Canning Tuna

Michigan State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600854

Canning Tuna

GUIDE 5:12                                                  

Tuna may be canned either precooked or raw. Precooking      
removes most of the strong-flavored oils. The strong        
flavor of dark tuna flesh affects the delicate flavor of    
white flesh. Many people prefer not to can dark flesh.      
It may be used as pet food.                                 

Note:  Glass-like crystals of magnesium ammonium            
phosphate sometimes form in canned tuna. There is no way    
for the home canner to prevent these crystals from          
forming, but they usually dissolve when heated and are      
safe to eat.                                                

PROCEDURE:  Keep tuna on ice until ready to can. Remove     
viscera and wash fish well in cold water. Allow blood to    
drain from stomach cavity. Place fish belly down on a       
rack or metal tray in the bottom of a large baking pan.     
Cut tuna in half crosswise, if necessary. Precook fish      
by baking at 250 degrees F for 2-1/2 to 4 hours             
(depending on size) or at 350 degrees F for 1 hour. The     
fish may also be cooked in a steamer for 2 to 4 hours.      
If a thermometer is used, cook to a 165 degrees F to 175    
degrees F internal temperature. Refrigerate cooked fish     
overnight to firm the meat. Peel off the skin with a        
knife, removing blood vessels and any discolored flesh.     
Cut meat away from bones; cut out and discard all bones,    
fin bases, and dark flesh. Quarter. Cut quarters            
crosswise into lengths suitable for half-pint or pint       
jars. Fill into jars, pressing down gently to make a        
solid pack. Tuna may be packed in water or oil,             
whichever is preferred. Add water or oil to jars,           
leaving 1-inch headspace. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt per      
half-pint or 1 teaspoon of salt per pint, if desired.       
Adjust lids and process.                                    

Recommended process time for TUNA in a dial-gauge           
pressure canner.                                            
                   Canner Gauge Pressure (PSI)              
                       at Altitudes of                      

Jar     Process   0-       2,001-    4,001-    6,001-       
Size    Time     2,000 ft  4,000 ft  6,000 ft  8,000 ft     

pints   100 min   11 lb    12 lb     13 lb     14 lb        
or Pints                                                    

Recommended process time for TUNA in a weighted-gauge       
pressure canner.                                            
                    Canner Gauge Pressure (PSI)             
                          at Altitudes of                   

Jar       Process      0-         Above                     
Size      Time         1,000 ft   1,000 ft                  

pints     100 min      10 lb      15 lb                     
or Pints                                                    
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