Michigan State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600798


     The  quality  of  the preserved fish  begins  with  the
handling  of the fish when caught.   Handle fish  carefully;
they bruise easily.  Keep fish out of the sun.  Clean, dress
and  wash  fish  immediately;  then pack  them  in  ice,  or
refrigerate   them   as   soon  as   possible   to   prevent
deterioration.  Use within 1 to 2 days.                     

     Follow  these basic steps for  cleaning,  dressing  and
steaking fish.                                              
     1.  Wash fish.  Use clean, drinking-quality water.     
     2.  Scale  or  skin  as  required.   Remove  scales  by
scraping  with  dull  edge of a knife from the tail  to  the
head.   If you skin the fish,  it is not necessary to  scale
it.   To  skin,  split  the skin down the back,  and  loosen
around  the fins.   Use pliers to remove the  skin,  pulling
from head to tail.                                          
     3.  Cut  entire  length  of belly from  vent  to  head.
Remove viscera and gills if the head is not to be           
     4.  To remove the head (if desired) cut to the backbone
above  the collarbone.   Break the backbone over edge  of  a
table or cutting board, then cut any tissue holding the head
to the body.                                                
     5. Remove dorsal (large back) fin by cutting along each
side and pulling the fin and attached bones out.  Never trim
off  fins because the bones at the base of the fins will  be
left in the fish.                                           
     6.  Wash fish thoroughly in cold running water.        
     7.  Large fish  may  be  steaked.   To  steak, cut fish
crosswise into portions about 1 inch thick.                 

     Fish   may  be  filleted  without  first  removing  the
viscera.   With a sharp knife, cut down the back of the fish
from the tail to the head.   Then cut down to the  backbone.
Angle  the  knife to cut away the flesh from  the  backbone,
allowing the knife to run over the rib bones.   Lift off the
side piece,  freeing the fillet at the tail.   Turn the fish
over,  and cut the fillet from the other side.   If you wish
to  skin  the  fillet,  lay it skin-side down on  a  cutting
board.  Hold the tail end with your fingers, and cut through
the  flesh away from it by running the knife  forward  while
holding  the  free  end  of the  skin  firmly  between  your

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