Canning fish

If I can my fish in a pressure cooker as directed will the bones become digestible like canned salmon so I can make fish cakes from them? We grow tilapia in a stock tank in our back yard so we have so many fish that we need some new ways to prepare them. Thank you for all the help you have been in teaching me to can our food. It is just too bad that it took me until I was 70 years old to learn all these neat things that you write about. It has been fun and my husband and I enjoy your Growing and Canning Your Own Food book and your Pantry cookbook. I just wish we had known you sooner. If you are ever around Phoenix Arizona give us a call. We have a 2 bedroom guest house if you would like to spend some time in the area.

Ida Newsom
Gilbert, Arizona

Usually fish bones will become soft when pressure canned with the meat, just like store-bought salmon. Some larger fish such as tuna have larger bones that don’t get as soft and must be removed before canning. I’m so glad you’re canning. And like Dad used to say, “Better late than never!” He was still learning new skills at 90. Thank you very much for the invitation. Maybe one day we’ll meet and I’ll take you up on it! I’d love to come down for the Festival of the West some year soon. — Jackie

Making cheese

I raise registered Nubian goats and have made cheese (soft and hard) (also had a separator before the fire and made a lot of butter) in the past. Can’t manage to get any of it to melt like store bought cheese melts, however. I have used mainly the book “Goats Produce Too” in the past. Any suggestions? I’ve tried to can some and yuck…it still won’t melt. Is melting of Mozzarella, cheddars, and so forth just something that we have become used to thanks to the big producers? I have enough canned milk. I am over run with kefir (even strained kefir to soft cheese point, frozen to then make hard cheese…sigh…). I need to consider making cheese again before it gets hot (we have no A/C and are in Texas — triple digits are coming too soon).

Also…For folks wanting to raise two types of the same family of squash: They should consider getting the book “Seed to Seed“. This book explains methods of raising pure seed including hand pollinating; which can be a decent idea if neighbors also have gardens.

Also…You have recommended Seed Savers. Seed Savers also has a WONDERFUL membership that includes a WONDERFUL book each year of folks that exchange seeds. This one source alone can be a wonderful educational tool as to what squash is of what family/species. This is my Sears catalog each year!


For a quick mozzarella that melts wonderfully, use the cottage cheese recipe on page 48 of Goats Produce Too except that once finally drained and salted, put it in a saucepan over low heat, and melt, stirring as you go. It gets stretchy. Work out the whey by stretching, then just put it into your hands and make a ball. Done! We really love this and it’s so much faster than regular mozzarella. I’ve never had any trouble with the cheddar and Colby melting. How about your soft cheeses like French Chevre? I use it just like cream cheese and we use it a lot. I’d just give it another go. Try different recipes; it’s like cooking, what works best for someone doesn’t do the job for others. Cheesemaking is a developed art, a skill, and sometimes it just takes time to get “right.” Hang in there!

Thanks for the tips for readers. (I didn’t mention hand pollinating because it can get confusing, but it does work and I’ve used it to raise several varieties of squash in the same garden without cross pollinating.) — Jackie