Last week, we described/ how to save fish/ for future use/ by cleaning and salting them. Today, we will discuss the next steps/ in keeping fish -- drying or smoking.
To dry fish, you will need/ either a drying table/ or a place to hang them. If a table is used, it should have a top/ made of wire screen/ or thin pieces of wood/ with a space/ between each piece.
Lay the cleaned, wet salted fish/ on top of the table. Do not let them/ touch each other. Be sure/ the air/ can reach the fish/ from all sides, including the top and bottom.
Build a small smoky fire/ under the drying table/ for the first day/ to keep the flies away. After that, you can keep the flies away/ by covering the fish/ with a thin cloth. Do not let the cloth/ touch the fish.
Fish taste better/ if they dry/ out of the bright sunlight. Put your drying table/ under a tree/ for best results. Turn your fish over/ every other day. Small fish/ will dry/ in about three days/ if the air is dry. Large fish/ will take a week/ or ten days/ to dry.
After the fish have dried, place them/ in a basket/ to hold them. Cover them/ with clean paper/ or large leaves. Then/ put them/ in a cool, dry place, not on the ground.
To smoke the fish, you must first remove/ as much of the saltwater/ as possible. The smoking/ can be done/ in a large round metal container. Remove the top. Cut a small opening/ on one side/ at the bottom.
Cover the top of the container/ with a strong metal wire screen. This is/ where you put the fish. Build a small fire/ in the container/ by reaching in through the opening/ at the bottom.
Wood from fruit trees/ makes good fuel/ for your fire. Such wood/ will give your smoked fish/ good color and taste. Hardwoods/ such as hickory, oak and ash/ also burn well.
It is important/ to keep the fire small/ so it does not burn the fish. You want a lot of smoke, but very little flame. One way/ to get a lot of smoke/ is to use green wood, not dried wood.
You should smoke the fish/ for five days/ or longer/ if you plan/ to keep them/ for a long time. Remove the fish/ after you finish smoking them. Let them cool. Then/ wrap them/ in clean paper.
Put the fish/ in baskets/ and keep them/ in a cool, dry place/ off the ground. Dried fish/ must be kept completely dry/ until they are eaten.