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Old 06-12-2011, 08:37 AM
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Default Dehydrating fish - Anyone have experience?



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I will be catching more fishing than my freezer can hold. I have only one small chest freezer so there is not much room for everything. I am looking for a new way to preserve. I was thinking of trying the dehydrating method but was not sure what to expect or what problems I may come up with the process. I have found a lot of recopies on the internet but want to see if anyone has done this before. If so can you let me know your experience with this method of preserving fish?
Old 06-12-2011, 10:01 AM
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Never dehydrated fish. Have you thought about canning it?
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Old 06-12-2011, 10:05 AM
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Never dehydrated fish. Have you thought about canning it?
I was going to try that too. I have never canned them before so not sure how that will work out. I would imagine they would last longer canned than dried.
Old 06-12-2011, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToughFemale View Post
I will be catching more fishing than my freezer can hold. I have only one small chest freezer so there is not much room for everything. I am looking for a new way to preserve. I was thinking of trying the dehydrating method but was not sure what to expect or what problems I may come up with the process. I have found a lot of recopies on the internet but want to see if anyone has done this before. If so can you let me know your experience with this method of preserving fish?


I am sure one could use a regular dehydrator but I have air dried lots of fish.

Although I have dried lots of fish there have been limited species so what works for one might be different for another.

I fillet the flesh from the bones, split them and usually leave the skin on so they are easier to hang but have also done them skinless. Then soak them in strong brine for a few hours, I usually add brown sugar for flavor but that is optional, probably depending again on the species of fish. Drain them and hang them over a line to air dry or over a smoky fire. Can also just be laid on a grate. Keep the rain off them using a tarp when necessary. Also a handmade or commercial smoker works well. Usually takes a day or two with cool smoke.

Canning was mentioned above and works very well. Tastewise in my estimation, there is nothing that beats smoked fish to snack on. They will also feed you a long time in survival conditions. Living next to a big river is certainly an advantage for you as long as the river stays safe. Canned fish will last for years and dried they last (start losing taste and likely food value)about a year unless refrigerated. One good way to can them is to make them into a soup or chowder and can that. Rough fish can be made to taste very good that way. Incidently speaking of rough fish even carp can make delicious chowder or brined and smoked fish.
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Old 06-12-2011, 11:28 AM
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I am sure one could use a regular dehydrator but I have air dried lots of fish.

Although I have dried lots of fish there have been limited species so what works for one might be different for another.

I fillet the flesh from the bones, split them and usually leave the skin on so they are easier to hang but have also done them skinless. Then soak them in strong brine for a few hours, I usually add brown sugar for flavor but that is optional, probably depending again on the species of fish. Drain them and hang them over a line to air dry or over a smoky fire. Can also just be laid on a grate. Keep the rain off them using a tarp when necessary. Also a handmade or commercial smoker works well. Usually takes a day or two with cool smoke.

Canning was mentioned above and works very well. Tastewise in my estimation, there is nothing that beats smoked fish to snack on. They will also feed you a long time in survival conditions. Living next to a big river is certainly an advantage for you as long as the river stays safe.
I know I love fish any way they are fixed. I catch a lot of white bass and catfish. I am not sure the catfish would be good dried because of the high fat content. But the white bass may be a good choice for drying. I am going to try your method. I have a dehydrator but I want to learn how to dry them in case I lose electricity.

What kind of fish do you dry?
Old 06-12-2011, 11:30 AM
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I've read that fresh water fish carry more parasites than salt water species. Do you have to cook dried fish to kill the parasite eggs and cysts? I've made gravlax before, but haven't done any fresh water fish.
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Old 06-12-2011, 11:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToughFemale View Post
I will be catching more fishing than my freezer can hold. I have only one small chest freezer so there is not much room for everything. I am looking for a new way to preserve. I was thinking of trying the dehydrating method but was not sure what to expect or what problems I may come up with the process. I have found a lot of recopies on the internet but want to see if anyone has done this before. If so can you let me know your experience with this method of preserving fish?
How long are you looking to store the dehydrated fish? It will be good for a few months if done right.

I have done it a few times. Works best for fish with a lower fat content. Slice it THIN. You can even bake it in the oven in low heat. I have even deep fried it until crispy. Holds for a few months and longer if refrigerated.

