Dried Salmon

Written by Jared Vincenti
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The process of drying salmon was invented by Native Americans in the areas that are now Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. These native people would catch the salmon as they passed through streams in their annual migrations, and their diet was based on the fish. However, salmon runs were only active once a year, and often produced more food than the villages could use at once.

To solve this problem, Native Americans would dry the meat so that it would keep through the winter. By soaking narrow strips of fish in brine and then stretching them out over smoking fires, the meat would cure into a jerky-like consistency. This process, also called kippering, would allow the meat to last many months without spoiling.

Indian Hard Smoked Salmon

You can get dried salmon from just about any commercial smokehouse today. It is a popular snack among hikers and backpackers, and is also recommended as a breakfast food by some dietitians. Modern smokers will freeze jerky before it has completely cured to keep it chewy, as most people don't enjoy the tough texture of wholly dried salmon.

Dried salmon is a great source of protein, but is not as rich in omega-3 fatty acids as other salmon dishes. This is because the oily belly of the salmon cures poorly, and is usually used to make hot smoked salmon. More muscular parts of the fish are used to make jerky, and they are a great source of quick energy from protein.

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