Michigan State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600585


General Information                                         

     Pickling entails the use of vinegar,  salt and optional
spices  for  preservation.    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 ordinary vinegar containing 5 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 Fahrenheit. 


     To pickle fish, you will need:                         

     Fish-  Use only good quality fresh or salted fish      

     Soft water-  Hard water has too much iron, magnesium or
         calcium.  Use softened or filtered hard water.     

     Vinegar-  Vinegar  should  be  clear  without   foreign
         flavors or odors and have  a  guaranteed  5% acetic
         acid   content.   Distilled   white   vinegar    is
         recommended.   Cider  and   other  fruit   vinegars
         containing 5% acetic acid  may  be  used,  but  the
         fruit compounds may give the fish  off-flavors.    

     Salt-  Use  finely  ground canning and  pickling  salt.
            Table   salt   contains  iodine,   calcium   and
            magnesium  compounds which may give the  fish  a
            bitter flavor.                                  

     Sugar-  Table sugar is suitable.                       

     Spices-  Use only fresh, whole spices.                 

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