It is important to treat your fish right for the ultimate quality of flesh. Make sure if you are on a charter that they have a fish hold and the fish are kept cold; if you are on a private boat, bring a fish bag with ice. Once the fish are caught, make sure they are immediately bled by pulling the gill or if you are on a charter, asking the deckhand to do so. Once filleting, it is important to remove all skin, bones, and blood line; even the smallest bit of bloodline can spoil an entire fillet in my opinion.
I am one of those people who doesn’t enjoy eating tuna after a couple of weeks. I feel the fishiness comes out once it passes the week or two week mark, no matter what you do. I also don’t like the texture once it passes a few days. We take great care to make sure our tuna is processed and preserved for ultimate flavor.
The first couple days I love it, as it makes for excellent sashimi (my favorite after being iced down for at least 24 hours). I will often vacuum seal and freeze a few fillets for cooking over the next month and eat some grilled or seared ahi a couple of times. We also cube some and vacuum seal for a quick poke or tuna cubes cooked in a teriyaki sauce of sort with veggies.
My absolute favorite way to eat tuna though is canned. I could eat it every day, except it’s a tedious process to make, so I savor each jar.
Lemon Garlic Jalapeno Tuna
– Makes 24 Half-Pints
- Fresh, Raw Tuna Spears/Pieces (roughly a gallon Ziploc bag full of cleaned, 1/2″ to 1″ thick spears about the height of the half-pint jars)
- Lemon Slices (3 large lemons, 2 half slices per jar)
- Jalapeno Spears (3 large jalapeno peppers, 2 thin spears per jar)
- Fresh Minced Garlic (about a head of garlic – minced, 1 tsp or more per jar depending on how much you like garlic)
- Fresh Cracked Black Pepper (3 twists per jar)
- Canning Salt (1/4 tsp per jar)
- Distilled, Hot Water ( 1/4 gallon to 1/2 gallon depending on how full you pack jars)
- Quality Olive Oil (1/4 of a 750ML bottle; roughly 1 Tbsp per jar)
Items Needed for Canning
- Pressure Canner – I have two Presto 16qt Weighted-Rocker Pressure Canners
- Half-Pint Jars – Each batch can run 12 jars
- Jar Lifter
- Jar Funnel and Either a Ladle or Non-Metallic Measuring Cup
- Plastic or Wood Chop Stick or Non-Metallic Spatula; even a plastic knife will work
- Wire Cooling Racks (3)
- White Vinegar (Optional)
- Paper Towels
Step 1 – Setting up
- Assemble your pressure canner, following the instructions in your manual and taking care to follow all the steps
- Add water to the pressure canner and fill with a couple of quarts of water; I have not measured this – you want it a little under the rings of the 12 jars once they have been placed inside
- Sterilize the jars, lids, and rings (I run through the dishwasher with just water and a little white vinegar
- Start heating a small pot of distilled water on the side (this will be added into the jars)
Step 2 – Packing the Jars
- Once sterilized, add tuna spears to each of the jars and make sure that there is about 1″ of space left at the top of the jar; pack any extra pieces in between the spears if there is left over space
- Add 2 lemon slices and 2 jalapeno slices to each jar (I find it easiest to take a plastic knife and slide it down the side of the jar, tilt back, and then slide the slice down into the space I have created
- Add 1 tsp freshly minced garlic to each jar, or more if you prefer a stronger garlic flavor
- Add 1/4 tsp canning salt and 3 or 4 twists of your pepper grinder to each jar
- Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil to each jar
- After adding everything, use your funnel and add the distilled heated water to the jars until there is an inch or inch and a half of space at the top of the jar
Step 3 – Placing the Lids and Adding to Canner
- Using your plastic utensil or chopstick, stick it into the jar and move the contents slightly so that any air bubbles are released
- Before adding the lids and rings, you will want to take a paper towel damned with white vinegar and clean the glass rim of each jar to ensure a tight seal
- Take a lid and line it up properly on the jar; place a ring around it and tighten it down so the lid is sealed, but not tight. I typically turn it a half twist once I feel the slightest resistance.
- Place the 12 jars with lids and rings into the warmed water of the pressure canner on a rack; be sure the water comes to just below the rings of the jars (within an inch or so)
- Place the lid on the pressure canner and close (make sure the vent hole is clear prior to doing so); *please be sure to follow your manufacturer’s instructions
Step 4 – Pressure Canning the Tuna
- Follow your manufacturer’s instructions for getting up to pressure
- Cook for 100 minutes at 10 lbs. of pressure; start counting time only once your rocker is rocking a steady, slow speed (I watched a YouTube video the first time to see what the speed should look like)
- Once 100 minutes is up, remove from heat and wait for the pressure to be released; once safe to open, remove lid and lift the jars out using the jar lifter and place on cooling racks (I do this outside)
- The rings might be loose and some of the jars may have sealed while others haven’t yet. Don’t mess with the jars at all, just simply remove and set to cool
- After 10 hours (I typically do overnight), test the seals by pressing on the lid. If there is no give, the jars have sealed. If the lid pops as you press on it, then a seal did not form and you will need to keep this in the refrigerator and eat it within 5 to 7 days
Step 5 – Storing and Eating
- When storing home-canned goods, always remove the rings from the jars; this way, if for any reason the jar unseals, the pressure of the ring cannot force it to re-seal after having bacteria get in. If a jar were to re-seal itself for any reason, you could get very ill or worse. Always be sure to keep the rings off the jars in storage and only single stacked so that this cannot happen
- Store in a cool, dark, dry place
- When eating, be sure the lid is securely on the jar prior to removing; if it is loose, do not eat the jar and throw in the trash
- I like to drain the tuna and then simply mix and eat as is; you could also add a little mayo or mustard, but with the little bit of oil and flavorings, I don’t feel it’s necessary
- I place a box fan in the kitchen window facing out so any excess steam or smells exit the house.
- Always fully read and follow your canner manufacturer’s instructions when pressure canning as well as read up on safe canning practices. This is simply the process I use for canning.