Canning 101

Discussion in 'Fishing and Hunting Cooking Recipes' started by SeaDawg, Aug 7, 2005.

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  1. SeaDawg

    So, what are you going to do with all that Albacore getting freezer burned at your house :)

    Canning is done in canning jars (glass), not cans, and the fish is put in the jar raw, not cooked. At least I do it that way. My buddie Ed told me his mother baked the tuna "back in the day" before putting it in jars and pressure cooked it for only 20 minutes. I pressure cook mine at 15 lbs pressure for 1 1/2 hours.

    I just finished "putting up" 108 pint jars and 48 1/2 pints jars of nice clean Albacore fillets. I had alot of albacore after that 1 1/2 day on the Condor. Anyhow, I canned it all, and it took a better part of the day, but I now have room for all that YellowFin and Dorado we are fixing to get into.

    I fill a pint jar about 3/4 of the way full with albacore, then a teaspoon of the secret sauce (my buddies salsa he makes) a slice of jalapena and piece of carrot for color and then cover the fish with water. I buy those cans of jalapenos and carrots and pour off the liquid and mix it with the water I use to cover the fish in the jar. That does not go to far so I also take the jalapenos and carrots and throw a handfull in the blender and liquify them and then mix that with alot of water to fill the jars with. You should leave at least a 1/2 inch of air in the jar.

    After I get all the jars filled I take a plastic spoon and use the handle to slide between the fish and the jar to allow the water to get all around the fish, and then refill the jars as necessary.

    I then get a small bowl filled with hot water and a clean cloth and wipe the top of each jar really good to remove any material. I dip the cloth in the hot water and use the wet part of the cloth to do this.

    The lids with the rubber seal have been in a pot of water on the stove heated but not quite boiling. Just heat them up good before putting them on the jars and just "snugging" them down with the threaded ring part of the top. No need to screw down tightly, just snug will do the trick.

    I just bought another pressure cooker just for this batch of tuna I had in the freezer. I looked at alot of pressure cookers before seeing quite clearly that the "All American" brand name was way better than the smaller shiny models other companies make. I have an All-American 930 and a 941. The 930 holds 18 pint jars and the 941 holds 30-32 pint jars. All American pressure cookers are made in an Aluminum foundry in Wisconsin and are AMERICAN MADE and high quality. I bought my 930 used on ebay a couple years ago and just bought the 941 new off ebay as well.

    Anyhow, I load the bottom layer of jars and then add water to the cooker till it covers the first layer of jars half way. The first layer of jars should not be on the bottom of the cooker, but on the rack provided with most cookers. I have a second rack to seperate the second row of jars from the first but the 2-4 jars I fit on the third layer I just sit on a jar in the second layer.

    I went and bought 2 turkey deep frying kits at Smart & Final just for the wrought iron stand with the propane burner attached. I guess you can find the stand seperate from the rest of the kit but being as anal as I am, I wanted those particular stands and nothing else was going to work for me. So, I have deep fryed a couple of turkeys as well :)

    I leave the vent open on the cooker for the initial heating and let as much air escape as possible. This takes 10-15 minutes and then I close the vent or put the "15 lb weight" over the vent. I sit right there initially, heat at full blast, while the cookers get up to temp and vent the cookers a couple of times allowing as much air as possible out of the cooker. After 3 or 4 times venting you will notice a steady stream of steam coming out of the vent. By this time I have the heat adjusted/fine tuned so that the 15 lbs of pressure remains relatively constant and I can be in the kitchen getting the next batch ready while this one cooks.

    I basically just said that I get the temp set and then leave the cooker un-attended. Well, I do, but not for long thats for sure. I am checking every 3-4 minutes at first and less later once the heat is fine tuned and I am just steps away in the kitchen. I have my cookers set up in the garage right near the door.

    Anyhow, cook at 15 lbs for 1 1/2 hours and then remove the heat :) I take each jar individually and re-snug the threaded ring before setting them back in the empty case. The jars that are still boiling when you take them out of the cooker are perfect, there will be no problem with the seal. Be careful re-snugging the seals, I just check and make sure they are snug. If you try and crank on the threaded ring, hot gases and liquid can escape from the jar right onto you.

    The seal is created when cooling occurs inside the jar and a vacuum occurs. I get 12 jars in a case and let them sit and cool. You can hear the seal happening as the metal lid "pings" when it gets sucked down due to the vacuum. I tap the center of each lid with my finger nail quickly and listen for a "different" tone. The different tone is the jar that did not make a good seal. Damn, gotta let those cool and refriderate and eat right away. If you clean the tops of the jars well before placing the metal lid with rubber seal in place, you will have only a few that don't seal. I had 100 % seals today on all those jars.

    When loading the cooker, don't preheat anything. Add the bottom layer of jars and cover half way with water and heat after everything is loaded and the cooker top is in place. I tried pre-heating once or twice (thinking I was saving time) only to have jars crack and ruin the fish.

    Anyhow, I thought I would throw this little canning thread up after doing it all day. If there is already a canning thread then compare techniques, and if you have any ideas to add, please do, I am always looking for a better way to can albacore. This is my favorite Football snack and I gotta tell you, the salsa makes it happen for me. The poo poo I make has some bite to it. Of course the ingrediants are limited only by your imagination and taste.

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  2. SeaDawg

    Different stages of the game

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  3. SeaDawg


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  4. JTAP

    very cool and well explained
  5. FishStalker

    That's interesting. Glenn told me that you only need to add a teaspoon or so of water to the jar. When the fish cooks, the jar ends up filled about 2/3 of the way with the water from the fish cooking.

