Dried fish fell in love with many people for its dense texture and relative ease of preparation. Experienced housewives prefer to handle the carcass in such a way as to increase the duration of storage. It is known that store products are crammed with stabilizers and preservatives, so it can hardly be called completely natural. It makes sense to consider the procedure of drying fish at home, which we will talk about today. This business has its own peculiarities regarding the choice of raw materials and its preparation for further manipulations.
The right choice of fish for drying
Many housewives are faced with the question: "What fish to choose?", And this is not surprising. The variety of varieties is impressive, but not all are suitable for processing in this way.
- Fans of dried product argue that you can use both fresh and frozen raw materials. In this case, the latter option is suitable only after complete thawing at room temperature.
- Experienced housewives brought their own varieties of fish, the most suitable for drying in the home. These include Argentina, capelin, crucian carp (sea), perch, halibut, flounder, herring, sprat, sprat, sardine, mackerel, slab, sprat, horse mackerel, croaker.
- Other varieties such as hake, roach, ram, carp, bream, roach, sabrefish, shemai, ide, chub, sop, etc. will be suitable. However, these types of fish will not fully convey the taste of the dried product.
- It is important to remember forever that of all the names mentioned, special attention is paid to sardines, herrings, flounder, horse mackerel, sprat, halibut and herring. They cannot be harvested in large quantities, since the consistency itself quickly disappears. The listed varieties after processing are stored for about 3 weeks in the refrigerator and not longer than 4 days at room temperature. At the same time, other breeds are stored up to six months in the refrigerator and about 3 months at room temperature.
- If we talk about the weight category, the weight of the carcass should not exceed the mark of 1 kg. It is important to assess the smell of fish, the product should not smell like antibiotics, oil or other harmful substances. Assess the walls of the belly, they should not go inward (after pressing the body of the fresh carcass returns to its original position).
Preparing fish for drying
- A distinctive feature of cooking fish using this technology is that the carcass is not required to be cleaned or gutted. The main thing is to choose a fresh, suitable in size catch, then pickle and dry it properly.
- In the process of drying the pulp absorbs fatty tissue, which is located under the scales. This move gives the finished product a soft and pleasant aftertaste. Many are interested in the question of whether there are differences between the technology of curing in the summer and winter. There are no serious aspects, but there are basic features.
- In the summer it is recommended to monitor the sanitation and to prevent the ingress of insects into the carcass cavity. In the warm season, experienced housewives prefer to gut fish, so that the open belly could be clearly seen. Also in summer, the fish feed on algae, which gives bitter bitterness to the final product.
- To prepare the fish for drying in the summer, make a solution of table vinegar and water (ratio 1: 5). Gut the carcass, rinse it under the tap (cold water), leave to soak for a quarter of an hour. Allow time for the fluid to flow. In winter, it is not necessary to butcher the raw materials, it is enough to wash the fish and dry with paper towels.
- To ensure a uniform brine of the carcass of a large carcass, cut it along the ridge and flatten it into one plane. Some housewives prefer to chop fish with steaks, it all depends on personal preference.
Fish drying technology
The cooking process is not particularly difficult and includes the main steps. The first step is salting and soaking the fish, then the carcass is dried in a place with good circulation and relative humidity. Consider each step in more detail, we select the main thing.
Stage number 1. Salting fish
Recipe 1. Rinse the carcass thoroughly with water, transfer to a platter and put in the cold for 2 hours. After the expiration date, prepare deep tare, lay the carcasses in one row, evenly distributing the fish along the bottom of the tank. Powder raw materials with copious amounts of salt. To make the final product tasty and rich, you cannot save on salt.
Following the first row of fish comes second, the manipulations are repeated until all the container is filled with salted carcasses. Leave the container at room temperature until juice appears.
Many believe that an excessive amount of salt will adversely affect the result, but this statement is extremely erroneous. The main failure of novice housewives lies in the fact that they add a little salt. In this case, the dish is tasteless.
After a certain period of time you will notice that the fish gave the juice. This feature characterizes the beginning of salting. After that, move the container in the refrigerator for 5-6 days.
Recipe 2. There is another recipe for pre-salting in liquid. To do this, wash the carcasses, dry them with paper napkins / towels, rub each fish with a large amount of salt.
Put the raw material in a deep container, fill it with a solution of room temperature, put it under a press. To prepare the brine, mix 120 gr. salt and 480 ml. filtered water, bring to dissolve the crystals.
Determining a sufficient amount of salt is simple: remove one carcass, send it to a container with fresh water. If the fish has surfaced, proceed to the following manipulations.
(drying). In cases where the product sinks, it contains too much salt. Soak the raw materials in ordinary water until the extra ingredient is “washed”.
Stage number 2. Curing process
- First, prepare the necessary inventory. You will need a strong thread (twine), fish will be strung on it. Wooden boxes and gauze will be required, which will prevent insects from entering and provide air flow.
- After salting, lay the carcasses on parchment paper or album sheets for partial drying. Next, proceed to stringing, armed with a needle and thread. Pass the gypsy needle through the eye holes of the fish, directing the backs of the carcasses to one side.
- It is important to string the "raw material" in such a way that the bodies do not touch each other. If we talk about the number of carcasses on a bundle, it should not exceed the mark of 15 heads (small samples). With regards to larger specimens, their number is usually 5-6 pieces.
- Proper drying of fish is carried out in the open air (in summer) and in the kitchen (in winter). The box is required for drying carcasses in the warm season, you can put it on the loggia or balcony, covering the fish with gauze. If it is cold outside, hang the bundles near a gas or electric stove.
- The duration of the procedure varies depending on the size of the carcasses. For cooking big fish you need about 3-4 weeks. In the case of small specimens, the drying process takes 15-20 days.
- The appearance of the product will tell you about the readiness of the product. There should be no salt residues on the surface of the carcass, with the fat protruding out. Also, the "come down" carcass has no dry areas of meat, its skeleton is peeped out with a day lamp.
- If the fish meets the above requirements, remove it from the string and wrap with parchment paper. Send to the bottom shelf of the refrigerator for final maturation. The duration of exposure in this case is 20 days.
- The most delicious are those species of fish that have a wide layer of fat. For this reason, it is recommended to carry out a careful selection before starting to dry.
- To eliminate the unpleasant smell of silt immediately after catching, put all carcasses in a deep bucket or container. Put inside the fresh branches of nettle, leave for 30-45 minutes in a cool place.
- In the process of gutting large individuals, remove only the gills and intestines, leave everything else unchanged. As mentioned earlier, actions are held in the summer or at will in the winter.
- If drying is carried out in the warm season, vegetable oil will help scare away insects. Lubricate the surface of the carcass with it and leave until completely absorbed. The vinegar solution (100 ml. Of the composition for 1.3 liters of drinking water) acts in a similar way.
- The optimum level of humidity is considered to be in the range of 70-80%. At the same time, choose a dark room for drying fish with sufficient air circulation.
- Wasps and flies fly only to fresh, recently hung fish for drying. To avoid such consequences, send the twigs with carcasses to the balcony late in the evening, by morning the composition will grab with a crust.
- To carry out accelerated drying, open the belly of the carcass, gut the fish. Secure it in the open state with matches (remove the heads beforehand) or with toothpicks.
The process of drying fish at home has a number of features that are important to consider. Choose a carcass with a large fat layer under the scales. In the summertime, dry the product under gauze by smearing the surface with vegetable oil or vinegar. Consider dry and wet methods of pre-salting, choose a suitable option for yourself.