Redawna’s Smoked Canned Whitefish

Editor’s Note:

We are in for a treat treat this week!  We have renowned cookbook author, food blogger, champion gingerbread house maker, and photographer Redawna guest blogging.  To learn more about Redawna and experience her wonderful recipes and photographs visit her blog at

Redawna is giving us a peek at her version of a family favorite which she has taken to the next level.  I for one have never had the nerve to try canning, and I know it requires skills and sterile techniques that may be beyond the skills of the new cook (me included) so I’m going to savor this dish from the safety of the wonderfully written recipe and gorgeous pictures. This post is a gem.

Redawna’s Smoked Canned Whitefish

Living in Northern Alberta we enjoy fresh fish often. I grew up eating smoked whitefish from my Grandfather, it was a treat anytime he brought it around. We would gather around the table and feast until all that was left was a pile of skin and bones. I am not sure where he got it, but you never forget the taste. The perfect amount of salt and smoke, it broke apart into perfect tender flakes.

smoked fish

smoked fish

Food has been my passion for many years and naturally I learnt how to smoke all sorts of meat, fish and seafood.  And to take that one step further I have begun to can my smoked fish.

Freezing smoked fish is a great option but for fresh long time storage canning it is the way to go. When it comes to canning fish, a pressure cooker is required. It was not a tool in my kitchen until recently but I have come to love the possibilities it offers.

The first thing you do when smoking fish is place it in a brine. Not only does it flavor the fish it adds that very important moisture.

white fish.

I have experimented with many different brines.  This is one I really love to use with fish.


3 1/2 quarts of water

1/4 cup of soya sauce

1 1/2 cups of brown sugar

1 1/2 cups of coarse salt

2 tablespoons of onion powder

1/2 cup of white sugar

8 cloves of garlic, minced

Combine all of the brine ingredients in a large pot over medium heat.

Simmer and stir until all sugar and salt is dissolved.

Remove from heat and allow to cool.


Place the whitefish, with skin on, scales removed, into a large container with a lid. Add the cooled brine and place into the fridge overnight. I usually brine fish for 18 hours. I do as many fish as my smoker will fit.

Remove the fish from the brine and rinse under cool running water. Pat dry.


Place the fish onto the racks from the smoker, skin side down. Be sure to  spray the racks well before with a non stick spray.

I lightly sprinkled the fillets with a touch of brown sugar. This is optional. I love the addition of sweetness to my canned smoked fish for a nice change.

For smoking a thin fish like the whitefish I did not use the liquid tray in the smoker. When I smoke something thicker like a salmon, I will use the liquid tray as it requires a longer smoke and I want to be sure to keep the fish moist.

smoked fish

It was a quick smoke at only 30 minutes.

While the fish is smoking prepare all your jars as you would for regular canning practices. Wash them in hot soapy water , rinse then place them in hot water to keep the jars nice and warm.

Place fresh lids and the screw bands into a pot on the stove top and keep at a low simmer.

You can also use this time to prep your pressure cooker. I have a 22 litre model which for canning fish requires 4 quarts of water.

Cut the smoked fish into smaller pieces and place into hot jars. For an additional hit of sweetness I like to add a tablespoon of white corn syrup and a drizzle on canola oil over the top of the fish. As an experiment I added a sweet hot sauce to 3 of the jars. You never know when you will stumble across something fabulous so experimentation is key.

Filling jars with smoked whitefish

Filling jars with smoked whitefish

With a clean hot cloth wipe the rims of all the jars and add the lids and screw rings until finger tight.

Place all the jars into the pressure cooker. Add the second level tray if needed.

Loading up the pressure cooker

Loading up the pressure cooker

Secure the lid and place the cooker over high heat.

You want the pressure cooker to get fully pressurized. Once that happens and the cooker begins to let off a steady stream of steam,  start timing for 10 minutes. This is a very important step, do not skip.

Once the 10 minutes has passed add the 10 pound weight and maintain the cooker just under 10 psi for 110 minutes.

After 110 minutes remove the canner off the heat and allow to cool for 1 hour before removing the lid of the pressure cooker.

Remove all jars and allow to cool completely.

Finished Whitefish

Finished Whitefish

You can open a jar and enjoy it immediately.

Good Eating and Table Talk,



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