    I always thought that you needed to fill the jar with water too but after seeing Glenn do it, I was confused.....

    BTW, you still got that ocean spray bottle full of coffee from saturday?! :D
  6. SeaDawg

    I have done it both ways and find that if you cover the fish with water it tends not to turn darker while cooking. I have had Glen's canned tuna as well, very good stuff. He adds all kinds of stuff, garlic etc. Anyhow, I like to cover the fish with liquid.

    Coffee :) Naw, I dumped that thing this morning and threw the bottle away :rockin: I will have something else for the next trip :)
  7. bustemoff

    I notied your outdoor setup. When i had a BBQue built I had a burner installed for canning. Wish i had two burners. My father used to pre cook the tuna like your ma. I don't bother. Maybe they knew something we don't. I have always added salt and lately have been experimenting with different seasonings. my favorite is jalapeno - assburn tuna in a jar. Flavoring brings a new twist to canning. Great posts and pics.
  8. BluefinCurly

    Great post!

    regarding re-tightening the lids: I generally do not re-tighten untill AFTER the jars have fully cooled, then retighten after testing (the snap lid) prior to storage.

    I only mention this as someone new to canning may inadvertently overtighten between cooking and cooling and do more damage than good.

    I also agree with the liquid content preventing darkening.

    A few other tips (from experience) use distilled water and kosher salt for brines or filling regular packs to prevent darkening over time.

    I have opened cans that were 6 years old (some garage escapees) that looked and tasted like the day I put them up.

    My family will not eat anything but home canned raw pack tuna.

  9. BabyGiant


    Thats the way to do it!
  10. Mikey

    I use an old propane Coleman stove I found at a yard sale for 15 bucks, outside where the cooler of beer is...

    Also you may want to add a little vinegar to the cooker, it will get rid of the white crusties that are there after cooking.

    I only put in about a 1" or 1-1/2" of water and have never run low on water, or broken a jar in the cooker.

    Don't pre-cook the fish you will only lose flavor.

    Great post and pictures!!!

  11. DawnPatrol

    I also agree that the ALL-AMERICAN is a sweet unit. Have put out many units of with it...
    I also use the Distilled water in the cooker, keeps the cooker looking brand new.

    For those of you who like a mild/spicy and one for on top of salads or on top of crackers (with beer) try this:

    Cook 'em in peanut oil!
    put in TBSP of Parmesan-Herb with a few of those dried, red chiles (jopenes?), and a sprinkle of dried diced onions...

    wow! The peanut oil does a number on your taste buds!

    Alan from SD
  12. SeaDawg

    I agree. I still check them right when I take them out of the cooker and I take them out as soon as I get the lid off the cooker. Everynow and then I get a jar that did not properly seal and I find that if I give that ring a little snug it still may seal while cooling.

    But, you are SO correct that you can do more damage than good if you over-tighten the lid. Does not matter how tight you get the lid, the vacuum created by cooling is what makes the seal happen, not the tightness of the threaded ring.

    Same applies when you first get the jars ready, you should NOT tighten down the lid, only snug it down.

    For those who have never canned, the top to the jar is 2 pieces. A flat lid with a rubber seal around it that sits on top of the jar, and a threaded ring that holds it in place.

    When canning you can re-use the jar and threaded rings but NEVER re-use the flat lid with the rubber seal. You can buy boxes of these lids at Vons or Ralph's or where ever :)

    Thanks for all the feedback :) Some guys I fish with think I'm nuts for canning albacore. They seem to think you can buy the shit in the store already canned :) What the fuck do they know :rockin: They obviously have never tasted mine :)
  13. SeaDawg

  14. FishStalker

    After tasting some of Glenn's canned, I'm convinced that the way to preserve the bulk of your albacore is with canning. Freezing is good for a small portion that you want to be able to Q up and smoking and freezing is good for different reasons but canning is really the way to go.

    Of course, Glenn won't let me buy a canner otherwise he won't have anyone to trade canned for smoked with LOL
  15. Kareem Korn

    I can remember my dad and I getting home @ 1-2am with a load of albacore. Cutting them up into 1" chunks for the next 3hrs in the backyard, and my mom canning like a madwoman. Our pantry would be full of canned albacore. If I can remember right, I don't think she canned any other kind of fish. That is so my favorate fish to this date. So if ever you want to get rid of any........:)
  16. BluefinCurly

    Great thread guys. I stand in agreement with Fish Stalker, I prefer to eat 'core fresh, fresh canned, or smoked, not frozen.

    I also use a tsp of peanut oil w/ fresh grated black pepper and the brine.

    Unfortunately, I have only been out twice on the off days this season, and am starting to wonder if I am going to get enough to re-supply my pantry b-4 its all over.
  17. Mot's Sr.

    Great thread, looks awsome, thanks for the pictures, I've got to give that a try
  18. High n Dry

    You don't need no stinking bait :rofl: Nice thread & pics, I can it all, I think my family got sick of eating Albies 2yrs ago & have been canning it all except for sushi. I used to skin the fish & now I fillet it so it doesn't have that fiber on the outer part so all of it is real clean. Have tried it with everything, chicken broth, onion, garlic,ect..but the favorite is still 1 jalapeno with no water, I see what you mean with the smoked looking meat on top but it makes half to 3 quarter of the jar full of it's own juice. It's all good. Thats a great set up you got too to knock down the time. Later Harry
    J.T. :D
  19. FishWiz

    That's right Charles, and don't forget it. LOL

    Nice post Harry. Good job.
  20. terry c

    Good thread I fill em with different combos of Itailan dressing, olive oil and jalapanos