This tutorial will show how to can salmon using a pressure canner. I am using sockeye salmon we catch in a net at the Fraser River.
Step 1: Prepare your jars and scale the fish
Prepare your jars. They don't have to be sterilized, just clean, because they will end up in the pressure canner and be sterilized there. I used six salmon and finished up with 22 half pints and 15 pints. Averaging 5 pints per fish.
Scale the fish. You take a knife and scrape backwards scraping all the scales off. There's a special tool to do this but I've never tried it and after scaling as many fish as I have I'm tempted to buy one. I've viewed it in use online and it looks like it would be quicker and easier on the fingers. Don't worry if you don't get every single scale off, you just need the majority gone.
Step 2: Removing fins
The next thing is to cut off all the fins. You can do this first if you like and sometimes I do :) There are two fins on the sides, one fin on the bottom and two fins on the top, five in total. I cut the tails off when I clean the fish so that's already gone. Make sure the fish is clean. I save all those fins and little bits to can for catfood so don't throw them out if you have a cat!
Step 3: Top fin
Use a good sharp knife.
Step 4: Cutting your salmon
I use a meat cleaver and it works great for slicing and cutting right through the backbone. I cut my salmon steaks to fit. I also place them into the jar "skin side in," most books say "skin side out," but I don't like the look or how they stick in the jar after processing. Bones, skin, and all, go into the jar, those bones will soften later by adding vinegar and the processing.
Step 5: Packing your jars
Pack tightly into jars, leaving about a 1 inch head space, I estimate this and it doesn't have to be perfect, just close. Here's a bit skinnier pieces in a half pint jar, tightly packed.