My kids *LOVE* to fish, especially my boy. He’ll wake up talking about it after dreaming about it at night. Can spend hours drooling down the fishing aisles at local sporting goods stores. Tells stories about it (he won a fishing derby when he was 6, and we are not to forget that he caught a 12″ largemouth bass in the trout pond!). Nothing can capture and hold his attention as well as a small hole drilled through deep ice and into which he pours his focus, willpower and sheer love of fish.
The result is that we fish rather frequently, and end up often catching our limit. When it’s decent weather (read that: the snow isn’t deep) outside, our favorite trout recipe is baked, wrapped in aluminum foil and sprinkled with salt/pepper/garlic powder brought along especially for the fish. Fish just out of the river or lake and eaten on an empty stomach with the smell of clear pine air as an appetizer is, simply, the best!
But we live in Montana. It isn’t always “A River Runs Through It” sunny and warm… come winter, we get alot of snow and ice. So… we ice fish in season. Which means we end up with freezer bags full of varying sizes of Brook and Rainbow trout, with occasional Brown and Goldens. And I just have to say it – thawing and then frying fish just loses alot in the process.
So today I emptied the freezer of six bags of fish, thawed them in cool water, cut off fins and heads (they were, of course, already cleaned out), and pressure-canned some fish.
It’s a simple process, really. Clean and rinse them well. Cut into 2″ size pieces (or so). Pack tightly into pint jars (this is the preferred size as quart jars are no longer “approved” by Ball’s Blue Book. So there you have it.). Add 1 teaspoon canning or sea salt, no liquid is necessary. Affix warm lids with rings, process in a pressure canner at recommended pressure for your altitude (here at 3500+ feet, that’s 15#) for an hour and forty minutes. Make sure before you begin the process that your hot water is up to the rings on your jars, as otherwise it could boil dry, something we’d prefer to avoid! Don’t forget to vent for 10 minutes before attaching your weight. Let the canner cool on its own until the seal lock drops, then remove jars from canner promptly and let them sit in a draft-free area to cool before moving them.
Beautiful, local, organic, non-GMO, kid-caught, omega-3 rich TROUT!
These jars will be ready to make a quick meal – trout patties, trout loaf, trout and (gluten-free) pasta, trout salad… and every bite will reinforce the love of fishing to two great, outdoors-oriented kids who are proud to be doing their part to feed our family.