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How to Can Tuna

Updated on February 28, 2016

Cook Time for Canned Tuna

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 2 hours
Ready in: 2 hours 30 min
Yields: 1 Whole Tuna Approximately 20 Pints

What is Needed to Can Tuna

  • 4 Loins Albacore Tuna, Sliced into Medalions
  • 2 Cases Pint Glass Jars
  • 3 Cups Olive Oil
  • Very Large Pressure Cooker

Canned Tuna Nutritional Value

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 2 oz. drained
Calories 100
Calories from Fat45
% Daily Value *
Fat 5 g8%
Saturated fat 2 g10%
Carbohydrates 0 g
Sugar 0 g
Fiber 0 g
Protein 13 g26%
Cholesterol 30 mg10%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

The Tuna Canning Process

  1. Sterilize glass jars, lids, & bands with boiling water
  2. Cut the tuna loins into medallions about 1 inch thick
  3. Add 1 - 2 teaspoons of olive oil in each jar
  4. Fill jar with tuna. Leave 1/4" from top of jar to avoid spillage - wipe jar lid clean to create a proper seal
  5. **Optional** Add pinch of sea salt, other flavorings
  6. Place lids and bands on jars, lightly tighten
  7. Put full jars into pressure cooker - Make sure to have a canning rack at the bottom of pressure cooker to avoid breaking the glass due to heat
  8. Screw on lid of pressure cooker and turn up the heat
  9. Reach 11lbs of pressure on the cooker reading and reduce heat to maintain pressure
  10. Allow the cooker to stay at the desired level of pressure for 90 minutes
  11. Remove from heat and allow pressure to dissipate before opening the cooker
  12. Remove jars and allow to cool naturally, the olive oil and oil from the fish will still be boiling in the jars, so be careful and allow them to seal
  13. Screw lids on tight once cooled and place in your cupboard

Best Canned Tuna!

Finished Product
Finished Product | Source

Canned Tuna Overview

Learning how to can tuna is an important skill to have if you enjoy fishing in the ocean, love to DIY in the kitchen, or are very health conscious about the food you eat. Many popular diets such as Paleo, Whole 30, Pescaterian, and others highlight the benefits of fish and seafood, however many of the sources of canned tuna at the local supermarket are less the appetizing. You don't have to settle for water logged, twice cooked, shredded tuna that likely isn't even albacore. Buy a whole fish, or cleaned loins and learn how to can tuna, the do it yourself way.

The following step by steps instructions will ensure that you make the perfect jar of tuna that will last all year long.

Albacore tuna are plentiful and recognized as a sustainable fishery making them the perfect choice for eating regularly. The canning process is fairly straightforward and easy to follow, if you have done any pressure cooker based preserving then the steps will sound very familiar. After you master the basics be ready to whip up your own favorite secret recipe.

Anglers fishing with rod and reels generally take great care to ensure a high grade tuna by properly bleeding the fish and quickly placing them on ice. This ensures the meat is in better condition than some of the large commercial operations. The finished product from small boat operators is much better than the typical "chicken of the sea" canned varieties in the local super market. If you do not want to go out into the ocean and catch fish yourself it is possible to buy whole fish or loins straight off the boat from most ports along the west coast.

Whole Albacore at Market

A whole fresh albacore tuna at the fish market
A whole fresh albacore tuna at the fish market | Source

Do like home canned tuna?

5 stars from 1 rating of Canned Tuna

Special Recipes for Delicious Tuna

If you have the opportunity to process several albacore tuna into home canned tuna you can take advantage of the large number of cans and experiment with different flavors. There are many popular recipes that you can try to kick up your chicken of the sea in a glass jar.

These are a few of the more popular varieties.

  1. Jalapeno Pepper- Simply cut a large jalapeno into a 4 strips lengthwise. Clean out the seeds and wash the outside really well in the sink. Place one piece or more if desired into each jar. Cut it in half if you are using half pints instead of pints. Use a stronger pepper if you want more heat in your finished product.
  2. Garlic & Herb - Add a single clove of garlic to the jar and any of your favorite herbs that you want to infuse the Tuna with. A personal favorite is garlic and rosemary. This is excellent for using in tuna casseroles and tuna salads.
  3. Sriracha - Add a squeeze of the popular hot sauce sriracha into the jar prior to canning and it will leave a delicious sweet and spicy flavor throughout the fish. Perfect for using in a spicy tuna wrap.
  4. Smoked - A popular way to eat fresh tuna is to smoke it in a smoker. However if you intend to make a smoked canned version only smoke the tuna for about 45 minutes to an hour and then remove from the smoker and place in the jars, if you go to long, the tuna will not can properly. This is perfect for using as a spread with crackers and cheese.

    These recipes will ensure you have a wide range of flavors to enjoy during the year. Once you learn how to can tuna you will never go back to the typical metal canned variety in the supermarket.

Video Tutorial of Tuna Canning

Ready to Store

Pint and half pint, with label and date
Pint and half pint, with label and date | Source

Easy Meals with Canned Tuna

The best part of canning tuna is that is in your pantry ready for a quick and healthy meal at a moments notice.

Pop the lid and drain the liquids and it is ready to be used for a tasty lunch or dinner.

The most popular way to eat canned tuna is simply in a sandwich. Use two slices of bread, toast them if you prefer. Place the tuna in a bowl, add a spoonful of mayonnaise, and a little pickle relish if you prefer and smash with a fork to mix the ingredients. Spread the contents on a piece of bread and place the other on top, cut in half and enjoy. It can be served with lettuce and a tomato or simply by itself.

There are countless recipes from tuna salad, pizza, soup, and burgers and more. If you have taken the time to make this homemade specialty then enjoy it and be creative with how you incorporate more dishes into your weekly and monthly routine, instead of just eating more sandwiches.


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    • CZCZCZ profile image

      CZCZCZ 5 years ago from Oregon

      Awesome! Oregon coast tuna fishing is an amazingly good time.

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 5 years ago

      I always get my canned tuna from my uncle who lives in Portland, OR... he is an amazing fisherman ^_^ mmm... he smoked tuna sounds really good right now. I'll pass this hub along to him and see if he likes your special recipes. Great hub, voting up and awesome