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.
Canning meat and poultry
The following are some general guidelines for canning meat or poultry:
- Can only good quality meat, poultry, or game.
- Chill home-produced meat at 40° F or below soon after slaughter to prevent spoilage.
- Keep all meat clean and sanitary. Rinse poultry thoroughly in cold water, then drain.
- Freeze any meat that must be held for longer than a few days to maximize quality retention. Store frozen meat at 0° F or lower until canning time.
- Thaw frozen meat in a refrigerator at 40° F or lower until most of the ice crystals have disappeared. This may take several days for large cuts of meat.
- Trim gristle, bruised spots, and fat off meat before canning. Excessive fat left on the meat will melt and rise to the top during processing. If the fat comes in contact with the sealing edge of the lid, the jar may not seal.
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.
Canning fish 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.
- Remove head, tail, fins and scales. Wash and remove all blood. Split fish lengthwise, if desired.
- Cut cleaned fish into 3-1/2 inch lengths.
- Fill pint jars, skin side next to glass, leaving 1 inch headspace.
- Add 1 teaspoon of salt per pint, if desired. Do not add liquids.
- Adjust lids and process.
Dial-gauge pressure canner
Pints — 100 minutes at 11 PSI
Quarts — 160 minutes at 11 PSI
Weighted-gauge pressure canner
Pints — 100 minutes at 15 PSI
Quarts — 160 minutes at 15 PSI
Canning fish in quart jars. May 2004. University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service.
Selecting, Preparing and Canning Meat: Fish. 2009. USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning
- Canning Whole or Minced Clams
- Preserving Fish Safely: Canning, Freezing, Pickling
- Handle Sport Caught Fish Safely
- Get Rid of Fishy Tasting Fish
- Pressure Canning Process video — National Center for Home Food Preservation
Revised by Suzanne Driessen 2017