Michigan State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600581
Salting is an ancient procedure for preserving fish that was introduced to the Great Lakes area by northern European immigrants. Salted fish was commonly consumed by travelers and during the summer.
Salt preserves fish by removing water from the flesh and tying up the remaining water so that spoilage organisms cannot use it for growth. If enough salt is used, the fish may keep for as long as a year in a cool, dry place. Salting is one way to store fish until you are ready to smoke or pickle them.
If you are salting less than 50 pounds of fish, you will need no special equipment, just a sharp knife and a 2- to 4-gallon nonmetal container- a stone crock, wooden or food-grade plastic tub with a lid.
Salt should be pure and clean. Iodized table salt is not recommended. Use a high-purity pickling or canning salt available at many grocery stores.
Salt brine penetrates lean fish better than oily fish. Oily fish become rancid more readily than lean fish. However, oily fish can be excellent when salted.
The salting method is the same for all fish.