Saturday, June 15, 2013

Can, Can

Canning jars (half-pint)  -- check.
Canning salt -- check.
Presto 23-Qt. Pressure Canner -- check.
Outdoor Camp Stove  -- check.
Extra lids -- check.
Two thawed fresh-frozen albacore tuna -- check.
Full tank of propane -- check.

Our friend, Jerry, gave us two fresh-frozen albacore tuna from his last fishing season.  In the past, we've grilled his fish but I wanted to try my hand at home canning.  After several weeks of online research I was ready.  I read and reread publications from The National Center for Home Food Preservation website and relied upon Culinaria Eugenius, "albacore tuna canning" as a visual tutorial.  Coincidentally, Miner's Ace Hardware had a 20% off sale and The Man bought our supplies last Saturday.  (The Man said he was quite popular with the women shoppers and many stopped him to chat about canning.)

From Sunday through Wednesday we thawed two 14-pound fresh-frozen albacore in the refrigerator (just like a frozen turkey).  On Thursday, The Man skillfully cleaned and filleted both fish.  He did the dirty work outside keeping the muck and smell out of my kitchen.  Later, I cut out the small pieces of dark meat, veins, and viscera which makes the tuna taste fishy.  I was able to fill two 9x13 pans of chunks of white meat. The next day, I filled 28 half-pint jars.  To each jar I added a pinch of canning salt.

Raw pack tuna

We processed for 100 minutes at 11 pounds of pressure on the dial gauge.  There was heated debate about how to keep it at 11 pounds because even at the lowest setting on the camp stove the dial gauge climbed to 14-15 pounds of pressure.  In exasperation, The Man called Presto and was transferred to Presto's Test Kitchen; he left a voice message for "Nancy".  Amazingly, she returned his call.  But by then we were done processing.  Nancy recommended 15 pounds of pressure for our elevation.

Duke checking out the outdoor kitchen.

After further discussion (calmly this time) we decided to reprocess at 15 pounds of pressure.  We replaced the lids with new ones and this time I added 1/4 tsp of TJ California Estate EVOO ("Lively Olive Flavor Mild Peppery Finish").

Ready to go back in the pressure canner.

It was a lot of work but the canned albacore turned out perfectly.  Firm, flaky, and not fishy tasting at all.  Home-canned yummy goodness.  

Simply Delicious

I'm sure the second third time we use the pressure canner it will be a lot easier and quicker too.