Yesterday while grocery shopping I happened across a beautiful slab of wild-caught Sockeye salmon. (Alaskan Red Sockeye) I practically stopped in my tracks because they are pretty hard to find around here except for commercially canned versions. I’ve been on a salmon kick lately, due to this AMAZINGLY addicting recipe, and I’ve been hankering to try canning my own. But I have looked high and low for fresh Sockeye salmon, and had not been able to find it anywhere! oh, there’s plenty of farm-raised, color-added stuff out there, reasonably priced, even. But I wanted the good stuff! It was frozen, but in Ohio, that’s about as “fresh” as I’m gonna get!
You can understand my excitement at finding it! It was $9.99/lb, which seemed a little steep to me, but never having had the privilege of buying it before, I didn’t have much of a frame of reference. So I bought it on faith, and looked up prices online when I got home. Fresh fish is always market price, so it’s hard to find local prices online. I did find a few online stores that sold frozen Sockeye, and they were around $15.00 – $18.95/lb! For commercially canned Sockeye, the best price I found online is around $0.72 per ounce, if bought in bulk. (My Sockeye was $0.62 per ounce.)
So go me! Turns out I found an incredible deal! I’m going to tweak our budget a little and go back to Giant Eagle and get another slab!
I researched online and read a few forums on the best way to can salmon, and ultimately decided to just follow The Ball’s instructions. I was a bit thrown when it said not to add any liquid, but Ol’ Ball hasn’t done me wrong yet!
So without further ado…ok, maybe just a little more ado…
Canned Salmon (or any fish, except tuna)
What you will need:
- 2lbs Salmon, your choice. I obviously prefer Sockeye
- 1/2 Cup Canning Salt
- 8 Cups of Water
- 10 Half pint or 5 pint jars, no larger*
- Pressure Canner and supplies
*Because seafood is very low in acidity, you must can them in half-pint or pint jars. Heat penetration of larger jars may be inadequate to destroy bacterial spores. (Source: Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, page 394)
1. In a large stainless steel bowl, create a brine by dissolving the salt in the water. Slice the salmon into pieces that will fit into your jars. (I did 10 pieces – 2 per pint) Soak salmon in the brine in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
2. Prepare pressure canner and lids 30 minutes before you are ready to pack the fish into the jars. Wash jars, but do not heat them since you will be raw-packing the fish. (Putting chilled fish into hot jars could cause breakage.)
3. When the fish is done soaking, drain and rinse for 10 minutes. I don’t have a picture for this step because I forgot it. The step. Not the picture. If you skip this step accidentally too, don’t worry. I don’t think it affected the salmon much, if at all!
(Mmmm…suddenly I have a strange craving for sushi…)
4. Pack salmon into jars, with the skin side out. Leave at least a 1″ headspace. DO NOT ADD LIQUID. (I know it’s weird, but trust me! The oils pulled from the fish during processing will fill the jar about halfway with liquid.) Here the Ball Book says “Remove any visible air bubbles.” That part made me laugh a little…isn’t the whole jar a giant air bubble if there’s no liquid in it? But just for good measure I swished the plastic tool around a little bit, releasing imaginary air bubbles.
5. Put a little vinegar on a paper towel and clean the rims of the jars.
6. Remove the lids from the simmering water and seal the jars. Tighten rings.
7. Place jars in canner, adjust water depth if needed (As long as you had at least 3″ in there to begin with, you’ll be fine). Lock lid, allow pressure to build and vent for 10 minutes then close vent. Set gauge at 10lbs, and once pressure is achieved cook for 100 minutes for both half pints and pints.
8. Turn off heat and allow pressure to return to zero naturally. Wait 2 more minutes, then open vent. Remove lid, wait 10 minutes, then remove jars to a towel and let cool. When they are completely cool, check lids for resistance and store for up to 1 year. Although if you’ve tried this recipe from Keeper of The Home, they won’t last 1 month!
That’s it! I think so far this was the easiest canning adventure I’ve ever had. In fact, it was so easy that I kept thinking “What did I forget? What did I miss?”. Turns out I did miss step 3, and I fretted for awhile that the salmon would turn out too salty as a result of that, but it is great! I also think next time I’ll either pack more into the pint jars or use half-pint jars for the same amount (around 5-7 oz in each pint). I think it’s fine how I did it, but it seems like a waste of space to me. (And admittedly, aesthetically it’s kinda bugging me…)
So I wanted to be able to tell you how it tasted and show you pictures of the finished product, so I went ahead and opened one this morning.
It looks a little unappetizing with the skin on, but I scraped the skin off easily and flaked it up. It flaked the same way commercially canned salmon does. The salmon aroma was very pleasant, not as fishy as I’ve smelled before. (Although if you’re not a salmon-lover, it will probably smell pretty fishy to you.)
Nice color, eh? It definitely is a few hues lighter than it’s original beautiful red, but I was impressed at how pink it still was after canning it. Now it’s time to taste it! I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually wake up thinking, “Mmm, how about some salmon for breakfast?” Nah, I’m more of an eggs and toast or yogurt kinda girl. However, I already had plans for lunch and dinner, and really wanted to get this post on here today. Plus I really was curious about how it would taste! A quick Internet search for salmon suggested omelets or quiches, which sounded pretty good to me. But Ty wasn’t interested in broadening his breakfast taste buds past cereal and I didn’t really want to go all gourmet just for little old me. So I chopped up a potato and fried that up with oil, butter and rosemary, then scrambled an egg with about 3 teaspoons of salmon and 1/4 tsp of dried dill. I topped the scrambled egg with a slice of mozzarella/provolone blend, added a little drizzle of hot sauce on the potatoes and YUM! That was a delicious breakfast! (Ha, ha, Ty! Sucker! Hope that cereal was everything you thought it’d be!)
I am THRILLED to report that the salmon turned out excellent! I will absolutely be canning my own salmon whenever possible!