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First attempt at tuna

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First attempt at tuna

Postby medicmike » Fri Aug 22, 2014 8:34 am

Since we are living on the coast now we have easy access to Albacore when it is in season. Just drive to the dock and buy it fresh off of the boat. I decided to try my hand at a small batch this year and see how it turned out.

I bought an 18lb fish from the Arctic Queen in Brookings, OR. @ $2.50/lb (it has gone up in the last few years) plus $5 for the boat crew to filet it. So $50 later I had about 12 lbs or so of fresh Albacore

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I cut it into chunks and cold packed into half-pint (and a couple pint) jars with 1/2 tsp salt. Into the pressure cooker at 10 psi for 1 hr 40 mins. Some recipes I have read recommend adding water or oil, having talked with several locals that can their own, I decided not to add any liquid, tuna is oily enough on its own and the oil will excrete from the meat during canning to keep it moist.

This yielded 2 pint and 14 half-pint jars of finished fish.

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Lessons learned,

Fortunately I decided to do the cooking outside as I wasn't sure what the smell was going to be like.....well it got pretty fishy toward the end of the cooking process, I would definitely recommend to anyone trying this to not can in the kitchen (unless you want an irate wife :lol: )

The fish oil will leak out into the pressure canner during processing, the jars need a good scrubbing once they cool or they will begin to smell. The canner also needs a good scrubbing afterward.

Overall it was a pretty easy process, especially having the fish filleted by the boat crew, they are fast and efficient at getting the most meat out of your fish.

This is my first try at canning fish, I have bought fresh tuna off the boat in the past but it usually went right on grille and a bit in the freezer (not that it stayed there for long). Hoping next year to take a fishing charter and catch my own, they go out 40 to 60 miles off shore and the charters charge a couple hundred bucks. My neighbor did that this year and caught 15 Albacore on 1 trip. If you get into a school of them they are supposed to aggressively hit about anything and you just reel them in until your arms are tired.

Everyone that I have talked to over here says that you will never go back to store bought once you have home canned tuna, once we break into it and try it I will send along a flavor report. For those in coastal regions with access to fresh fish this might be a way to go.
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Re: First attempt at tuna

Postby fastback65 » Fri Aug 22, 2014 2:49 pm

Glad to see you back and thanks for the instructional on Tuna canning. I have never tried canning fish, but yours looks great. Albacore is my favorite. The yellow fin in the can just doesn't taste as good as it did when it was full of Mercury and Dolphins. :D
"Never, under any circumstances, ever become a refuge... Die if you must, but die on your home turf with your face to the wind, not in some stinking hellhole 2,000 kilometers away, among people you neither know nor care about." - Ragnar Benson
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Re: First attempt at tuna

Postby Muleskinner » Mon Aug 25, 2014 7:42 pm

WOW! Canning your own tuna.... very cool!
Much better than paying top dollar for the grocery stores cans that you can't see what it looks like until you open it.

KUDOS for trying (and succeeding) at this latest project.

The closest we could come would be some 'gator but I hear it tastes like chicken so not much point in it.

Seriously though, was the process any different than canning beef or chicken?
"Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not." ~Thomas Jefferson

"Being prepared is sometimes inconvenient, but not being prepared is always inconvenient." - Fred Choate

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Re: First attempt at tuna

Postby medicmike » Tue Aug 26, 2014 6:37 pm

Was just about like canning any other meat, from what I have read, this is my first attempt at canning any meat. Gator would be interesting, might be worth a try for you to experiment with, always good to know how to preserve your local protein!

Opened the first one up :) ....will have to say it tasted pretty good straight out of the jar, a touch salty for my taste though, made a great tuna salad sandwich. Next time I will do a bigger batch and use less salt (it may not need any). Overall I would declare it a success and plan to do it again next tuna season. Lots of folks around here add pepper, jalapenos and other spices for variety. May have to try some of the other fish that is readily available around here. Bottom fish like Rockfish, Lingcod, Cabezone, etc as well as Salmon and surf perch are all pretty easy to come by. Salmon is supposed to can well but I fear the other fish may get too mushy. Dungeness crab are plentiful as well but I get ill if I eat a lot of that so I try to stay away from it. I have tried eating the local beach mussels fresh but they taste TERRIBLE, not sure I could eat them if I was starving.

Still trying to find the elusive good clamming grounds here, most of the guys that clam around here tend to keep their spots somewhat secret, plus you have to catch the tide just right, not easy to do while holding down a 9-5 job. The Mrs makes a killer clam chowder that should can well.

Speaking of canning, we had a busy Sunday here. Put up green beans, tomatoes, peaches and pickles. Plan more green beans, apples, berries and possibly pears still this year.
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