Enjoy your tuna
catch all year by canning it
By LYNNE FOSTER
There is something to catch on a charter out of Hatteras all year
round, but April marks the unofficial opening of the “season” for the
weather and the usual abundance of yellowfin tuna in the Gulf Stream
beckon anglers who have been penned up all winter. Weekends
especially book up early and quickly.
star catch this time of year is yellowfin tuna, although other fish are
taking the baits, including blackfin tuna. Both can be used
firm steaks are excellent for grilling, but there are many other ways
to enjoy this savory saltwater seafood.
had a beat up old skiff some years ago that our nephew worked on one
summer and named “Chicken of the Sea.” With apologies to the
manufacturer that bears the same name, home-canned tuna far surpasses
any commercial product.
can tuna (I really mean Ernie cans tuna.). It is a great way
preserve a catch and enjoy it all year or at least until the next
TO CAN FRESH TUNA
canning jars and canning lids by boiling them in a large pan on the
the cleaned fish (with its blood line removed) into chunks,
approximately the size of ice cubes.
chunks in a chilled heavy salt brine solution overnight.
next day, remove the fish from the brine with a slotted spoon and
completely fill each jar with the fish chunks. Screw the lids
tightly and then place the jars upright into a large pot of boiling
water. Cover the pot with its lid.
entire jar with lid must remain under water during the entire process,
so be sure the pot is tall enough. You will also want to
the jars fit closely enough that they do not fall over. Once
water returns to a boil, lower the heat to a rolling simmer.
for 8 hours, checking to be sure the water has not evaporated and the
jars remain under water. Add boiling water as
pressure cooker is much faster, but we do not use one, so if you do,
follow the manufacturer’s directions.)
remove the jars and place on a cooling rack. There is a
tool for this available where canning jars are sold that is really
useful. It is also inexpensive, so I recommend you get one
than risk getting burned.
minutes you will hear a popping sound coming from the lids.
sound indicates the seal is good. If any of the jars do not
properly (no pops), you should use the fish immediately. Do not attempt to can it
cooled, the jars of canned tuna can be stored in a cupboard or
pantry. It is not necessary to refrigerate them unless they
been opened and the fish unused. Not likely!
will keep for years!
you do open the tuna there are many easy ways to enjoy the
The most obvious is tuna salad. Everyone has a favorite
usually one you grew up with. Use your own canned tuna just
you would a commercial brand and then serve it on a green salad, in a
sandwich, on a crostini, in a pita, or open-faced with cheese broiled
on top. You will be delighted with the flavor and the texture.
like tuna/macaroni salads for summer suppers, and a favorite of mine
unites flavors from the sunny shores of the Mediterranean
After all, tuna is caught there too.
jar of home-canned tuna
box small pasta shells (Not only are they the appropriate shape for a
seafood salad but they also capture some of the small chopped pieces of
veggies and cheese.)
tablespoon plain Greek yogurt
tablespoon fresh feta cheese plus more for garnish
jar (6.5 ounce jar) roasted red peppers, chopped
jar (6.5 oz. jar) sun-dried tomatoes, chopped small
tablespoon artichoke hearts, chopped
teaspoon sun-dried garlic spread
tablespoon small pitted Greek, Provencal or Tunisian olives, chopped,
plus more for garnish
small onion, chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper. (I use Urfa pepper from
for a distinctive taste but any black pepper will do.)
also add about a teaspoon of a traditional Arabic spice mixture called
Ras el Hanout that I order online. It contains cardamom and
saffron, among other exotic spices. But the dish is just as
without it. Dried oregano pairs nicely with the fish, the
and the other Mediterranean ingredients.
shells according to package directions but not too long. You
them to be somewhat firm, so taste one before you think they are done
cooking. Drain and immediately cool.
the tuna and place in large bowl. Lightly break up chunks
fork, not too small. Add cooked, cooled shells.
about the cooking liquid that will cling to the shells. It
the other ingredients to adhere to the pasta.
in the yogurt and feta to get a creamy texture. Add other
ingredients. Taste and adjust. Sprinkle on the
olives and feta cheese just before serving.
in fridge until ready to serve. This is a good picnic dish
it is all in one - fish, pasta, and veggies.
easy but elegant summer dish is Italian tuna and cannellini (white
beans) salad. Just a few ingredients are added so the tuna
shines. That is why home canned tuna is best. It is
appetizer and also a light main course dish for hot days.
TUNA AND CANNELLINI
jar home-canned tuna
cans cannellini (white beans)
garlic bread crumbs
extra-virgin olive oil
salt and fresh ground black pepper
cut herbs. Use what you have, but it is really good with fresh
marjoram, oregano, or sage.
bread crumbs from garlic bread by crumbling the cooked bread and then
drying on a baking sheet in a low oven until firm.
the tuna and drain and rinse the beans and arrange atop lettuce leaves
on a platter.
slice rounds of red onion and place on top of tuna and beans.
with bread crumbs, salt and pepper, and chopped fresh herbs and dribble
olive oil over all.
that the recipes can use freshly cooked tuna too. Simply
and boil. Or you can grill or sear tuna fish and it will
complement the recipes very well.
you cannot get out to the Gulf Stream to catch tuna yourself, ask for
it in the local seafood markets here on the islands where it will be
fresh and caught locally. Otherwise you might as well eat the
Foster lives in Hatteras village with her husband, Ernie. Together they
operate The Albatross Fleet of charter boats. They actively support the
sustainable practices of the island’s commercial fishermen and the
preservation of Hatteras Island’s working waterfront. Both
to cook seafood and entertain friends, and Lynne loves to experiment
with recipes for locally caught seafood.)