Ingredients and Equipment:
Fresh suckers caught on their spawning run in Spring
Vinegar, smoke flavor, spices (all optional)
Jars - 250 ml (1/2 pint) salmon jars; or pint sealers
"Snap" lids and rings
Fish may be used whole - cleaned and scaled with all the bones intact. This method uses slices or steaks of the fish and looks attractive with the skin on. Good for fish like salmon, trout and charr where scaling is easy. When scaling is more difficult, like for suckers, I usually remove the skin. Ribs can be left in or removed. I usually remove them. Either way, processing will soften all the bones left in the fish.
Pack the fish tightly into the jars, leaving 1/8" gap below the lid. For every 250ml jar I add 1/2 tsp salt and often 1/2 tsp vinegar. Other flavorings can be added as desired.
Place the lids on the jars and fasten the ring only enough to hold the lids in place. DO NOT TIGHTEN. There must be an escape route for the gases that will be released.Canning Procedure
Place the jars into hot water to about 1/2 their height. This can be done in the canner. Heat the water to a gentle boil, and continue heating until the meat in the jar reaches 170°F (77°C). This is necessary to drive out all dissolved gases. This will take 10-20 mins. Immediately tighten the lids, and place in the pressure canner if heated in another pot. Process according to the canner's instructions. I usually process at 15 lbs pressure for at least 90 mins, or at 10 lbs for 1 hour and 50 mins. When processing is done, let the jars cool, and make sure they "snap". Any that don't should be refrigerated and eaten shortly.
Pretty well any fish can be canned this way, but I've done a lot of suckers over the years, and I'll be out this spring looking for the runs into small creeks and ditches.
Added to post - April 25, 2006:
Here are a few shots of the canning I did after catching 12 medium size suckers. They gave 13 - 1/2 pt jars plus a feed of fish patties for 4 people. The fillets were packed tight into the jars, salt only was added, and they were processed for 100 minutes. This size of canner is big, and holds 24 - 1/2 pt (250 ml) jars, so it was just 1/2 full. Next year I'll aim at getting at least 20 suckers. The last step is to label the jars. They should keep for at least a year in my basement cupboard.