Salted fish

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Reconstruction of the Roman fish-salting plant at Neapolis

Salted fish, such as kippered herring, is fish preserved or cured with salt. Drying and salting, either with dry salt or brine, was the only widely available method of preserving fish until the 19th century. Salted fish are a staple of diets in the Caribbean, North Africa, Southeast Asia, Southern China, Scandinavia, coastal Russia, and in the Arctic.

Method[edit]

Various salted fishes sold in a marketplace in Jakarta suburb, Indonesia

Salting is the preservation of food with dry edible salt.[1] It is related to pickling (preparing food with brine, i.e. salty water), and is one of the oldest methods of preserving food.[1] Salt inhibits the growth of microorganisms by drawing water out of microbial cells through osmosis. Concentrations of salt up to 20% are required to kill most species of unwanted bacteria. Smoking, often used in the process of curing meat, adds chemicals to the surface of meat that reduce the concentration of salt required. Salting is used because most bacteria, fungi and other potentially pathogenic organisms cannot survive in a highly salty environment, due to the hypertonic nature of salt. Any living cell in such an environment will become dehydrated through osmosis and die or become temporarily inactivated.

The water activity, aw, in a fish is defined as the ratio of the water vapour pressure in the flesh of the fish to the vapour pressure of pure water at the same temperature and pressure. It ranges between 0 and 1, and is a parameter that measures how available the water is in the flesh of the fish. Available water is necessary for the microbial and enzymatic reactions involved in spoilage. There are a number of techniques that have been or are used to tie up the available water or remove it by reducing the aw. Traditionally, techniques such as drying, salting and smoking have been used, and have been used for thousands of years. In more recent times, freeze-drying, water binding humectants, and fully automated equipment with temperature and humidity control have been added. Often a combination of these techniques is used.[2]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Historical Origins of Food Preservation." University of Georgia, National Center for Home Food Preservation. Accessed Mat 2012.
  2. ^ FAO: Preservation techniques Fisheries and aquaculture department, Rome. Updated 27 May 2005.

References[edit]