Sunday, September 8, 2013

Home Canned Tuna--And a Quick Recipe for Creamed Tuna on Toast

The fishing boats are busy in our nearby Pacific Ocean and the tuna is on! I picked up two fish and ended up with about 25 pounds of clean, sweat meat to can. Here's the end result:

Lousy photo...and I don't know why. But there's tuna in those cans!

Now I'll give you a quick lesson on how it's done correctly. The information, by the way, comes straight from my latest book:
(I think I need a new camera!)
The trick to canning sweet-tasting tuna is in the preparation. After skinning, removing viscera, bleeding the fish, and deboning, take extra care in the final cleaning to remove all dark flesh, blood vessels, and membranes. Rinse well. The cleaner your meat is, the better it will taste once canned, so take your time and do a thorough job. Trust me on this: I've known people who didn't clean their fish well and then wondered why their tuna tasted is the key to sweet success.
You can process your tuna raw or cooked. I'm going to tell you how to can it raw because it's about as easy a canning process as there is.
Pack raw tuna into half-pint or pint jars (do not use pint-and-a-half or quart jars!), pressing down to fill in the space inside the jar and leaving 1-inch headspace. You can add water to cover, again making sure you leave 1-inch headspace, but this isn't necessary as it's safe to can the raw tuna with no added liquid. (In fact, that's how I always can mine.) Add a bit of salt if desired: 1/4 tsp. or less for half-pints, maybe a bit more to pints, but again, this isn't necessary.
Process half-pints and pints for 100 minutes (that's 1 hour and 40 minutes...a very long time!) at 10 psi, adjusting the psi as necessary for your altitude. You'll find complete canning directions in my book, or else in the manual that came with your pressure canner.
Here's a nifty link that you can use to determine your altitude anywhere in the world: And even if you know what your altitude is, it's still a fun link to peruse.
You may be wondering why you would go to the trouble and expense of home canning tuna. Well, for starters, the fish is ultra fresh. And if you've ever looked at the ingredients list on store bought canned tuna, you're likely to see among other ingredients soy (GMO problems) and something called "pyrophosphates." I've read that pyrophosphates are somewhat toxic, even though they appear in lots of packaged food so "someone" "somewhere" has deemed it safe to eat. But I have to ask, why would I eat pyrophosphates when I could process my own fish and know exactly what's in it? And what exactly is in my jars of tuna? Well...tuna. Period. Makes my heart sing!
And now for a quick recipe:

Creamed Tuna on Toast

1 jar tuna, drained
4 T. butter
4 T. flour
1-1 1/4 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste
Open your jar (or can) of tuna and drain well; set aside for now. (I generally dump my jar of tuna out into my hands and give it a quick squeeze to help get all the liquid out. It works!) Measure out the milk and have it near your stove for when you need it.
In a saucepan, melt the butter; whisk in the flour and keep whisking continuously for about 30 seconds. Whisk in the milk and keep whisking until the mixture begins to boil and thickens. Immediately turn your burner down to the lowest setting and add the tuna, stirring to break up the tuna and heat thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle the creamed tuna on toast and dig in. Comfort food at its finest!
I hope you give canning tuna a try. It's a special treat, to be sure.
May you and your loved ones be blessed.


  1. I was wondering how long the tuna lasts canned and can it be stored outside of the refrigerator.

    1. Hi Rebecca-
      Once the tuna is canned the jars can sit on the shelf. No refrigeration needed! But just like a store bought can of tuna, you'll need to refrigerate the tuna once you've opened the jar. Are you new to canning?

    2. Rebecca!
      I forgot to address your other question: the jars of tuna are safe for years as long as the seal remains. However, I've read that the contents of any jar of food will lose nutritional value after a year or so. But it's still safe to eat as long as the seal remains. We've eaten two year old home canned food many times over the years and haven't noticed any difference. Hope this helps!

  2. Yes I am new to canning. Thank you for your response.