Michigan State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600590
1. Cut off head and thin belly flesh to the vent. Clean thoroughly. Wash in fresh water and drain.
2. Pack drained fish loosely in a crock. Cover fish with a brine made of 2 1/2 cups salt, 2 quarts white vinegar (5% acidity) and 2 quarts water. Refrigerate fish in brine.
3. Leave fish in brine until the salt has "struck through", but remove before fish skin wrinkles or loses color. The length of the cure depends on the judgment of the pickler and varies with temperature and size of the fish. The average time is 5 days, but can vary from 3 to 7 days.
4. When you judge the fish sufficiently cured, drain off the brine.
5. Repack the fish more tightly, scattering a bit of dry salt among them. Cover with a brine made of 1 1/4 cups salt, 2 quarts vinegar and 2 quarts water.
6. Store the crock in refrigerator. At this point the fish will keep 2 to 3 weeks.
7. To use fish, freshen in cold water in the refrigerator for 8 hours. Some cooks use the fish at this stage.
8. Others prefer to soak the fish one last time in vinegar and salt. Use 2 quarts vinegar, 2 quarts water and 3/4 cup salt. Let fish soak 48 hours; then drain and use in Cut Spiced Herring or Rollmops.