Canning Smoked Fish

Learn the simple process for canning smoked fish with this handy guide from the USDA.
From the United States Department of Agriculture
July 2014
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Canning your own kitchen favorites such as smoked fish is a great way to save money and enjoy the flavors you love all year.
Photo by Fotolia/Nikola Bilic

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Canning seafood is a great way to keep delicious ingredients close at hand for future meals. In this helpful excerpt from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Complete Guide to Home Canning, you’ll learn the process for canning smoked fish safely. Use this and our other canning resources to keep your pantry stocked with fresh foods all year long.

The following is an excerpt from the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning covering canning smoked fish. 

Salmon, Rockfish and Flatfish (Sole, Cod, Flounder) and Other Fish

Caution: Safe processing times for other smoked seafoods have not been determined. Those products should be frozen. Smoking of fish should be done by tested methods. Lightly smoked fish is recommended for canning because the smoked flavor will become stronger and the flesh drier after processing. However, because it has not yet been cooked, do not taste lightly smoked fish before canning.

Follow these recommended canning instructions carefully. Use a 16 to 22 quart pressure canner for this procedure; do not use smaller pressure saucepans. Safe processing times have not been determined. Do not use jars larger than one pint. Half-pints could be safely processed for the same length of time as pints, but the quality of the product may be less acceptable.

Procedure: If smoked fish has been frozen, thaw in the refrigerator until no ice crystals remain before canning. If not done prior to smoking, cut fish into pieces that will fit vertically into pint canning jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Pack smoked fish vertically into hot jars, leaving 1-inch headspace between the pieces and the top rim of the jar. The fish may be packed either loosely or tightly. Do not add liquid to the jars. Clean jar rims with a clean, damp paper towel. Adjust lids and process.

Processing Change for Smoked Fish: The directions for filling the pressure canner for processing smoked fish are different than those for other pressure canning, so please read the following carefully. It is critical to product safety that the processing directions are followed exactly. When you are ready to process your jars of smoked fish, measure 4 quarts (16 cups) of cool tap water and pour into the pressure canner. (Note: The water level probably will reach the screw bands of pint jars.) Do not decrease the amount of water or heat the water before processing begins. Place prepared, closed jars on the rack in the bottom of the canner, and proceed as with usual pressure canning instructions.

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