Last week one day after work I went out with Mike and Joe and set a net in front of the Buskin. Right away we caught some salmon, but then lots of other people set their nets all around us (we got 'corked') and the fishing slowed. We used the whaler to set the net and then waited and watched the net from Mike's boat with a cabin. Dawson joined us and we waited and waited. But waiting on Mike's boat with good company was sort of like going to a cocktail party. And we caught enough fish to justify the trip from a 'feeding the family' standpoint. We ended up with 9 fish but 7 of them were caught in the fist 1/2 hour.
Back home we canned up the red salmon and the 6 fish we canned was almost the perfect amount. I just about filled 2 canners with 1/2 pint jars. Mike had lightly smoked 3 of the fish. So one canner was lightly smoked while the other was plain. We ended up with 40 jars or 20 pounds of finished product.
Our family LOVES canned salmon. We used to freeze a lot of salmon but find we prefer canned salmon. These days we either eat our salmon fresh or can it.
I think canned salmon gets a bit of a bad reputation because generally the stuff you buy or that many people make is terrible. Who wants the skin and bones in with their salmon? Yuck! it looks and tastes like catfood. Or worse yet there are the people who can poor quality fish. They figure the quality does not matter if it is getting canned and will can fish that has been in the freezer for 1/2 a year, or fish that was not properly bled out or iced.
Mike and I have done some experiments and have noticed that fish that has already been frozen cans up 'dry' while fish that was not bled or iced well tastes and smells 'fishy' in the can. The skin and bones is a more controversial subject. There are many locals who swear by the skin and bones - makes it taste better and far healthier they say. Mike and I have done side-by-side comparisons of fish canned with skin and without and also with and without the bones. The bones do not make any difference flavor wise - but do make a difference in texture.
But the big difference is between salmon canned with the skin on versus without. The skin definitely imparts a strong fishy taste and smell. However, we found that if you scaled and slimed the salmon first and then canned it that there was no bad smell or taste. So if you want to leave the skin on - then scale and slime it first.
Mike and I generally can our fish without the skin or bones. And our families LOVE it.
Also I am convinced that if commercial salmon was all canned without the skin and bones it would be far, far more popular than canned tuna fish. But that is a story for another blog post.