We live next door to family who owns and operates a sport fishing boat. If you live in San Diego or visit, it's a great boat! The Producer. If you are not into fishing, check them out during whale watching season and prepare to be blown away by the whales (and maybe dolphins, turtles, and other ocean amazingness) as well as the knowledge and passion of the crew.
Okay, let's be clear, people pay to fish on The Producer.
Folks catch fish. Folks reject fish. Whoa, right!?
Two big things are happening:
- Folks are stuck in the age of fishing that included gunny sacks and skipjack wilting in the hot sun up on deck. The fish deteriorated after hours in the sun and made a wonderful fish not so terrific to eat. News-freaking-flash: sports fishing boats have fish holds to keep the fish in prime condition for the dinner plate.
"I wouldn't even feed that to my cat" referring to skipjack is plain silly! 70% of canned tuna worldwide is skipjack. Head over to those high priced grocery stores and check out the cans loudly and proudly proclaiming "skipjack".
- Folks want the big fish. Wahoo, yay! Yellowtail, yay! Bluefin, yay! Skipjack, geez, that's kinda small?! Guess what folks--in terms of the ocean and fish, take a second look at skipjack populations worldwide. Lower your fish eating guilt: eat the damn skipjack!
So, what has all this meant on the homestead? We've been feverishly canning, eating, and sharing skipjack! And while we love and appreciate the skipjack...I would love it even more if folks pulled fish out of the ocean and ate them!
What does this mean to you? Look a bit closer before rejecting food and tossing it to the wayside or into Soirée's canning jars.
If you decide to can fish:
- Keep in mind that fish must be canned in a pressure canner. Boiling bath canning isn't a safe method for tuna. Ever.
- Use pint or half pint jars. [Quart jars can be used to can several types of fish. But, quart jars are not recommended for canning tuna. Added: 10/05/2015]
- Fish can be packed raw with salt and seasonings. In the case of the skipjack pictured above, no water or oil was added. [Always check current home canning guidance from a reliable source. One recommended source is the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Check out Guide 5, Preparing and Canning Poultry, Red Meats, and Seafood. Added: 10/05/2015]
- Be sure to read and understand your pressure canner's manual.
- Be sure to follow all the safe canning practices!
What to do with all the bits you don't to eat?
- Fish skin. Cut into thin strips and dehydrate. Great for dogs and cats to enjoy.
- Undesirable parts of the filets. Some people prefer the darker fish so ask around. If not, it can be canned for dogs and cats using the same rules as for people food canning.
- Fish heads and bones. Simmer with water for a broth.
- Simmered bits. Chickens will enjoy the simmered fish heads.
- Guts. Compost.
And a quick side note: if the fish are rejected before they are brought up on deck they often can be released.