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What Are the Best Tips for Canning Fish?

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  • Written By: Dee Jones
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 08 September 2016
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While canning at home is usually a simple process, it is important to do it correctly, following the instructions to the letter, to ensure that the foods preserved are safe to eat. Canning fish requires the use of either a pressure canner or a pressure cooker. To ensure food safety and a good quality canned fish, it is important to use the freshest fish possible.

When preserving fish, it’s important to follow directions as closely as possible and to use good, safety-tested instructions. Raw fish can contain harmful organisms and bacteria that can cause illness, which is why it is crucial to thoroughly clean hands, utensils and surfaces that have come in contact with raw fish. Using the right equipment when canning fish not only destroys harmful bacteria, it also prevents harmful organisms from getting to the fish after canning.

For the purposes of canning, the fresher fish, the better. Canning the fish within a few hours of it being caught would be ideal, but it isn’t always possible. After catching fish, put it on ice until it can be refrigerated or frozen. Vinegar, lemon juice, oil, or salt can also prevent spoilage until the fish can be canned. When canning fish that has been frozen for a lengthy period of time, carefully check the thawed fish for signs of damage or spoilage. Fish that shows any signs of spoiling probably shouldn’t be canned.

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Many types of containers can be used when preserving foods, but most believe glass jars are the best for canning fish. While most would recommend using a pressure canner, someone who doesn’t want to buy a single-task appliance could use a pressure cooker instead. One of the advantages of using a canner is that it can be easier to find canning instructions for specific types of fish. In some cases, the instructions will come with the canner. Many consider buying a pressure canner worthwhile because home canning can save money over time.

There are many advantages to canning fish, chief among them being the ability to preserve fish for much longer than one could otherwise. Canning fish can be the ideal solution for an angler who does a lot of recreational fishing, but doesn’t always know what to do with all of the fish he has caught. Canning foods like fish is also a good way to save money. Someone who catches and cans his own fish can save quite a bit of money when compared to those who buy fish commercially.

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