got back to the dock, the Fish and Wildlife gal came over to our boat and asked if this was the boat with all the fish. I told her we only caught 2. She said, well if this was a tournament, you're in first place! We call them our $500 sockeye! We spent at least that much to have them in our freezer!

I adapted Sandra's recipe for pickled salmon, basically using 2 C water, 1 C vinegar and 2 TB of pickling spices, then adjusted the sugar by one fourth. I guesstimated on the amount of salt and sugar to use for curing, making sure the salmon was well covered. Otherwise, it would result in mushy salmon. I'm going to go try a piece now, even though it has been only one day. Be back in a minute.

Wow! This is amazing. It is not too vinegary, which I thought it would be trying it so soon. It is pleasantly but mildly sweet, tangy, firm, and just the right amount of seasoning. I bet it will be better in a few weeks!

Today, my endeavor was making applesauce from our Jonagolds which produce every other year. I ended up with 7 qts. and 4 pints. I still have some apples left and am thinking about making a batch of apple butter.

My KitchenAid is a lifesaver when it comes to processing the apples. I will use it again to make apple butter.

Not much else going on here. Snow is melting due to warmer weather temps. Roads will be a mess with the temps at 37 degrees. Gotta run to town and pick up some eggs, milk and other items. Until next time!