Q. What is the best way to preserve proteins like seafood?
Helen G. Morro Bay
A. This time of year, with the long days and warm weather, I am reminded of camping in the mountains. One of my favorite memories is the time we canned trout at our friends’ camp in the Sierras.
The oily, tender trout meat and skin, perfectly salted, crunchy soft bones loaded with calcium, is hands-down the most delicious canned preserved protein you will eat.
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The camp’s outdoor kitchen consisted of an outdoor gas cook stove, a pressure canner, and a big pot of boiling water. The ice chest was loaded with cleaned and cut trout, ready to be filled into clean jars. Once filled with trout and salt, the jars were carefully loaded into the pressure canner. It made sense to can fish this way, outside in the open mountain air.
At camp high in the Sierras or in your own kitchen, the only way to safely preserve proteins — such as fish, shellfish, meat, game, poultry, vegetables and beans — is with a research-tested recipe and a pressure canner. Proteins are low acid foods with a pH of 4.6 or higher, and susceptible to bacterial growth.
Many bacteria in foods are destroyed by boiling at 212 fahrenheit; however, some bacteria like Clostridium botulinum can only be destroyed when the temperature in the pressure canner reaches at least 240 fahrenheit.
When canning proteins, the temperature of the canner needs to be kept consistent during the entire required processing time. Processing times will vary depending on the food and the size of the jar. When canning at high altitudes such as the Sierras, canner pressures must be increased in accordance with tested recipes. Be sure you follow your recipe exactly.
To learn how to safely and deliciously preserve your next catch and other protein containing foods, check out the Master Food Preservers “Preserving Proteins” workshop from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 24, at the UCCE auditorium at 2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo. You’ll learn how to preserve seafood, meat and soups. Master Food Preservers will also teach how to make jerky and how to freeze meat and seafood to preserve quality.
There will be a $5 to cover supplies. You must register online at: http://ucanr.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=19937
Rosemary Orr is a UCCE Master Food Preserver.
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