Michigan State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600484


  Pickling preserves fish for shorter periods than freezing,
salting or canning.                                         

  Vinegar  slows  the  growth of  spoilage  bacteria,  gives
flavor  and  softens  bones.  Vinegar, however,  is  only  a
temporary  preservative,  because enzymes continue  to  act,
softening and spoiling the product.                         

  The acetic acid content of the vinegar is  important.  Use
vinegar  containing  five  percent  acetic acid.   The final
pickling  solution  should  contain  at least 2  1/2 percent
acetic acid, no less than  one  part vinegar  for each  part
water.  If the taste of  vinegar  in  the  pickling solution
is too strong, offset it with more sugar  rather than dilute
it with water.                                              

  Pickled   fish  must  be  refrigerated.    When   properly
preserved,  they should keep for 4 to 6 weeks at 40  degrees

Basic Brining Procedure                                     
  1. Clean fish thoroughly and cut into serving size pieces.

  2.   Soak  fish in weak brine made of 1 cup salt  to  each
gallon cold water for 1 hour.  Drain.                       

  3.   Make saturated brine with 4 cups salt to each  gallon
cold  water.  Soak fish in saturated brine for 12 hours in a
refrigerator.  Soak small fish like smelt for four hours.   

  4.  Rinse fish in fresh water.                            

  Dry salted fish are also suitable  for pickling.   Freshen
salted  fish  for   several  hours  in  cold   water   in  a
refrigerator.  Then  follow  the  recipes  for  cooking  and

PICKLED FISH                                                

Prepare fish as in  the  Basic  Brining Procedure.  Continue
with the following directions.                              

10 lb. fish (brined and cut)   1 clove garlic, crushed      
5 cups water                      (optional)                
2 qt. vinegar                  1 oz. white pepper           
1/2 lb. sliced onions             (optional)                
2 oz. mixed pickling spices     Crushed red pepper          
                                (optional and to taste)     
 1.   In   large kettle, bring to a  boil  water,  vinegar, 
onions and spices.                                          

  2.   Add fish and simmer for 10 minutes or until  fish  is
easily pierced with a fork.                                 

  3.   Remove fish from liquid and spread in a single  layer
in a shallow pan.  Refrigerate for rapid cooling.           

  4.   Pack cold fish loosely in clean glass jars.          

  5.  Add onion slices, lemon and bay leaves if desired.    

  6.  Strain the vinegar solution, bring to a boil, and pour
into jars to cover the fish.                                

  7.  Seal immediately.                                     

  8.  Store in the refrigerator.  Use within 6 weeks.       

  This  recipe makes 6 to 8 quarts of pickled fish.   It  is
suitable for all kinds of freshwater fish, especially  carp,
herring, smelt and mullet (sucker).                         

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