Those are the words Rick said as he cleaned up the kitchen Saturday evening after our first attempt at canning albacore. After reading my column last week, Rick was determined to help me overcome my tuna canning inferiority complex.
I had my heart set on canning tomatoes and freezing corn over the weekend and had hit the farmers market early Saturday to buy corn and two boxes of tomatoes. But my plans were put on hold when Rick suggested we cruise the harbor to see if any tuna boats were in.
On A dock we met Matt who was selling tuna he’d just caught off the coast of Gold Beach, Ore. Rick paid him $2 per pound and $3 to clean it. Matt’s partner Lisa carved the fish into perfectly shaped loins that we carried home in a garbage bag.
We consulted Devon Morgante’s recipe for canned tuna that appeared in a prior week’s Triplicate and also read our canning bible, the Ball Blue Book, before starting.
Thanks to readers who called, e-mailed and even dropped off easy-to-follow instructions with photos to encourage me to try canning tuna. With a little help from my friends, especially Rick, I’ve canned albacore successfully. If we can, anyone can!
Here’s how we did it:
1) 11:45 a.m. We’re on the docks scouting for fresh tuna. Rick hands over $43 to Matt and the scaling begins.
2) At home in our kitchen Rick opens the steam-pressure canner he purchased recently.
3) 1:54 p.m. Rick places “medallions” of tuna in hot sterilized 1/2 pint jars.
4) One teaspoon of olive oil goes in the jar first then sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of salt on the tuna.
5) The jars get their lids and rings on then we put them into hot water in the pressure cooker.
6) 2:45 p.m. The cooker reaches 10 lbs. pressure before we start timing the process. One source said 90 and another 100 minutes, so we went with the longer time to be safe.
7) 6:22 p.m. We let the canner cool off for 30 minutes or so until it was safe to open it. We have 12 half-pints and one pint of canned tuna in our pantry and a large loin in the freezer for a future dinner.
Reach Michele Thomas, The Daily Triplicate’s publisher, at 464-2141, or stop by 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.