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Never dehydrated fish. Have you thought about canning it?
May I ask why not? I have eaten tons of fish jerky. Even jellyfish jerky. Sure canning will hold better nutrients, but sometimes jerky is way more convenient.
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Old 06-12-2011, 11:39 AM
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How long are you looking to store the dehydrated fish? It will be good for a few months if done right.

I have done it a few times. Works best for fish with a lower fat content. Slice it THIN. You can even bake it in the oven in low heat. I have even deep fried it until crispy. Holds for a few months and longer if refrigerated.



May I ask why not? I have eaten tons of fish jerky. Even jellyfish jerky. Sure canning will hold better nutrients, but sometimes jerky is way more convenient.
I am looking for a method to preserve fish for at least six months. I am also looking for methods I could use in case of survival situations. The freezer works great for now but may not always have a freezer.
Old 06-12-2011, 11:53 AM
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I am looking for a method to preserve fish for at least six months. I am also looking for methods I could use in case of survival situations. The freezer works great for now but may not always have a freezer.
6 months is doable. I have fish jerky in my pantry older than that LOL They do have some preservatives but you can do it at home also. Store it in a cool dry place and you it can last that long properly preserved.

The deep frying method works good, but the problem is that the oils you cooked it in remain in the fish. So 6 months may push it for that method.

Another method is Salting. Get a barrel or bucket of salt and slice the fish up in either slices or split, smoke it a little and stick it in the salt. But this would last you 6 months easy. Keep it in the salt until you need it.

You can cook it by mixing bits of fish and cooking it with rice or whatever. It will be real salty but you can soak it to help remove some of the saltiness or make a soup. Good stuff. The salt will kill any bacteria that might form.

Last edited by vicdotcom; 06-12-2011 at 12:08 PM.. Reason: left a word out
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Old 06-12-2011, 12:03 PM
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6 months is doable. I have fish jerky in my pantry older than that LOL They do have some preservatives but you can do it at home also. Store it in a cool dry place and you it can last that long properly preserved.

The deep frying method works good, but the problem is that the oils you cooked it in remain in the fish. So 6 months may it for that method.

Another method is Salting. Get a barrel or bucket of salt and slice the fish up in either slices or split, smoke it a little and stick it in the salt. But this would last you 6 months easy. Keep it in the salt until you need it.

You can cook it by mixing bits of fish and cooking it with rice or whatever. It will be real salty but you can soak it to help remove some of the saltiness or make a soup. Good stuff. The salt will kill any bacteria that might form.
Those are nice ways I never even thought of before. I love fish and rice and in a survival situation one could live for a long time on just those two items.
Old 06-12-2011, 12:42 PM
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I've salt dried and smoke dried salt water fish. I'm not sure how that would translate to the more delicate fresh water fish though. Neither are hard to do, but you would probably be best to google information specific to the type of fish that you'll be drying.

Technically, fish dried in a dehydrator would have even less moisture and will last longer. But I don't know the safe method of doing so.
Old 06-12-2011, 03:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vicdotcom View Post
How long are you looking to store the dehydrated fish? It will be good for a few months if done right.

I have done it a few times. Works best for fish with a lower fat content. Slice it THIN. You can even bake it in the oven in low heat. I have even deep fried it until crispy. Holds for a few months and longer if refrigerated.



May I ask why not? I have eaten tons of fish jerky. Even jellyfish jerky. Sure canning will hold better nutrients, but sometimes jerky is way more convenient.
Never given it a thought to be honest with you, it does sound like something I may like to try. It sounds good and always good to know another way to preserve!
Old 06-12-2011, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by ToughFemale View Post
I know I love fish any way they are fixed. I catch a lot of white bass and catfish. I am not sure the catfish would be good dried because of the high fat content. But the white bass may be a good choice for drying. I am going to try your method. I have a dehydrator but I want to learn how to dry them in case I lose electricity.

What kind of fish do you dry?


I do not believe too much oil is a problem in itself. Salmon are dried and smoked regularly and they are an oily fish. Some people mentioned parasites and that could be a problem in fish from the river. In that case hot smoke them or to be truly safe, can them. I hadn't given parasites enough thought from an inland river.

