Canning Salmon

By Charlotte King

Canning Salmon is a great way to preserve some of your catch for later. It allows you to enjoy the taste of freshly caught fish any time and also lets you save money. Canning salmon is a great way to store this protein-rich food for a long time. It is also one of the most popular types of fish because it’s so easy to do and has endless possibilities for recipes you can use your canned fish in.

There are a few different ways to can salmon the most recommended being pressure canning. Canning salmon will involve these basic steps:

Clean: Wash away any surface bacteria with water.

Sterilize: Expose food to heat for an appropriate amount of time that will kill micro-organisms.

Prepare: Pack the hot food into clean jars, add some liquid, it might be oils or vinegar, depending on your preference.

Pack: Put the lids on the jars and tighten the seals properly and start the pressure canning process.

Canning Salmon

This blog post will serve as your guide to pressure can your salmon right at home with some simple steps. We will also walk you through so you can choose the jars that are right for you for the canning.

Why you should pressure can salmon

A pressure canner is the best way to go when it comes to storing canned salmon. It ensures your food isn’t exposed to harmful bacteria while being stored. Pressure canners take out any air left in the container so there is no risk of spoiling the fish. It gives you a simple way to preserve your salmon that can be enjoyed even years later if done properly.

What you need for Pressure Canning Salmon

  • 4 lbs of salmon
  • 10-pint cans or 7-quart cans, depending on your preference.
  • 5 teaspoons kosher salt if you use pint cans or 7 teaspoons kosher salt if you are using quart cans.
  • 5 teaspoons neutral oil/vinegar if you use pint cans or 7 teaspoons neutral oil/vinegar if you are using quart cans. (Optional)

How to Pressure Can Salmon

Pressure Canning Salmon
  • Prepare the Pressure Canner by adding 2 to 3 inches of water to the bottom. Place the canning rack at the bottom so that your salmon cans don’t come in direct contact with the bottom of your pressure can.
  • If you are using the Presto pressure canner we have suggested, you will need about 7-quart cans or 10-pint cans in a single go. Rinse your canning jars and lids thoroughly with hot soapy water until they are well sanitized and all traces of soap are removed. It is ideal to keep the cans hot until they are filled, so you can keep them either in a dishwasher at a low temperature or cover the bottom of a large stockpot with a little bit of water and place them on indirect heat on the stovetop on low heat. Boil the canning lids in water for 5-7 minutes so that they are well sterilized as well.
  • Prepare the salmon: Fillet your salmon and remove the bones and skin from the fillets if desired. Cut the fish into can-length fillets or chunks if that’s easier for you to pack.
  • You can either pack the fish into your hot cans raw or precooked. Make sure that you pack them in tightly but leave some space at the top of the can. If you are using quart cans leave about 1-inch headspace and in case of pints, leave ½ inch headspace.
  • The salmon will release its liquid so you don’t need to add a lot of additional canning liquid. If you desire, you can add oil or vinegar. Adding vinegar will help in softening the bones in the fish. Whichever canning liquid you choose, you don’t need a lot of it. Adding ½  teaspoon for a pint and 1 teaspoon for a quart is sufficient.
  • Top off your jars with some canning salt. A lot of professionals in canning, recommend that you use canning salt or kosher salt instead of table salt when you are canning. While table salt won’t affect the taste of your salmon, it contains some anticaking agents that prevent it from clumping together. These anticaking agents can cause your canning liquid to turn murky and make it seem unappealing. Add ½  teaspoon for 1 pint and 1 teaspoon for a quart.
Canning Salmon Ingredients
  • Once your cans are all filled, clean them with a damp cloth to remove any oils that may prevent sealing during the can pressuring process. Place your canning lids on the cans and tighten them firmly.
  • Place your prepared cans into your pressure canner carefully and close the lid of the canner. Turn on the burner and let the canner vent for a few minutes. When you see steady steam start, you can place the regulator on the vent pipe.
  • Once you place the regulator on, the pressure reading on the canner gauge will increase. Adjust the heat so that the pressure is stays at 10 PSI (pounds per square inch) for 110 minutes or as per your pressure canner’s instructions.
  • Once the processing time finish, turn off the heat and allow the pressure to drop naturally. You can monitor the pressure using the pressure gauge on your pressure canner. Once it drops to 0, open the lid and carefully lift out your cans using a jar lifter and allow them to cool down to room temperature.
  • When your cans are cooled to room temperature, check their seal by pushing the lid in the middle. If it doesn’t pop up it means it is sealed properly.
  • Wipe the can with a wet cloth and they are ready to be stored in your pantry to be enjoyed as and when you wish!

Tips for Pressure Canning Salmon

  1. If you are planning on keeping the skin on the salmon, make sure that you put the skin side toward the outside of the can when you fill them.
  2. Canning salmon requires a pressure canner. Dry heat canning will not produce the same result, be sure to use a pressure canner when canning your salmon!
  3. Canning is all about ensuring whatever’s inside of the can remains sterile, so leaving the lid open will ruin everything you worked towards! Be sure you keep the can lid shut tight throughout the process.
  4. Never add water to your cans when canning salmon! The salmon releases its liquid during the cooking process that adds to its flavor.

How to Choose the Correct Cans for Canning Salmon

We would recommend going with wide-mouth glass mason canning jars to use for your salmon pressure canning process. The wide mouth makes both the packing process and the cleaning process much easier for you.

Some tips for choosing the correct cans:

  1. Choose cans that have heavy glass that can withstand the heating process.
  2. For home salmon pressure canning, go for either a quart size or pint size depending on the appropriate portion size for you.
  3. Once you open a can and want to store any leftovers, make sure you store them in an air-tight container in the fridge. Make sure you are using them within 3 to 4 days.

Frequently Asked Questions

Cutting Fish

Can you eat canned salmon right out of the can?

Provided the can is sealed tight, has no leakage, and was stored in a safe manner you can eat canned salmon right out of the can. Canned salmon cooks during the pressure canning process. You can enjoy it as is, or add it to any dish of your choice.

How long can homemade pressure canned salmon last?

As long as your cans are intact and stored correctly, your canned salmon can easily last for 3 – 4 years.  However, make sure when you are using the oldest cans first. Make it a habit to label your cans with the canning date so that this process is easier for you.

How can you tell if the canned salmon has gone bad?

Usually pressure canned salmon won’t go if you have stored it correctly. If it does go bad, you will be able to tell pretty easily by observing its appearance and smell, for example, if your salmon is giving off an ammonia-like smell or it looks moldy, discard it immediately. If any of your cans are leaky or rusty, discard them.

Is canned salmon healthy?

Fresh and canned fish roughly have the same nutrients. The canning process does not degrade the fish in any way. So you will get a healthy dose of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, proteins, and calcium. Canning salmon yourself helps eliminate any outside contaminants.


Fish Store

Canning salmon is a great way to store this protein-rich food for a long time. Canning is a great way to make sure that you and your family are healthy, and canning it yourself ensures that you know exactly what you are putting in your body.

So, there you have it! With these simple steps and tips, you will be well on your way to canning salmon successfully and enjoying it for a long time!

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