This whitefish had been frozen and I was so glad to start with this recipe because the meat did not need to be completely thawed for me to begin the process. I didn’t know until I actually did this that fish is canned cold. Most meat has to be partially cooked or room temperature. I was worried because much of the meat I was working with was frozen to start with and I believed I had to get it to room temperature before canning. It was nice to start with something cold. It gave me the confidence to can the entire lot of meat.
I used the instructions in my Ball canning book. This method had you take the cold fish and brine it in salt water. I cut up all the fish to fit into my pint jars and then set them in a large bowl with cold water and about a tablespoon or so of salt. Since my fish was still partially frozen and my fridge was packed full, I let the fish sit covered on my counter. If the fish hadn’t been frozen, then it would have been refrigerated. Brine for 20 minutes or so. Drain.
Layer the fish into the jars, packing fairly tightly. No water needed.
Pressure can for 100 minutes.
I have to say I was thrilled this was the first set of canning I did that day. I couldn’t believe it needed to be canned for so long but much of that is because the fish starts out cold. None of my timers went to 100 minutes though so I had to wait a minute and start the timer at 99 minutes.
The jars are beautiful but I do have one that looks like there’s nothing in it. I had about 1/2 jar leftover so I canned it thinking it was full enough. The fish shrank so much that it looks like there’s almost nothing in the jar. I’m thinking we’ll be eating that one soon.
Because of this type of fish, there were tiny pin bones in the fish that I canned. I’m hoping they will be like canned salmon and get very soft.