How To Can Catfish

A Jar of Home-Canned Fish

Canning catfish is a great way to preserve this flavorful and nutritious fish for long-term storage. Canned catfish can be used in a variety of dishes, from soups and stews to salads and sandwiches. In this article, we’ll discuss the steps involved in canning catfish safely and effectively.

Preparing the Catfish

Before you begin the canning process, you must prepare the catfish. Start by cleaning the fish thoroughly, skinning them, and removing the internal organs. Rinse the fish under cold water to remove any remaining debris. Next, cut the fish into fillets or steaks, depending on the size of the jars you are using. Small fish may be canned whole after removing the heads, fins, and tails. Large fish should have the bones and any extra fat removed.

Keep the prepared fish refrigerated until the canning process begins.

Preparing the Canner

Anne James Showing Pressure Canning Process

A pressure canner must be used for canning fish, any meat, and high-acid foods. A boiling water bath canner doesn’t reach the temperatures needed to kill the bacteria that are present in all kinds of food. Only high-acid foods such as certain tomatoes, fruits, pickles, jams, preserves, and jellies can safely be canned in a boiling water bath canner.

Prepare the pressure canner by washing the canner if needed and making sure the seal is clean and properly positioned around the rim of the canner lid.

Preparing the Canning Jars

Check the jars for cracks or nicks around the rim and discard any jars with visible damage. Wash the jars and lids in hot, soapy water, then rinse them thoroughly. Place the jars in a large pot and cover them with water. Bring the water to a boil and simmer the jars for 10 minutes to sterilize them. Remove the jars from the water and set them aside to cool slightly.

Packing the Jars

Once the jars are prepared, cold pack the catfish tightly into the sterilized jars, leaving about 1 inch of headspace at the top of each jar. Add any desired seasonings, such as salt, lemon slices, herbs, or spices, to the jars. Adding liquid isn’t necessary because liquid will form during the canning process.

Sealing the Jars

Before sealing the jars, wipe the rims with a clean, damp cloth to remove any residue. Place the lids on the jars and screw on the bands until they are fingertip tight. Do not over tighten the bands, as this can prevent the jars from sealing properly.

Canning the Catfish

Once the jars are packed and sealed, it’s time to can the catfish. Place the jars in a pressure canner and process them according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The processing time will vary depending on the jars’ size and your location’s altitude. Typically, pint jars are processed for 100 minutes, while quart jars are processed for 120 minutes.

For more detailed information on the pressure canning process, please see the article on canning fish by the National Center For Home Food Preservation.

Cooling and Storage

After processing, remove the jars from the canner and place them on a towel to cool. As the jars cool, you should hear a “ping” sound, indicating that the jars have sealed properly. Allow them to cool completely. Once they have cooled, check to be sure all lids have sealed. Then, label each jar with the contents and the date before storing them in a cool, dark place.

Canned catfish can be stored for up to eighteen months.

Using Canned Catfish

Sandwich with tuna, olives and lemon. Delicious lunch, healthy food, snack with fish on crispy toast

Canned catfish can be used in a variety of dishes. You can make fish cakes, fish tacos, or fish chowder or serve it on its own with lemon wedges. It is a versatile ingredient that can add flavor and protein to your favorite recipes.

Safety Factors

When canning catfish or any other food, it’s essential to follow approved canning practices to ensure the safety of the finished product. Use only fresh catfish that has been properly cleaned and refrigerated. Make sure your canning equipment is in good condition and that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your pressure canner.

Final Thoughts

Canning catfish is a great way to preserve this delicious fish for long-term storage. By following these steps, you can safely and effectively can catfish at home. Enjoy your canned catfish in a variety of dishes and savor the flavor of this versatile fish.

Anne James

Anne James has a wealth of experience in a wide array of interests and is an expert in quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, mixing drinks (bartending), and making jelly. Anne has a professional canning business, has been featured in the local newspaper as well as on the Hershey website, and has been her family canner for decades. Anyone growing up in the South knows that there is always a person in the family who has knowledge of the “old ways,” and this is exactly what Anne is. With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass. Amazingly, she doesn’t need to reference many resources due to her vast wealth of experience. She IS the source. Anne wants nothing more than to pass on her extensive knowledge to the next generations, whether that be family or anyone visiting her website, her YouTube channel, or

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