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Which fish varieties can (or can't) be pressured canned?

Posted by jill2761 10 (My Page) on
Mon, Dec 31, 12 at 14:32

My husband Fishes. And Catches. My freezer already has a lot of catfish in it--and he just brought home a 14 lb catfish and a 12 lb catfish. I know tuna, salmon and seafood can be canned, but don't know about catfish. I have never canned fish or meat before.

I searched the NCHFP site and found their guidelines for canning pints and quarts for "fatty fish" and a few specifically named varieties, but catfish is not mentioned (or excluded).

Is catfish a fish that can be safely pressure canned? And if it is, has anyone here done it? Will you tell me what it's like and if it is worthwhile taste-wise to do so?

Thanks,

Jill

Here is a link that might be useful: nchfp--canning fish


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Which fish varieties can (or can't) be pressured canned?

I didn't find answers when I searched gardenweb harvest forum before posting my question, but using a different search engine I came up with an older thread with the answers.

I also found Kentucky's extension service instructions, which name catfish specifically. They indicate I may not be happy with the outcome, but it is safe. I'm going to try a small batch to see for myself what taste and texture are like.

Any comments or suggestions or tips will be greatly appreciated.

Jill

Here is a link that might be useful: other varieties of fish---an older thread on harvest forum


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RE: Which fish varieties can (or can't) be pressured canned?

  • Posted by bcskye 5 Brn.Co., IN (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 2, 13 at 22:47

I don't know the answer to your question, Jill, but wanted to let you know I'm interested in hearing a response to your post, too.


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RE: Which fish varieties can (or can't) be pressured canned?

On page 2 of this Wisconsin Safe Food Preservation PDF (link below) you will see that canning catfish is safe.

Here is a link that might be useful: Safe Food Preservation


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RE: Which fish varieties can (or can't) be pressured canned?

Okay, I finally did it. My husband brought home some more catfish yesterday. Per the instructions, the fish were gutted and bled within 2 hours of being caught (actually was done immediately). They were stored on ice until he got them home. He filleted them and handed them over to me. I washed them again and drained them. I pressure canned them per NCHFP instructions for pint jars.

The fish are canned raw pack into hot jars. I filled the jars with fish cut into approximately 3-1/2" strips. I left 1" of head space. No liquid was added. I added approximately 1/8 tsp of salt per jar, much less than the listed amount, which is optional anyway. The processing time was 100 minutes.

I processed only 4 pints because I didn't know if I would like the catfish pressure canned. After processing was complete and jars removed, I had one jar with a seal failure, which I know was related to the lid itself. It was the only one left from an old batch I uncovered in the pantry and it just didn't take. I refrigerated that jar as soon as I discovered it this morning, approximately 9 hours after being removed from the canner.

I cooked it up in a recipe for lunch today. I used a recipe for fish patties that was labeled "if you like crab cakes, you'll love this recipe." It was only for "inspiration" and what I did was mix the entire jar of fish (drained of the liquid) with about a cup (maybe a little more) of cracker crumbs, a squirt of mustard, mayo, some lime juice, about 1/3cup each of minced bell pepper and onion, 1 clove of garlic, 1 egg, cajun seasoning, and some freshly picked and chopped cilantro. I formed patties and cooked over medium heat in about 1-2 TBS of oil in a large skillet. When they were golden brown on each side and thoroughly cooked, I removed from the skillet.

They are actually quite good. I would repeat this recipe.

Now, for the negatives: I was forewarned by several official extension agency publications that the texture of the fish might not be satisfactory after canning this type of fish. The catfish did not come out flaky. In the jar, it looks like it remains in the cut slabs, but it is extremely mushy, and becomes almost paste-like as soon as you start stirring it up. This texture did not affect the recipe I used at all, but I can't see it working for most other recipes. I thought it might be usable for casseroles (like a tuna-like casserole), but I don't think I would like it. I will try it for a tuna-like salad sandwich spread, but I don't know how that will turn out yet.

I'm not sure what other recipes this might work for. I thought if all the recipes were failures at the taste-test, I would use it for cat food. However, my vet has recommended that I not feed fish-flavored cat food to my cat due to a bladder ailment. He says fish cat food is processed with the fish bones, which provides too many minerals which form crystals in his bladder (similar to kidney stones in people). I will ask if that is still a problem if the fish is processed without bones, but for now, I'll avoid canning it for cat food.

All in all, I think it will work just fine for fish patties and I would probably do it again. It is very, very, very easy. It was easier than bagging up in individual bags for the freezer. The only thing time-consuming about it was monitoring the canner processing time.

The only other thing that occurred is that the jars are not full. I did not have any siphoning. I probably did not put enough fish in the jars. I just dropped pieces of fish in until it came up to the 1" head space. I didn't try to push them down or fit any more in. When processing was over, the self-made liquid covers the fish, but the jars are a little less than 2/3 full.

Jill in Texas


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RE: Which fish varieties can (or can't) be pressured canned?

I've never canned fish, HOWEVER, I've been 'meaning to' when I get a roundtooit.

We catch a lot of catfish on trotline and limbline here, and, the first thing comes to mind when I think of canned catfish is 'what a waste'. IMO, better off to clean out the freezer, invite the neighbors and have a fish fry, then DH can just keep on doing his thing and bring home the meat to fill the freezer, again. (Beginning to sound like a cycle maybe?) :-)

Fresh fried flathead or blue cat is gourmet eating, period. And the outcome of canned mushy fish doesn't surprise me.

We have buffalo suckers here (KY River). Large, powerful, plentiful, simple to catch, and delicious to eat, but, very boney. However canning these suckers is supposedly a superb way to prepare them. 'Not only do the bones dissolve, but the meat is firm and the flavor is great.'

Like I said, when I gat a roundtooit I intend to can me some sucker.

Here is a link that might be useful: Poor Man's Salmon


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RE: Which fish varieties can (or can't) be pressured canned?

I wasn't looking for a way to replace freezing catfish, but exploring and experimenting with additional ways of keeping it that were not dependent on the freezer. On this last trip, my husband also brought home a wild hog. Now that will be an experience. I sure wish I'd paid more attention to how my father used to do things. I never imagined that some day I'd be stocking the pantry the way my great-grandparents did, instead of just buying it at the grocery store!


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RE: Which fish varieties can (or can't) be pressured canned?

I've canned quite a bit of pork, my favorite being 'Carnitas' - Mexican pulled pork. I hope it's a good quality wild pig you've got, I understand some of those old boars can be nearly inedible.


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RE: Which fish varieties can (or can't) be pressured canned?

So far it looks really good. It was a smaller female, maybe 100-150 lbs, just guessing. I was really glad to find out he hadn't gotten a huge old boar! I cooked some up last night...fried like venison backstrap. It was delicious. Not as red as beef, not as light a meat as commercial pork. The meat is in the refrigerator now, just waiting for me to cut it up and package for the freezer. I have never done this before, so I may end up with a whole lot of stew meat pieces instead of steaks and roasts! :-) I know I am going to save enough for a trial batch in the canner.

Jill in Texas


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RE: Which fish varieties can (or can't) be pressured canned?

On more than one occasion the wife and I have both gotten deer the same day, we butchered our own meat and both worked 8 hr day jobs and were forced to intitially quarter the deer(s) up and put them on ice in coolers until we could get the meat boned out, which has taken as long as up to nine days to complete, which being drained and re-iced several times really washes/cleans the excess 'gameyness' away. I wouldn't do it any other way now.


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