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Meat and Fish

Canning Fish

William Schafer

Meat, poultry and fish are low acid foods. They must be processed in a pressure canner to assure safety. Use the processing time and pressure (PSI) that is specified for each type of game.

Note: Individuals using a weighted-gauge canner at altitudes less than 1000 feet may use 10 PSI instead of 15 PSI for the canner pressure. This will improve nutrient and quality retention. Check with your local county extension office or Soil Conservation District for altitude information.

Following are some general guidelines for canning meat or poultry:

Broth may be prepared by placing bony pieces in a saucepan and covering with cold water. Simmer until meat is tender. Discard fat. Add boiling broth to containers packed with precooked meat or poultry.

Recipe (blue, mackerel, salmon, steelhead, trout, and other fatty fish except tuna)

Clean and gut fish within 2 hours after catching. Keep cleaned fish on ice until ready to can.

Note: Glass-like crystals of magnesium ammonium phosphate sometimes form in canned salmon. There is no way for the home canner to prevent these crystals from forming, but they usually dissolve when heated and are safe to eat.


  1. Remove head, tail, fins and scales. Wash and remove all blood. Split fish lengthwise, if desired.
  2. Cut cleaned fish into 3-1/2 inch lengths.
  3. Fill pint jars, skin side next to glass, leaving 1 inch headspace.
  4. Add 1 teaspoon of salt per pint, if desired. Do not add liquids.
  5. Adjust lids and process.

Recommended Processes

  1. Dial-gauge pressure canner
    Pints — 100 minutes 11 PSI
  2. Weighted-gauge pressure canner
    Pints — 100 minutes 15 PSI

Related Resources

Reviewed 2015

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