How to dry fish at home?
In this article we will talk about how to properly dry fish at home.
If you are a fishing enthusiast, but your catch no longer fits in the freezer, and your wife threatens to kick out of the house for “another batch of this slippery muck”, then it’s time to think about other ways to store your fishing trophies.
One of such methods is drying. This is not a difficult thing, if you get used to it, but a dried fish, but with a beer … mmm … Yummy, in a word.
So, how to dry fish at home? Firstly, it is worthwhile to figure out the size of the fish. It should not be too large or vice versa too small species. That is, a giant pike for ten kilograms or a tiny roach with a little finger length will not work. Try to choose medium-sized individuals, not too fatty, because then we will have to salt our fish. And the thicker and fatter the fish meat, the more salt will have to be consumed, which is fraught with excessiveness and loss of the main taste.
But let’s not talk about sad things. So, we have chosen enough fish for salting. This can be pilaf, roach, carp, ram, ruff and so on. Remember the main condition – the weight of the fish should not exceed one kilogram.
After careful selection, the fish is gutted and cleaned. In this case, you should never clean the scales, since this will lead to excessively quick drying and spoil all the results of your work. Large fish is cut from the back, in its fattest part – this allows to improve the drying process. Small fish, on the contrary, is usually cleaned from the side of the abdomen, which prevents too much drying and allows you to keep the taste. In this case, try to carefully remove all the insides – the intestines and mucus, otherwise later it will give the fish a bitter taste.
Next, we need a lot of coarse salt to draw excess fluid from the fish. To do this, we need a cool dark room (or at least a balcony in mild weather), a large tub or pan, and also something that can serve as a press – for example, a heavy kettlebell, a couple of dumbbells or medium-sized boulders. The method of salting is completely simple and straightforward: pour a thin layer of salt into the tub, spread a layer of fish tightly on top, then again a thin layer of salt, then again a layer of fish … and so on. The most important thing here is to strictly dose the amount of salt for each layer: it should evenly and tightly cover the layer of fish, but not lie in a heap. Overdo it – and your fish will turn out to be terribly salted, so do not take it into your mouth. Put less salt than necessary – and the fish may rot or simply poorly salted. So trust your instincts and sprinkle “by eye” should nevertheless be careful.
Do not be alarmed when a strange-looking liquid appears a few hours after placing the fish in the pan. This is a kind of fish pickle. It is not necessary to drain it, it will help the fish to salt better and will not allow it to dry out too much during further drying.
For experts in the field of salting fish, you can offer another option using, in addition to one salt, various spices – bay leaves, pepper, a little sugar, peppercorns and so on. Here it all depends on your own imagination, taste and art of the salting man. Beginners, however, are recommended, for starters, to try the simplest option – with ordinary coarse salt.
The number of days for salting is also selected “by eye”. It depends, again, on your taste preferences, as well as on the microclimate of the place where the pickling takes place. But, in general, it is possible to determine the degree of readiness of the fish by its appearance – it should be dense, dark gray in color from the back, rather solid (but not stone-hard!).
If, at the same time, excess salt is visible on the fish, it means that you still overdid it and oversalt it. However, do not despair – the further procedure is likely to help fix everything.
After the fish lay for a couple of days under oppression and carefully salted, the time comes for the next stage – washing and cleaning, as well as the drying itself. Prepare a lot of water and a 3% vinegar solution or sunflower oil (best if it is unrefined).
Before hanging the fish to dry, it should be thoroughly washed from the remnants of salt and mucus. Next, the fish is soaked. In fact, this process is the opposite of salting. Soaking, as a rule, takes as many days as salting. This allows you to remove excess salt from the fish and nourish it with liquid so that subsequently it does not lose its taste, turning into a sort of salty pieces of cardboard.
Readiness at this stage is also easily checked – this is evident from the fact that the fish surfaced from the bottom. After this, it is necessary to thoroughly wipe each carcass with gauze or a clean kitchen towel and hang it on the final drying.
If the place of drying is in the open air, then it is worth protecting the fish from flies. So that the larvae would not start in fish meat, treat it with stored vinegar or oil. In this case, you do not need to lubricate or moisten too thickly with these…