Busy days preserving here on the Faulk Farmstead! Isn’t that what summer and fall is all about? Harvesting your bounty? For us lately, it has been green beans, potatoes, corn, beets, and…. HOMEMADE CANNED TUNA!
Nope, didn’t grow that out here on the farm. I can thank my extremely talented fisherman of a husband for that! 3 large albacore tuna, freshly caught this past week – and perfect timing, as we were getting down to our last few pints in the pantry.
Home-canned tuna is one of my absolute favorites. When I was younger, I honestly didn’t know any different. We always bought the canned white tuna – remember Charlie the Tuna? :) When I got close to twenty years old, I had my first jar of tuna. Completely different league here, folks. The canned stuff I had before? Charlie? Cat food. (Sorry for the graphic comparison, but REALLY.) This was purely, simply, TUNA. Nothing added but a touch of salt. And the best part? It was completely attainable. I could do this!
Just to show you how easy it is….. A canning tutorial! For tuna!
First thing to note: Tuna cannot be canned in a water bath canner. You must use a pressure canner. Not an option to substitute here! If you are new to canning, the best book I would suggest for starting out is the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving.
Another note: I don’t measure out how much tuna I have. I simply fill the jars. Let’s keep this basic, ok? Here we go!
Start with your tuna filets, skin removed. ( If there are any dark, blood-tinged bits, I don’t throw those away – those go into a small jars to be processed and labels at “Cat tuna/food”. Gotta keep the kitty happy.) I am deeply in debt to my husband for taking care of the fish prepping – Tuna is a PAIN in the arse to deal with. Trust me on this one. In past years when I didn’t have my own private tuna-fisherman, I would go to a fishmonger shop and buy straight tuna filets, cleaned and ready to go. Well worth the money.
Fill your clean, sterilized jars with the tuna filets – this is the easy part. I simply cut the filets to fit the jar, leaving 1 inch of head space. If using half-pint jars, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the top of the jar; if using pint-jars, add 1 teaspoon of salt. I use Morton’s Canning and Pickling Salt. At this point, I do NOT add any liquid to my tuna – some people add oil to theirs (please note, it is recommended by the USDA to do this). I have been doing this for over 10 years and have found that tuna has a sufficient amount of natural oils and that there is no need to add additional oil. I like to keep the flavors as natural as possible. Using a damp cloth, clean the rims of your jars – even a touch of salt on the rim could affect the seal. Place your two-piece lids on and finger-tighten.
Process your tuna in your steam-pressure canner at 10 pounds pressure for 100 minutes. Follow any instructions per your pressure canner manual (ie) how much water to add to the canner).
That’s it! Once your jars have been removed from the canner and cooled, make sure to wipe clean the outside of the jars. You would be amazed how quickly your pantry turns into a fish hut if you don’t clean the fishy film off them. I use a vinegar solution for my everyday counter spray and find that it works wonderfully.
We use our canned tuna mostly for tuna sandwiches, but you can use it wherever you would normally use canned tuna – salads, patties, pastas, etc. And I think it’s safe for me to say, once you have home-canned tuna, you will NOT go back.
Happy canning – and eating!
This post can also be seen at the Homestead Barn Hop!