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Jaret’s pickling recipe for fresh water fish (trout, pike, whitefish etc.)

There are many recipes out there but if you want to avoid botulism and parasites please follow this one. In order to kill parasites (tapeworms) in fresh water fish you must freeze the fish for a minimum of 48 hours, or cook the fish.

This recipe calls for uncooked fish. If you do this recipe with cooked fish, it will turn to mush. Do not use metallic containers in any steps, use glass or plastic for storage. Use a stainless steel pot for boiling. Remember, this is a pickling recipe, not a canning recipe, and the jars do not have to seal for this recipe to work. But they must remain in the refrigerator.

Fresh water fish (lake trout, pickerel, northern pike, whitefish etc.)
white vinegar
non-iodized pickling salt
white sugar
pickling salt
white onion
bottled water

Fillet fish, remove skin, remove belly fat and bones. No need to remove Y bones as the process will soften them. Cut into bite size pieces. Make brine using pickling salt which is not iodized. Using bottled water, mix 1 cup of salt to 3 to 4 cups of water. Stir and wait until salt dissolves. Cool the brine to room temperature. Place fish in the salt water brine, cover, and soak in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Strain fish from water, do not rinse. Place the fish in a non-metallic container, cover with straight vinegar, cover, and place in refrigerator for another 24 hours. This step will “cook” the fish in a ceviche style (not really cooking but changing the chemical compound of the fish).

After 24 hours, you may notice a white chunky substance on the fish. This is the fat from the fish being cooked out. Strain the vinegar from the fish, briefly rinse fish enough to run the white fat off, and refrigerate while preparing brine and jars.

Use a stainless steel pot and add 2 cups of vinegar, 1 cup of white sugar, 3/4 cup of pickling spice. Cut up one white onion and set aside.

Bring pot to a boil, then turn off and add white onion. This process will soften the onion to make it easier to layer with the fish. This pickling mixture must cool to room temperature to put into the jars. If it is warm or hot you will cook the fish and it will turn to mush.

Taste the brine once cooled, if it is too strong, add a little more sugar, vice versa, make to your liking (remember - brine will taste very salty, much like sea water).

While this is cooling, ensure your washed mason jars are sitting in a boiling steam bath for at least 15 minutes. Then remove them and allow to cool on paper towel.

Once the pickling brine and the jars are cool you can start layering the fish and onions. You must use metal tongs or rubber gloves for this process to keep the germ count down.

Start with a thin layer of white onion, then a layer of fish. Repeat the layers. After a few layers, use a soft cooking utensil to push down and pack the fish and onions more tightly. Continue to layer and pack down contents until the top of the jar has been reached. Top with a small dash of pickling salt. Leave a half-inch head space at the top of the jar for expansion.

Once all of your jars are packed, pour the cooled pickling brine into each jar. At this point, boil the lids for a minimum of 15 minutes. While the lids are boiling, dip paper towel into vinegar and wipe the top rims of the jars to clean the sealing area.

Once 15 minutes have passed, remove the lids using metal tongs and place on jars while they are hot, tighten, then store in the refrigerator.

The lids may or may not seal, sealing is not necessary as it is a pickling recipe to remain refrigerated. If you are the nervous type, you can avoid botulism by eating within 10 days. It can be eaten at any time, but the longer you wait, the better it tastes. Try to wait 2 weeks to eat, once opened eat within 4 days. It can wait up to 6 weeks to be used, but must be discarded after that. You can play with the recipe and add garlic or hot peppers to each jar, depending on your liking.

Good luck and enjoy!

Submitted by: Jaret Moshenko
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Reviews: 1
Jan 15, 5:05 PM
Mark S. (Minnesota) says:

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