Plenty of salmon to try pickling

  • Friday, August 10, 2012 1:53pm
  • Life

There’s a bounty of beautiful, fresh salmon available right now, so if you have ever wanted to try your hand at pickling a batch, this is the perfect time to jump to it. Besides, we have two last recipes to try, so there’s not a moment to lose.

Longtime Forum recipe-sharer Cheryl Olsen writes, “It’s been a while since I’ve written, but read and clip the Forum a lot. Saw the SOS for pickled salmon, and I don’t know why I thought I might have the recipe, but I do.

“I hope it’s ‘the one’ the dear reader is looking for. I found it in a book my sister Joanne picked up at a yard sale. She contributes to my cookbook collection now and then.

“Anyway, back to the book, which is titled ‘The American Woman’s Cookbook,’ published for the Culinary Arts Institute in 1940. Old cookbooks are fascinating.”

And Arlington cook Jean Kroeze, another faithful Forum helper, says, “Here is a copy of a page from the ‘Mount Wheeler Grange Cookbook,’ with the recipe for pickled salmon, which may be what Terry Kelting is looking for.”

1940 cookbook pickled salmon

4-5 pounds salmon

Salted water

2quarts vinegar

1ounce peppercorns

1whole nutmeg, grated

6blades mace (see note)

1tablespoon salad oil

Wrap salmon in a fish-cloth (old-fashioned cotten tea towel or cheesecloth should be suitable substitutions) and simmer in salted water for about 45 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 quart of simmering liquid, wrap in a dry cloth and let cool thoroughly, then refrigerate until ready to use. For the pickle, use the quart of simmering liquid, the vinegar, peppercorns, grated nutmeg and mace. Boil for a few minutes in a kettle closely covered to prevent evaporation of the flavor. Cool. When quite cold, pour over the salmon, then pour in the oil. Cover closely and refrigerate. This pickle keeps well.

Note: Mace is the outer shell (webbing) of the nutmeg fruit, with a lighter, delicate sweeter flavor than the nutmeg itself. If your whole nutmeg is missing the mace webbing, don’t worry about having none — its flavor is so light and delicate, the lack of it shouldn’t be the least little bit noticeable.

Oso grange cookbook pickled salmon

10 pounds salmon

Fine salt


1cup sliced onions

1/2cup olive oil

1quart white vinegar

1quart water

31/2tablespoons mixed pickling spices OR 1 tablespoon each whole white peppercorns and mustard seed, 1/2 tablespoon each whole cloves and black peppercorns and 1/2 tablespoon crushed bay leaves

Cut salmon into individual serving portions. Wash well in cold water; drain and dredge in fine salt. After 30 minutes, rinse off salt and simmer salmon slowly until done. Place warm fish in an earthenware crock and cover with a vinegar spice sauce made as follows: Cook the onions in the olive oil slowly until they are yellow and soft. Add the vinegar, water, mixed pickling spices or the combination of seasonings. Simmer gently for 45 minutes. Allow the pickling mixture to cool and pour over fish, making sure that all pieces are submerged. Cover and refrigerate. Allow to stand 24 hours before using.

The Forum is always happy to receive your contributions and requests, so don’t hesitate to send them along to Judyrae Kruse at the Forum, c/o The Herald, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206.

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The next Forum will appear in Wednesday’s Good Life section.

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