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Preserving Fish: Beyond the Freezer

Fishing is a wonderful pastime and sport. It’s also a great way to feed your family. No matter where you live, it’s likely that you have lakes, rivers, or even the ocean nearby. If you are working towards making your family self-sufficient, fishing can play an important role. Fish is an excellent source of protein and vital nutrients. Many contain Omega 3 fatty acids, which can’t be touted enough for their myriad healthful benefits. In many cultures around the world, fish has always been a dietary staple. For you and your family, fish could be a major part of your diet, or simply one aspect of a varied and healthy lifestyle.

Of course, you may need to confront the issue of having more than you can eat. If you and the kids head out for a day of fishing and bring back more trout, salmon, walleye or bass than you can consume in a few days, do you let it go to waste? Do you throw some of the fish back? You could, or you might consider preserving some of your catch for future meals. Being self-sufficient means not only providing for your family’s immediate food needs, but also being prepared for future needs.

If you have the good fortune of having abundant fish nearby, take advantage of this food source. Catch your fish and eat some fresh. Preserve the rest for storage. Storing fish is simple, and there are several ways you can do it. Of course, freezing fish is one option, but what happens when you lose power? It happens to me pretty frequently, and losing precious food is never fun! Don’t rely on the electricity to keep your food. People have been preserving food and fish for thousands of years without it. You don’t need it either. You can dry, salt, pickle, or smoke your fish. One of the best ways to preserve your fish, potentially for years, is to can it. Canning fish is not much different from canning vegetables, but it does require the use of a pressure canner for safety.

Canning Fish

Even if you have experience canning fruits and high-acid vegetables such as tomatoes and pickles, you may not have realized that canning fish is also an option. I know I hadn’t thought about it until recently.

While canning acidic foods can be done in a simple water bath, canning fish requires a pressure canner. Without it, you cannot safely preserve your fish this way. Below is the basic method for canning fish. You would be wise, however, to do more detailed research before trying this.

Prepare now for surging food costs and empty grocery store shelves… [1]

Safety Issues

Before preserving any food, please be sure that you are very well informed as to how to go about it safely. Canning any food can present safety concerns if it is not done correctly. When bacteria are allowed to grow in canned food, the results can be very detrimental. If you are new to canning, you may want to consider working with someone who has experience before you tackle it on your own.

Either way, keep these safety considerations in mind:

Flavoring Your Canned Fish

While fish can be canned without the addition of any other ingredients, you can also flavor it to make it tastier and moister. Some quick research on fish canning recipes should bring up several options.

Here are just a few things you might try:

Preserving fish is a great way to make your catch last. Canning is serious business, however. Don’t take the process lightly. Be sure that you are following a safe canning procedures to the letter, and never try to can fish without a pressure canner.

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