How to Can Salmon

Are you looking to can your own salmon? It may sound like a big job but it's a great way to preserve your fish. Get started with step 1, below!


  1. 1
    Prepare your jars. They don't have to be sterilized, just clean, because they will end up in the pressure canner and be sterilized there.
    • When it comes to quantity, you'll probably average 5 pints per fish.
  2. 2
    Scale the fish. You take a knife and scrape backwards scraping all the scales off. There's a special tool to do this if desired. Don't worry if you don't get every single scale off, you just need the majority gone.
  3. 3
    Cut off all the fins. You can do this first if you like. There are two fins on the sides, one fin on the bottom and two fins on the top, five in total (and the tail, if it's still present). Make sure the fish is clean.
    • You can save all those fins and little bits to can for cat food, if you have a cat!
  4. 4
    Use a meat cleaver to slice right through the backbone. Cut your salmon steaks to fit. Place them into the jar. Most books say "skin side out," but if you don't like the look or how they stick in the jar after processing, go "skin side in" instead. Bones, skin, and all, go into the jar; those bones will soften later by adding vinegar and the processing.
  5. 5
    Pack tightly into jars, leaving about a 1 inch (2.5 cm) head space. It doesn't have to be perfect, just close.
  6. 6
    Add seasonings you like. You might use jarred seasonings, peppers, or pineapple slices.
  7. 7
    Add vinegar to soften the bones if desired. It's the same measurements as the salt: 1 teaspoon for pint jars; 1/2 teaspoon for 1/2 pint.
  8. 8
    Bring water to a boil in a pot. Turn heat off and add as many lids as you need. After 10 minutes place on your clean jars, screw on bands (finger tight, do not over tighten!), and put them in your pressure canner.
    • After adding about two inches of water to your pressure canner, add a few glugs of vinegar if you have hard water; it keeps the white off the jars. Place the lid on pressure canner.
  9. 9
    Vent if needed. Follow the directions for your brand of pressure canner.
  10. 10
    After venting, place the weight on. After the first rattle (right around 10 lbs of pressure), turn down the stove and time for 100 minutes, keeping the pressure around 10 lbs throughout. If your pressure drops below 10 lbs guidelines say you must start timing all over again so it's important to keep an eye on it!!
  11. 11
    Let your jars sit undisturbed for about 24 hours. After that remove the rings and wash in warm soapy water.
  12. 12
    Enjoy on a sandwich or with some mayo and pickles on chips.

Article Info

Categories: Food Selection and Storage | Fish and Seafood