Canning Your Catch: How to Can Your Own Salmon
So you want to can your own salmon? Picture this: you’ve spent two full days out on the Pacific Ocean catching tons of salmon and now you don’t know what to do with it all! It’s every fisherman’s dream, and one that is made easier to achieve with a chartered salmon fishing trip with Eagle Nook Resort in Barkley Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.
If freezing all that fish you caught isn’t a possibility, then one option is to try canning your salmon so you can enjoy it days, weeks, or even months down the road.
Here is a step by step guide to canning your own salmon using a pressure canner. For best results, some prior experience using a pressure canner is recommended. This method of food preservation often takes some trial and error – and we would hate to see your precious fresh catch of the day gone to waste!
So, if you’re up for the challenge, here’s how to make canned salmon at home.
Homemade Canned Salmon Recipe
Prep Time: 60 minutes
Processing Time: 120 minutes
- Fresh salmon
- Sharp knife
- Full or half-pint canning jars (250ml or 500ml)
- Pickling salt (optional)
- Vinegar (optional)
- Pressure Canner
Step 1: Prep the Jars and Lids
Start by preparing and assembling your 250ml or 500ml canning jars. (Do not use 1L jars or the fish won’t process properly or safely.) You can expect to get anywhere from three to six pints per fish, depending on the size of your catch.
To prepare the jars, clean them in hot soapy water and rinse them well. Ensure the jars are cooled off before you fill them.
The jars don’t need to be sterilized, just clean. The pressure canner will take care of the sterilizing.
Toss the lid rings to the side for now but soak the snap lids in hot water until ready to use.
Step 2: Prep the Fish
Thoroughly clean your chilled salmon after removing its head, tail, fins, most of its scales, and all traces of blood. You can choose whether to remove the skin and bones as well. Left in, however, the bones will soften during the canning process if you add vinegar.
Cut the fish into large enough steaks using a meat cleaver or similar so that you have about one big piece per jar.
Step 3: Add the Fish to the Jars
Fill the jars with the prepared salmon leaving as few air gaps as possible, but leave about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of space from the top of the rim. Remove any air bubbles with a wooden or plastic spoon or other type of non-metallic utensil.
If you’ve left the skin on, you can place the fish skin side in, or skin side out, keeping in mind that concealing the skin can result in more attractive jars if you plan on gifting any of your canned salmon.
Step 4: Add Ingredients and Seal the Jars
Add the optional pickling salt and vinegar to your salmon. Use half a teaspoon of pickling salt per 250ml jar, or a full teaspoon of pickling salt per 500ml jar. Never use table salt! You can also choose to add the optional vinegar if desired to soften the bones. Simply use the same measurements as the salt: half teaspoons for half pints, and full teaspoons for full pints.
With your jars now filled, wipe each rim clean with a paper towel dipped in vinegar to remove any salmon oil from the rims. Neglecting to clean your rims can lead to unsuccessful seals, so don’t skip this step. Add the snap lids to the jars and then screw the rings on until finger-tight (do not overtighten).
Step 4: Add Jars to Pressure Cooker
Place the jars on the racks of the canner, leaving enough space for steam to flow around all the jars. If you’re stacking jars, add a rack between layers. Add the required amount of room temperature water as per your pressure canner’s instruction manual.
If you have hard water, a small amount of vinegar can help prevent the water from leaving a white residue on your jars. Lock the pressure canner lid in place.
Step 5: Processing the Canned Salmon
Processing times and appropriate pressures for canned salmon vary by your altitude and the size and style of your canner. In general, for 250ml or 500ml jars in a weighted gauge pressure canner at an altitude of 1,000 ft should be processed for 100 minutes at 10 lb (69 kPa).
For dial gauge pressure canners, or when canning at higher elevations, the pressure needs to be adjusted. Consult the chart in your canner’s manual. If you have a vent canner, allow the canner to vent for 7-10 minutes, following the directions for your brand of pressure canner.
Step 6: After Processing
Once your processing time is complete, turn off the heat and leave the canner alone until the pressure has dropped back to zero and two to three minutes have passed. Carefully remove the lid angled away from you to avoid any steam. Keep jars level as you’re removing them.
Leave the jars to cool for 24 hours, without adjusting or retightening the screw bands. After 24 hours have passed, check to see if your jars have successfully sealed. (Discs will be curved downwards).
Remove the screw bands and fully wipe dry the jars and bands. You can leave the rings off or clean them and add them back on.
Add labels, including the date, to your homemade canned salmon and consume within one year.
Step 7: Forget Canning Salmon and Come to Eagle Nook Resort
Although canning your own salmon can definitely be an experience, sometimes it’s nice to let someone else take care of everything for you. And that’s what you get at Eagle Nook Resort. Not only will we do everything we can to make sure you catch your limit of fish each day but our staff will also clean your fish, freeze it and pack it proper so you can take it back home in perfectly sealed, frozen packets.
Here at Eagle Nook Resort our world-class salmon fishing charters come with everything you need to catch enough salmon for the entire family. Learn more about our all-inclusive chartered fishing excursions on Vancouver Island, Canada.