Canning Albacore Tuna
Buy some Fresh Albacore Tuna Loins (boneless skinless) from a reputable health approved facility such as Giovanni's Fish Market.
CANNING ALBACORE TUNA
Purchase desired size jars with lids and rings ( ½ pint or Pint Jars) Available at most hardware stores including Miners Ace Hardware in Morro Bay. They also sell pressure cookers if you don't have one. Do yourself a favor, and buy the largest you can afford, this will speed up the somewhat lengthy process, by enabling you to do more jars at once, My cooker hold 3 rows of 7 or so jars stacked on top of each other. (I prefer the PINT or ½ pint in WIDE MOUTH jars, they fit albacore chunks perfectly, and holds just enough tuna to make a couple tuna sandwiches).
Take fish home, and cross cut the LOINS (Fillets) into medallion size pieces that fill the jar edge to edge, but short enough to fit in the jar with 1 inch of space from the top of the chunk of fish to the rim of the jar.
Get out a squeeze bottle or a small pouring device and fill it with olive oil a cup or so. And get out a small dish with ½ cup of salt.
Sanitize the Jars, rings, and lids by running through the dishwasher on the hottest cycle possible, but use NO SOAP. You can also boil the jars. For the Lids, I just simmer them in a small pot of water on the stove.
Now line up jars in a row, and put a chunk of albacore (as described above) into each jar avoiding as many air pockets around the fish as possible, (Fill the voids with smaller pieces if necessary). Remember leave 1 inch of Space from the top of the jar (This is referred to as "head space". This is VERY important or your jars will overflow and will NOT seal! Now you have jars with olive oil and a roundish chunk of albacore in them, now just take and put a good little pinch of salt right on top of the fish.
Next take a hot, damp CLEAN towel, and wipe the rim of every jar to clean any debris from the salt or fish that may be hanging on the rim. This step is also very important, on tiny piece of matter on the rim will prevent your jar from sealing. And the fish will NOT be shelf stable. When all the rims are perfectly clean on the top. Take the lids out of the hot water, and place a lid on top of each jar and screw a ring on the jar, but leave it LOOSE! Do not tighten the ring down! Remember always use NEW Lids! NEVER Re-Use a LID for future canning, Rings and jars are reusable, but lids are NOT!
Add about 2 inches of water in the bottom of your pressure cooker and turn the heat up. Place the jars in the bottom of the pressure cooker (there should be a spacer that sits on the bottom of the pan. Place them in a circle so you can fit 5-8 in a circle in the bottom of the cooker or as many as you can fit. Then place another row on top of the bottom row, and if your cooker is big enough place a third row on top of that (This is why we buy the 23 Qt. cooker...). The bottom jars will be partially submerged in water; this is OK.
Now follow the directions for putting the lid on your cooker, and make sure it is securely locked in place. There are several styles of cooker gauges; some have a weighted gauge that rattles when up to temp/pressure. Others have a dial gauge that shows how many pounds of pressure, some both. The desired pressure is 10-15 pounds, (depending on your elevation Details can be found HERE) Once you reach the correct pressure turn down the heat to about 1/3 or so that the pressure remains constant. On the rocking weighted gauges, they will make a swishing air noise and rock around on top, adjust the heat so that it rocks at a constant slow to medium speed, not furiously rocking, but not too slow just a nice even shake and hiss. Now is the time to set you timer for 90 minutes. ( This is Important !) Start your timer when the cooker reaches the Correct Pressure (10 lbs at sea level) or the rocker is rocking.
After 90 MIN Turn OFF HEAT set, it will continue to cook, and will take some time to cool down enough to remove the lid (Maybe an hour OR MORE, after heat is off.) NEVER try to take the lid of while there is any pressure in the cooker this is Extremely dangerous! Once the pressure is gone (Zero Pounds), there is usually a little button that pops down on the lid to let you know the pressure has all escaped. Now you can safely remove the lid; be careful some steam will still be coming out. Use a jar lifter or a pair of hot mittens to remove the jars one at a time (again these will be very hot) set them on a towel on a table and let them sit not touching each other. They will continue to boil for some time in the jars, and will have produced some MORE liquid inside. Listen for the lids to "snap" or "Ping" this happens as a result from the vacuum that is created, This is a good indication that your jars are successfully sealing your jar. (Be patient this process can take up to 12 hours for the jar to ping or seal) DO NOT attempt to push or force it down it just takes time. Some will seal quickly, within a few seconds or a few minutes and some will be stubborn and take hours, and some will not seal, these that do not seal within 12 hours are still good too eat, but are NOT shelf stable, and must be refrigerated. ** After 24 hours check ALL lids for tight seal by gentle pulling on the lids (Rings removed) If the lid easily comes off the seal failed and is NOT SHELF STABLE. True Seals will be Difficult to remove by hand.
Well that's it once they are cool, wipe off any residue on the glass from the steam and such, and put them in you cupboard for the best tuna sandwiches or whatever you've ever had. Once you try this I guarantee you will NEVER buy a can of tuna in the grocery store again! When you make you tuna salad, include some of the juices in the jar YUMMY!
Also, for those adventurous at heart try adding different herbs or spices on top of the tuna before you put the lid on, anything you put in that jar will infuse into the tuna for a totally new taste!
Below are some of my personal favorites:
Sprig of Fresh Rosemary
½ Jalapeños (seeds and pith removed -- or not..)
Hot Sauce (I like garlic Tabasco)
Or mix and match (i.e. garlic and rosemary)
I take a permanent market and write on the lids what I put in so I know when I open it for example I write "G-R" (garlic rosemary) or "HOT" (Jars with Jalapeños or Red Pepper Flakes Inside). Anyway you get the point... Good luck and happy canning, feel free to call me anytime for pointers