90 min plus 35 min in pressure canner
yields 8-9 pints
This makes 8 to 9 pints of strong fish stock. Halve the quantities to make about 2 quarts of stock, suitable for a single pot of chowder.
  • 4 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • 4 medium onions, approx 2 pounds, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 8 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 8 medium carrots, peeled, very thinly sliced
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 12-16 sprigs thyme, fresh
  • 8 pounds fish bones, heads, and trimmings (non-oily only), rinsed well
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 4 quarts very hot water
  • salt, kosher type

Melt the butter in a large 12-16 quart stockpot. Add the onions, celery, carrots, bay leaves, thyme, parsley and peppercorns, and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften without browning. This will take up to 10-15 minutes.

Place the fish frames evenly on top of the vegetables. Pour in the wine, cover the pot tightly, and let the bones sweat 15-20 minutes, until they have turned completely white.

Add the hot water, stir gently and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir once and let stand for 15 minutes.

Strain the stock through a fine sieve. Season lightly with salt. If you’re not going to can the stock immediately, cool and refrigerate. The stock will keep in the refrigerator up to 3 days, and may be frozen.

 

Directions for Pressure Canning

Like other non-acid foods, safe canning of fish stock requires a pressure canner. Check your jars carefully for any nicks – don’t use any flawed jars for canning. They must be clean but need not be sterile. If you’ll be starting with hot broth, use hot jars and hot water in the canner to begin: remember to match the temperatures and you won’t lose jars to thermal shock.

Prepare the lids per manufacturer directions. Have clean jar bands handy at room temperature. Fill the pressure canner to the proper level (usually marked on the inside.) I like to add about a tablespoon of white vinegar to this water, which keeps film from my jars once they’re canned. Heat the water, so that when the hot jars go in, the water is also hot.

Heat the fish stock just to a boil. Ladle hot stock into hot jars, leaving one inch headspace. Wipe rims, center hot lids on jars, and apply the bands. Tighten the bands only fingertip-tight: they shouldn’t be cranked on too hard.

Close the pressure canner, and follow instructions to process filled jars at 10 pounds pressure for 30 minutes (pints) or 35 minutes (quarts) – you may need to make adjustments for altitude. Once the time has ended, let the canner stand to cool and return to zero pounds pressure on its own. When it may be opened, remove jars to a towel-lined counter, and let them stand for 24 hours, then check the lids for proper seal. The lids should not flex up and down when the center is pressed.

Be sure to label the jars! I put up my fish stock in green jars, as seen in the photo above, besides labelling the lids. This way I am sure not to mistake them for any other kind of stock.

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2 Responses

  1. Hi! I was wondering why you don’t recommend using an oily fish. I’m an experienced canner, but this will be my first time canning fish stock. I have a bunch of steelhead parts (bones, heads, meat) that I had saved just for stock. Did I choose the wrong fish? Thank you!

    • I tend to prefer a milder fish for stock; I suppose it’s the New Englander heritage. I don’t think there will be any problem using steelhead. Let me know how it turns out!

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