Albacore Tuna Canning – Joyce Houston and Jennifer Bell Master Food Preservers

The Master Food Preservers of Humboldt and Del Norte County are a group of superstars — they are part of the University of California Cooperative Extension and are volunteers giving thousands of hours teaching people how to safely preserve food.  One of the best foods to demonstrate?  Albacore Tuna!

Many people grew up with albacore tuna coming in a can like Starkist, Bumble Bee, etc — for the lucky ones, there were jars of home canned tuna on the shelves.  This tuna is solid albacore loin that completely fills the jar (minus the required 1 inch headspace!) — and is beautiful white flesh that is decadent in a regular tuna salad or kicked up in a tuna mac and cheese casserole…or just eaten out of the jar! (maybe with a little of Henry’s Olive Oil drizzled on top)

As with all delicious items, it doesn’t just happen — in many cases the instructions for canning are passed down through generations.  Sometimes it’s a group project and you can enlist your friends and share these skills with them — always it requires owning or borrowing a pressure canner (no, not a pressure cooker — this is different, it’s a canner).

Luckily, the Master Food Preservers have produced a pamphlet called Albacore Tuna: Canning the Catch.  Since we are such techno-wizards these days I am including images of all of the pages in the pamphlet so you can have it now (while the tuna is in your ice chest and you are powering up your canner…yes, I know you…) — sorry these don’t look pretty, but info is more important right now…

In the meantime you can listen to Joyce and I wax on about the wonders of canning albacore tuna here

Part 1

Part 2

Master Food Preservers Facebook Page

UC Extension Website for Master Food Preservers


Kit Mann, Sports Fisherman

I first met Kit Mann at a chicken processing event in Blue Lake.  I had been intrigued because a couple of my friends were part of a poultry collaborative — a group raising, and group slaughtering of chickens every year.  Of course I had to go — and it was easy to get invited because this Blue Lake group was pretty proud of their venture and knew it was important to share it with others (to find out more about that check out the interview with Rhonda Wiedenbeck).

So Kit Mann was there — and was proudly demonstrating his WhizBang Chicken Plucker.  He found the plans online and assembled it and it worked like a dream (ok, don’t look in while it is going — the spray of chicken feathers will leave you feeling tarred and feathered).

Well — I found out that Kit is also a successful sports fisherman — fishing locally for salmon, tuna, and rockfish.  But it was salmon we especially wanted to hear about.

Salmon has been a staple for people living here since the beginning of time — and local native people have been sharing it with friends, family and the community ever since.  Turns out Kit is just as generous — and his worst nightmare is that he is opening the freezer at the beginning salmon season and it is still full of last year’s salmon.

I confessed how shameless I can be — the art of begging for fish is one I excel at — in case you are looking for tips, the words…”wow, that is a really beautiful fish” will earn you a piece every time!

Listen Here

Gary and Candee Mooslin, FV Blue Dolphin

Tuna Candee 1This is the year — I’m planning on canning tuna — smoked tuna, tuna and tamari, tuna and lemon, TUNA TUNA TUNA!  It takes quite a bit of time (since it must be pressure canned), but I’m thinkin’ of making a little party of it.  So — in preparation for canning tuna I have to find myself a fisherman…or fisherwoman…or in this case both!

Gary and Candee Mooslin have been fishing for albacore and I am on their list.  When they start heading in with a full boat of albacore they call the people on their list — (yes, they call them — the old fashioned way, one person at a time…because this is, after all, Humboldt County and that’s why we love it here).  If you pre-order loins they will filet the fish for you (which will save you time and the question of how to dispose of all those albacore carcasses), or you can order the whole fish and do it yourself.  Putting the whole fish in your deep freezer can be tricky — they are like baby torpedoes and don’t bend — but you can then decide when you want to can and pop them out to the fridge to thaw, then can.Tuna Candee 2

Candee can give you information about canning — she does it a lot.  In fact — I think I whined (I can be truly shameless) and she gave Jessica and I each a pint jar of the most beautiful albacore I’ve ever seen.  And!  it was delicious too!

If you think you want to get on Gary and Candee’s list for albacore — give them a call at (707) 768-3841.  If they are out fishing…it might take a while for them to get back to you. Listen Here!