Salting and drying are the two oldest methods of preserving food. Salting fish removes moisture, thereby reducing the chance of bacteria multiplying and preserving it for longer. Cod is a popular fish for drying and salting, as it is the base of many recipes such as Spanish salt cod fritters, Portuguese salt cod stew and Caribbean ackee with salt cod.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- 1 gallon container
- Wooden rack
Remove the head, gills, tail and guts from the cod if the fishmonger hasn't already done so.
Rinse the fish in water.
Place cod in a container with a gallon of water and 1 cup of salt. Leave for 30 minutes.
Take fish out of the container, drain and rinse in water again. Cover the fish in plenty of salt, be generous as this is what will preserve it. There should be no open spaces as the cod should be entirely covered. Press salt into the flesh so that it sticks.
Put the cod on wooden racks. The racks should be outside, in a dry area sheltered from direct sunlight. Avoid areas where flies may gather, such as near a pond. You can put them inside the house at night if you're concerned about animals entering your garden and eating the fish. Alternatively, you may use a table, but it must have either wire or wood pieces on the top with spaces in between so that the fish can hang from them.
Press down on the flesh of the cod each day to speed up drying. It should take around five days for the fish to dry. The larger the cod pieces, the longer it will take for them to dry. You will know it's ready when the flesh doesn't spring back after touching it.
Tips and warnings
- Always use very fresh cod.
- Make sure you clean any surfaces that have come into contact with raw fish.
- When rinsing and salting the cod, try to work quickly to prevent the fish going off.
- Soak the cod in water overnight before cooking.
- Always use wooden racks and not metal ones, as these can corrode, and the quality of the fish will deteriorate.
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