Canned fish is a wonderful addition to any pantry. It is delicious, nutrient-dense, and shelf-stable for up to one year. I was able to secure some gorgeous Copper River Salmon with my friend Candice Walker of Proportional Plate. The first rule of canning is buy the best ingredients available. Canning doesn’t make bad food good, you need to begin with the best such as fresh Copper River salmon from Alaska.

Second, you must use a pressure canner to can seafood.  Salmon is a low-acid food that must be processed at 240 degrees to kill toxin-producing spores.  You cannot waterbath can salmon because this method will not get the water temperature hot enough.  I bought my pressure canner at Amazon for under $100.

My recipe is just salmon. No additions such as salt, herbs, peppers, etc.  You can absolutely add other ingredients to your salmon as there are many delicious recipes online.  I prefer clean, plain salmon so that I am able to customize the flavors later based on what I am making.

Preservation method: Pressure canning

Difficulty level: Experienced

Pressure Canned Salmon

Buy as much high-quality, raw salmon as you’d like to can.  The general rule of thumb is “a pound is a pint”.  For example, 20 pounds of fresh fish will yield roughly 20 pint or 40 half-pint jars.

1 cup pickling or canning salt

16 cups water

Fresh Copper River Salmon

Canning jars, bands, and lids (I like Ball Canning jars)

In a large stainless steel container (saucepan, roasting pan, metal bowl, etc.) dissolve pickling salt in water to make a salt-water brine. Place fish in brine and let soak in the refrigerator for one hour.

Drain well for about 10 minutes. Remove skin, bones, and any sinewy parts of fish.  Cut fish into sizes that will fit into jars with a generous 1″ headspace.

 

Prepare pressure canner, jars, and lids according to your canner’s manufacturer’s instructions 30 minutes before you are ready to pack the fish.  TIP:  Add 1/4 white vinegar to canning water to help reduce fishy smell inside of canner for later use.  Wash jars, but do not heat (since the fish you are packing is chilled).

Pack fish into jars allowing a generous 1″ of headspace to top of jar. Do not add liquid.  Remove any visible air bubbles.  You want the jars to be packed snug. Wipe rims of jars with towels moistened with vinegar.  Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight.

Place jars in pressure canner.

Lock lid and slowly bring to a boil over medium high heat in tiny increments.  Do not rush this step as jars are cold and heating too quickly can lead to jar breakage. This step can take up to one hour. (Why so slow? There is nothing worse than hearing a jar burst into pieces in your sealed pressure canner. All you can do is stew for over 100 minutes and picture the broken glass.) Vent steam for 10 minutes, then close vent.  Continue heating to achieve 11 pounds of pressure.

Process half-pint and pint jars for 100 minutes. Carefully monitor your dial the entire time. If your reading dips below 11 pounds you must get your reading back up to 11 pounds and start your timer to zero again.

After 100 full minutes, turn off heat. Let pressure turn to zero naturally, this will take over 30 minutes.  When ready, open vent. Remove canner lid. Wait 10 minutes, then remove jars, and cool for 24 hours undisturbed.

After 24 hours, check lids for seal. Remove screw bands and check seals. Wash jars with warm, soapy water. Label with date. Jars that have not sealed should be refrigerated immediately and contents eaten within a week.

TIP:  Fish oils will be present on the outside of your canning jars. You must clean your jars before putting in your pantry or your pantry will smell like fish. To remove oils soak in a sink of 50/50 water and white vinegar. Scrub with Dawn dish detergent. Dry jars and store.

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Pressure Canned Copper River Salmon

My recipe is just salmon. No additions such as salt, herbs, peppers, etc.  You can absolutely add other ingredients to your salmon as there are many delicious recipes online. I prefer clean, plain salmon so that I am able to customize the flavors later based on what I am making.
Buy as much high-quality, raw salmon as you’d like to can.  The general rule of thumb is “a pound is a pint”.  For example, 20 pounds of fresh fish will yield roughly 20 pint or 40 half-pint jars.

Equipment

  • Pressure Canner
  • Canning jars, lids, bands
  • Jar lifter, funnel

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pickling or canning salt
  • 16 cups water
  • Fresh Copper River Salmon

Instructions

  • In a large stainless steel container (saucepan, roasting pan, metal bowl, etc.) dissolve pickling salt in water to make a salt-water brine. Place fish in brine and let soak in the refrigerator for one hour.
  • Drain well for about 10 minutes. Remove skin, bones, and any sinewy parts of fish.  Cut fish into sizes that will fit into jars with a generous 1″ headspace.
  • Prepare pressure canner, jars, and lids according to your canner’s manufacturer’s instructions 30 minutes before you are ready to pack the fish.  TIP:  Add 1/4 white vinegar to canning water to help reduce fishy smell inside of canner for later use.  Wash jars, but do not heat (since the fish you are packing is chilled).
  • Pack fish into jars allowing a generous 1" of headspace to top of jar. Do not add liquid.  Remove any visible air bubbles.  You want the jars to be packed snug. Wipe rims of jars with towels moistened with vinegar.  Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight.
  • Place jars in pressure canner.
  • Lock lid and slowly bring to a boil over medium high heat in tiny increments.  Do not rush this step as jars are cold and heating too quickly can lead to jar breakage. This step can take up to one hour. (Why so slow? There is nothing worse than hearing a jar burst into pieces in your sealed pressure canner. All you can do is stew for over 100 minutes and picture the broken glass.) Vent steam for 10 minutes, then close vent.  Continue heating to achieve 11 pounds of pressure.
  • Process half-pint and pint jars for 100 minutes. Carefully monitor your dial the entire time. If your reading dips below 11 pounds you must get your reading back up to 11 pounds and start your timer to zero again.
  • After 100 full minutes, turn off heat. Let pressure turn to zero naturally, this will take over 30 minutes.  When ready, open vent. Remove canner lid. Wait 10 minutes, then remove jars, and cool for 24 hours undisturbed.
  • After 24 hours, check lids for seal. Remove screw bands and check seals. Wash jars with warm, soapy water. Label with date. Jars that have not sealed should be refrigerated immediately and contents eaten within a week.