Slow Food Seattle Albacore Canning Day with Jeremy Brown

Tuna canning guru and Washington fisherman, Jeremy Brown

Tuna canning guru and Washington fisherman, Jeremy Brown.

In the spirit of Terra Madre Day, over fifty Slow Food Seattle members and community supporters came together on November 28th for a day-long fish canning workshop called – “Time to Tin a Tuna!” – taught by Jeremy Brown, a Bellingham-based commercial fisherman and longtime proponent of Slow Food.

Wild Pacific Albacore has been in the news for all the right reasons – topping the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Super Green List and on National Public Radio in a feature on the growth of micro-canneries in the Pacific Northwest.

Though you can find canned albacore tuna at your local food co-ops or fish markets in many communities, this was an opportunity to learn firsthand with someone well-versed in the process and safety considerations of using pressure cookers. At the end of the day, attendees left with both with the pride of supporting a local fisherman and a good stock of Wild Pacific Albacore to last through the long northwest winter. In past years, Jeremy had done these canning days in the coastal town of Port Townsend, Washington with Amy Grondin, a Slow Food Seattle board member and Port Townsend resident. This was the first time collaborating directly with Slow Food Seattle.

Volunteers washed, trimmed, and cut the tuna into chunks for canning.

Volunteers washed, trimmed, and cut the tuna into chunks for canning.

We were at maximum capacity a matter of days after announcing the event. We were able to use a commercial kitchen space donated by Gourmondo, a local catering company and Jeremy arrived with everything we needed to preserve our own delicious and nutritious, locally caught albacore tuna to see us through until the 2011 albacore fishing season.

The fish was pre-cut into steaks and with the help of a rotating assembly line of volunteers – we cleaned, trimmed, chopped, packed and processed a thousand pounds of albacore in eight hours!

The recipe was an old Breton family recipe Jeremy picked up while in France many years back – simple and delicious for anyone with a pressure canner and access to some great local fish:

  • Pack tuna cut into about 2-inch chunks into jars along with a pinch of salt (we used kosher salt and 12-ounce jars).
  • The secret ingredient that adds just the right level of sweetness is a slice of carrot.
  • Add extra-virgin olive oil about half-way filling the jars, wipe the rims, cover with the lids and process.

Slow Food Seattle made the round-up on Terra Madre Day on the Slow Food USA blog!

Wild Pacific Albacore Tuna

Wild Pacific Albacore Tuna

 

June Lee (bottom left), Philip Lee (top right), Amy Grondin (top center) skinning and cleaning albacore.

June Lee (bottom left), Philip Lee (top right), Amy Grondin (top center) skinning and cleaning albacore.

Tuna in jars, ready to be processed. The "secret" ingredient is a slice of carrot for sweetness.

Tuna in jars, ready to be processed. The "secret" ingredient is a slice of carrot for sweetness.

SFS board member, Patricia Eddy and her husband, John Eddy breaking down tuna steaks.

SFS board member, Patricia Eddy and her husband, John Eddy - both of cooklocal.com - breaking down tuna steaks.

Jars of tuna, waiting their turn for the pressure cooker.

Jars of tuna, waiting their turn for the pressure cooker.

Pressure cooker, letting off some steam. Tuna jars cooling in the background.

Pressure cooker, letting off some steam. Tuna jars cooling in the background.

Photos: Jennifer Johnson

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About Jennifer Johnson

Wander(lust) whenever possible, seek out all things delicious, foraging obsessed, write every now & then. Eat. Drink. Repeat. Fresh to East Coast via Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. Dig evangelizing for local food communities, chefs, farms, producers, and basically anything that brings people together - in the kitchen or around the table – to share a meal and good conversation. Prior to switching coasts, I worked in non-profit film & music orgs and co-chaired the Seattle chapter of Slow Food. My roots are in Minnesota where I swam in a good share of it's 10,000 lakes, spent humid summer nights catching fireflies, and raised Nubian goats and a clan of other creatures on a small family farm as a wee lass.

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