PUBLISHED: 11:36 AM on Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Fish preservation in the can
Before relocating to Juneau, I called the Southwest home for more than 30 years - living in Nevada, New Mexico and Texas.

Needless to say, seafood was not a staple in my diet. In fact, aside from the occasional lake trout, most of the seafood I enjoyed was consumed in restaurants.

Once surrounded by high desert, I now find myself surrounded by water and enjoying the harvest of the seas.

My husband and I have found great pleasure in fishing for both Alaska salmon and halibut.

Before moving to Alaska, I had never practiced home canning for food preservation.

However, I find now that preserving fish is an excellent way to keep this product safe in dry storage.

The 2006 fishing season is upon us, so now is the time to make plans for "putting up" the catch. Fish can be preserved both in quart and pint jars.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service has conducted extensive research on the recommended processes for canning fish in jars.

Free publications, "Canning the Catch," "Canning Fish in Quart Jars" and "Visual Inspection of Can Seams in Home Food Preservation" are available at the Juneau District office, 3032 Vintage Blvd., Suite 104.

While jars provide good storage for fish preservation, some individuals prefer canning in cans.

These cans are lightweight making them perfect for taking along when camping, hiking, or boating.

The cans and lids most commonly available in Alaska are the one-pound and half-pound sizes.

Alaska salmon cans have an enamel lining that is appropriate for a low acid food, such as fish.

I noticed that Alaska salmon cans were available in Juneau early in the season last year. In fact, I took a can sealer to the 2005 Southeast State Fair in Haines to demonstrate its use.

Currently, the Juneau District office is making arrangements for a "Canning Fish in Cans" workshop.

The workshop will be conducted by Dr. Kristy Long, UAF CES statewide foods and home economics specialist, and Dr. Bret Luick, UAF CES statewide foods and nutrition specialist. The four-hour program will be divided into two sessions.

Session One: Using Cans and the Can Sealer. Discussion will include types of cans, their anatomy, and evaluating can seams.

A hands-on lab will cover the assembly and adjustment of home can sealers. Participants are encouraged to bring their home can sealers, if they have one.

Session Two: Home Canning Fish in Cans. A demonstration will cover required equipment and containers, headspace, exhausting, creating a vacuum in the sealed cans, and heat processing (canning) the fish.

The workshop is scheduled for 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday, April 15, in the Juneau Douglas High School home economics kitchen.

There is a $5 fee for the workshop and space is limited.

For more information or to pre-register for the workshop, contact Judy at 465-8749 or send an e-mail to me at

Dr. Koukel is the Juneau District Agent for the Home Economics Programs of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service.