I have dried salmon mostly myself but have eaten other smoked fish from other people. The carp stuck in my mind as being particularly tasty.

For long term storage and for something that can be done even over a wood fire, have canning supplies stocked and learn/practice. Personally I have only been the helper canning so I can't offer any expertise here but I have friends and family who can fish sucessfully all the time, both in jars and tin cans. Just follow the Ball book instructions and use care. I'm going to start practicing what I preach and get good at canning myself.
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Old 06-12-2011, 08:11 PM
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I do not believe too much oil is a problem in itself. Salmon are dried and smoked regularly and they are an oily fish. Some people mentioned parasites and that could be a problem in fish from the river. In that case hot smoke them or to be truly safe, can them. I hadn't given parasites enough thought from an inland river.

I have dried salmon mostly myself but have eaten other smoked fish from other people. The carp stuck in my mind as being particularly tasty.

For long term storage and for something that can be done even over a wood fire, have canning supplies stocked and learn/practice. Personally I have only been the helper canning so I can't offer any expertise here but I have friends and family who can fish sucessfully all the time, both in jars and tin cans. Just follow the Ball book instructions and use care. I'm going to start practicing what I preach and get good at canning myself.
My mother used to can fish but I was to young to know how she did it exactly. I never canned any myself but I may try a batch to see how they turn out.

Parasites can be bad in fresh water fish. There is a fish tapeworm that can make a person pretty sick if they get infected. So with that in mind I may just can them then I will know they will be safe, from parasites anyway.
Old 09-28-2012, 04:18 PM
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I've been in Diego Garcia and did a lot of dehydrating fish almost every weekends. I dried all palm size fish and even foot long with no problem. It's in my list to built another dehydrator and do fishing here in the bayou and sell. May I ask where do you fish and what fish you have in mind to dry? Please email me at [email protected].
Old 09-28-2012, 09:25 PM
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I have canned some fish and it was great. I had some hoop nets in the river and caught a bunch of Buffalo. My dad suggested we can some. All we did was scale the fish and gut them then filleted the fish but left the skin on and rib bones in them. we cut the fish in chunks so we could get it in the jars we put one drop of liquid smoke and a teaspoon of salt
and cooked it in a pressure canner I think the time was 2 hours. It was better than tuna or mackerel and maybe even better than canned salmon. It didn't look pretty but it tasted really good all the rib and feathe rbones were soft.
I have seen Veitnamese shrimpers sun dry fish on the cabin of their shrimp boats. They filleted the fish and just left them out in the sun they would grab a piece every so often and eat it raw.
Old 09-29-2012, 07:16 PM
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Freshwater fish, in the U.S., do not have many parasites. The most common is the Blackspot parasite (often seen in panfish, black spots on the skin and you can see the black cysts in their fillets). Tons of people throw away rock bass because they are "wormy" (the filltes taste no different from the other panfish: sunfish, crappie, bass). I thin k they just happen to be particularly vulnerable to this parasite. The blackspot parasite infects kingfisher birds and fish, not humans, it is safe to eat these fish and does not affect the flavor at all. Just makes the fish particularly ugly.

Liver flukes, tapeworms, etc. come from saltwater parasites (which is why sushi chefs need to be good at their job) or freshwater fish in Asia. A lot of the flukes are spread around Asia because the fish farmers have their latrine straight over the fish pond, so they **** out the larval form of the parasite into the fish they are growing for human consumption... I guess they haven't learned not to **** where they eat on a lot of the farms over there. My concern with river fish would be eating a lot of pollutants in the fish, but you gotta do what you can to survive.

Anybody here dehydrate catfish before? I can catch my limit of 20 channel catfish on a good night here ,but I don't really like it fried (too mushy), hanging it outside and smoking it sounds like it would be good. I have had smoked whitefish/cisco before and loved it. Have not had smoked salmon, but I don't really care for regular salmon flavor.

Buck-Ridge: I have read in tons of threads here that most fund raisers that serve fish patties are from pressure cooked buffalo/carp. Those suckers can get huge. Did you keep all sizes, just smaller ones, or what? Where did you purchase your hoop net?
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