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Old 10-18-2013, 05:19 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2012
Home Port: Honolulu
Vessel Name: Lealea
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Default Does anyone can?

We recently met a couple in AK who are totally "off grid". They have a 35' steel boat they compleyely built themselves - very nice. I was fascinated when we visited their boat as they were in the process of canning salmon and venison for the season.

I have not canned anything since I was in my twenties (long time ago). We were given so much fresh salmon this year we could barely eat it all and did not need to catch our own. I would love to do some small batch canning , four to eight jars at a time, but have never canned salmon.

Does anyone have any tried and true recipes they could share?

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Old 10-18-2013, 08:10 PM   #2
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Vessel Name: SV Mahdee
Posts: 3,236

A pressure canner is required for canning salmon. I used to have one at home but on the boat all I have is one of those really big enamelware pots (it gets used for literally everything -- mostly related to cleaning tasks -- which isn't appropriate for fish. My little pressure cooker, I suppose, could do 3 quart jars but I don't think 4 would fit

Anyway, info on pressure canning is available from University of Alaska Fairbanks (hum....maybe other folks up there have too many fish, too!) here: http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_05/alas...ish_qtjars.pdf

I don't have any really good recipes for the canning of fish (process itself). When we end up with too much fish from a big catch of lake trout (Northern MN on Lake Superior) we take it into town to the smokehouse. They smoke and sell smoked fish, but also will smoke the fish you bring in. You may have access to a smokehouse there? That won't last a long time, of course, but in the winter, you can store it outside in a bear-tight series of metal cans and plastic bags (um, we do this in northern MN too...). Don't laugh, but when my father-in-law retired and moved to a cabin in the middle of nowhere in northern MN, he would take in a bunch of lake trout, have it smoked, and then bring it home and hang it high in a tree (in the said series of plastic bags) and he'd have frozen, smoked, lake trout for months. We used to tease him about losing track of which tree he stored the trout in.

There is some good info here about smoking fish for canning and with links to other canning of meats.

One good recipe for canned salmon is to add the following to each batch of 10 lbs salmon. This comes from an old cookbook I have (dated 1938) that was used by an avid angler we know. I haven't used the recipe but it has stars next to it, so someone liked it.

1/4-teasp. Canning Salt
1/2 teasp Pepper
1/2-teasp. dried Dill
1-teasp dried and crushed Garlic (or 1/2 teasp Garlic Powder)
1/2-teasp dry mustard
1 tablespoon white or brown sugar (or 1 teasp molasses)
1/2 teasp chili pepper

Good Luck!

"Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda

What we're doing - The sailing life aboard and the Schooner Chandlery.

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Old 10-18-2013, 11:53 PM   #3
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We can. Right now just to roma beans and pickles in stock but before going abroad we will put up lots of chicken, ground beef, cube steak, and eggs... Makes cooking under way much easier since the meat is already cooked you basically just have to add it to whatever and heat it up. We do meat in pint jars and find it is just right for a meal for 2.
Never canned fish but no reason it would be any different....
“The world turns aside to let any man pass who knows where he is going.” (Epictetus 55 - 135 AD)

"To see new things, and live day to day, is better than wine or poppy, and fitter for a man." (Theseus)
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Old 10-19-2013, 10:46 AM   #4
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When you say "canning" do you mean in actual tin cans or in glass preserving jars? Because I figure the former would require industrial machinery of some kind whereas the latter I have imagined can be done at home. In this part of the world we don't call the latter "canning", we refer to it as "preserving" or "bottling", e.g. "Grandma made me some of those preserved figs she bottled last weekend".

What's a "pressure canner"?

I have a vacuum sealer. It's good for sealing meat, fruit, vegetables, etc. It extends the lifespan by some weeks or even a few months but is not good for storage ad infinitum. Smoked meats stored in vacuum will last quite some time, but it doesn't get cold enough here to hang smoked meats out to freeze (nor do I ever want to live in a place where it does, no matter how much you pay me).
= New South Wales, Queensland,
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Old 10-19-2013, 03:59 PM   #5
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Del, a pressure canner is like a pressure cooker only really very large. And, yes, we're preserving in glass jars but everyone here in the US calls that, generically "canning" There is a place here called Lehmans which sells (online) all sorts of equipment for doing your own. They used to sell real "canning" (metal system) equipment but don't know if they do anymore.

Jason/Deb, we've found good pricing on tinned chicken (12 oz for 1.99-2.50 or so) via bigbox stores like Super Walmart. Also if you're eligible to use the commissary system (I think you might be) the larger military commissaries have good pricing on all kinds of canned meats.

We have yet to go out and buy a good vac-seal system (food-saver type) but Del reminds me that was on "the list" and I need to follow through.

"Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda

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Old 08-10-2016, 10:42 PM   #6
Join Date: Jun 2016
Home Port: Royston
Posts: 114

I have been canning venison for decades. Before heading south, I find myself a big buck, then...

"Bang! Congratulations! You have just won a free trip to the South Pacific!"

I give the meat, or fish, 1 1/2 hours in the canner at 17 lbs pressure. I use mostly jars, but have use cans . Can sealers are not all that expensive.
Second hand stores sometimes have them. Scrap yards often have big canners for scrap prices, $2 a pound ,or less. I welded up my own out of scrap stainless.
If you put the jars, empty or full, in the canner, then the canner is not taking up any extra space which the jars wouldn't fill anyway.
Light finger tight is plenty for the jar lids, any more and you crack the jar. I have never had one fail to seal for lack of tightness. If they do, you just do it again with the next load. They sell plastic lids to fit canning jars, so you can use them for dry stuff when you don't have meat to put in them ( one of the best ways to keep things dry). That way ,the space used by extra jars is justified.
Canning not only reduces cost, letting you buy or acquire when and where cheap or free , but lets you take food to sea which you cant buy any more.

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