Learn the simple process for canning fish in pint jars with this handy guide from the USDA.
You can avoid store-bought canned fish and enjoy higher-quality, more flavorful seafood by learning to can your own.
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Canning fresh 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 fish safely in pint jars. 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 fish.
Caution: Bleed and eviscerate fish immediately after catching, never more than 2 hours after they are caught. Keep cleaned fish on ice until ready to can.
Note: Glass-like crystals of struvite, or magnesium ammonium phosphate, sometime form in canned salmon. There is no way for the home canner to prevent these crystals from forming, but they usually dissolve when heated and are safe to eat.
Procedure: If the fish is frozen, thaw it in the refrigerator before canning. Rinse the fish in cold water. You can add vinegar to the water (2 tablespoons per quart) to help remove slime. Remove head, tail, fins, and scales; it is not necessary to remove the skin. You can leave the bones in most fish because the bones become very soft and are a good source of calcium. For halibut, remove the head, tail, fins, skin, and the bones. Wash and remove all blood. Refrigerate all fish until you are ready to pack in jars.
Split fish lengthwise, if desired. Cut cleaned fish into 3-1/2-inch lengths. If the skin has been left on the fish, pack the fish skin out, for a nicer appearance or skin in, for easier jar cleaning. Fill hot pint jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Add 1 teaspoon of salt per pint, if desired. Do not add liquids. Carefully clean the jar rims with a clean, damp paper towel; wipe with a dry paper towel to remove any fish oil. Adjust lids and process. Fish in half-pint or 12-ounce jars would be processed for the same amount of time as pint jars.
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