How Is Dried Fish Made in Iceland?

You don’t have to be a food connoisseur to know that dried fish, otherwise known as Harðfiskur, is one of the most favourite snacks of the people in Iceland. Often enjoyed with a slice of fresh cheese and a glass of the best wine, this makes for an amazing evening or gets together snacks for Icelandic people.

But, as hard as it is to pronounce Harðfiskur, you’ll soon realize that the process of actually making the dried fish is even harder.

How is the fish dried?

The process of drying the fish is pretty standard and basic. But it does involve a lot of factors that make it the most adored snack in Iceland.

Generally, the drying process is done by buying fresh fish, deboning, and then descaling them.

The drying process is generally done in the large sheds outside of the towns. The fish is left hanging in the shed, allowing to get rid of the excess moisture for around five weeks in general. People are appointed to keep an eye out on the weather around along with the drying process too.

The optimal weather condition is to ensure that the outsides are cold enough to let the fish dry properly. This further adds a fresher taste to the fish, enabling you to enjoy the taste of the sea.

But, for the best drying, it is better that you let the fish dry in the cold temperature for the first few days and then keep it in a warmer condition for the next five to six days.

What follows the drying process?

Once the debones fish fillets are dried out in the storage in colder temperature, people fillet the fish further by hand.

A hole is done in the skin to allow the fish to be hung easily in place. The fishes are then dipped in brine and again hung up on the rod for further curing. Several types of fishes are cured using this method including catfish, haddock, cod, and halibut.

But, you must be wondering, how does one know when the fish is dry enough?

The process is simple. You need to take the piece of dried fish in your hand and break it. If it breaks without any resistance, it means that it’s dried enough.

Once the fish is dried, it is then passed through machines for breaking them down and then packaged according to one’s preferences.

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