Pickling began about 4,000 years ago. The process was developed to preserve foods including veggies, fruit, fish and meats. Pickled foods, especially cucumbers, are made and eaten because of the wonderfully complex mouth-puckering tastes. Pickling may also improve the nutritional value of food by the B vitamins that bacteria produce.
The process of preserving foods is by anaerobic fermentation in brine or vinegar. The resulting food, be it a cucumber or crappie, is called a pickle. This method gives the food a salty or sour taste. Pickled foods have a pH less than 4.6 (very acidic), sufficient to kill most bacteria and preserve perishable foods for months. If the food contains sufficient moisture, pickling brine may be produced simply by adding dry salt; sauerkraut and kimchi are two examples made from cabbage.
Unlike canning, pickling includes fermentation and does not require that the food be completely sterile before it is sealed. The acidity or salinity of the solution, the temperature of fermentation and the exclusion of oxygen determine which microorganisms dominate, and determine the flavor of the end product.
3 1/2 pounds of crappie fillets (4 to 6 oz. each), skin removed
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
5-8 small whole dried hot chilies (to taste)
2 cups distilled white vinegar
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup rose’ wine
1/4 cup canning or pickling salt
1 tablespoon mixed pickling spices
Freeze fish 48 hours at zero degrees F. Defrost. Cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces. Loosely layer fish, onion and chilies in two l-quart jars and one l-pint jar. Cover and chill. In 2-quart saucepan, combine remaining ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Cool entirely. Pour pickling liquid over fish to cover. Seal jars, using two-part sealing lids. Refrigerate 10 days before serving. Store in refrigerator no longer than 4 weeks.
Hot Fish Stew with Tomatoes and Asparagus
2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Large red onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
Large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
Bunch fresh asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
Two 28-oz. cans diced tomatoes
16 ounces firm freshwater fillets (catfish, crappie, bass, etc. cut into 2-3-inch chunks
3 cups V-8 Hot & Spicy Low Sodium vegetable juice
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper (add enough to make you sweat – or not)
Salt and pepper to taste
Over medium heat, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until tender in large saucepan. Add Italian seasoning and sauté for about a minute. Add bell pepper and asparagus. Continue sautéing for several minutes until tender crisp. Add diced tomatoes with juices and pour in enough V-8 juice to make the mixture like a broth (almost covering vegetable mixture or about 3 cups).
Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in fish chunks and a tablespoon or two of crushed red pepper. Cover and simmer until fish is cooked through and vegetables are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve topped with shredded parmesan.
Fish Camp Apple Pancake
1/2 stick butter
3 apples (Gala, Granny Smith, etc.), peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon butter
Melt butter in large frying pan and sauté apples until soft. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and brown sugar and stir until mixture begins to caramelize.
In a bowl: mix flour, granulated sugar and salt with slightly beaten eggs, vanilla and milk.
Pour batter into pan on top of apple mixture and drag spoon through apple mixture to push some swirls of it into the batter. Cook until bubbles start to appear at edges of batter, then gently loosen edges of pancake with a spatula and put 2 teaspoons butter equally divided around the edges and under the pancake to prevent sticking. Then cover frying pan with a tightly fitting lid (or aluminum foil) and pull pan away from center of fire grate to bake for 12-15 minutes to finish cooking the pancake. Slice pancake and serve with butter and maple syrup.
Tennessee Turtle Soup
3 pounds turtle meat
4 quarts water
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons shortening
2 chopped medium onions
3 ground sticks celery
6 pods ground garlic
1 ground large green pepper
2 thinly sliced lemons
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Seasoned-salt to taste (Tony’s Creole Seasoning)
McCormick Season salt
3 heaping tablespoons whole allspice (tied in thin cloth)
1 tablespoon sherry per serving (optional)
4 hard-boiled eggs
Boil turtle meat in water until tender. Remove scum with spoon. Make roux using shortening and flour. Add onions, celery, garlic and green pepper. Remove turtle meat from stock, strain stock and add roux. Bones may be removed from turtle meat. Add meat to stock along with lemons, Worcestershire sauce and seasoned-salts to taste. Place bag of allspice in soup and simmer for one hour. Add 1 tablespoon sherry per serving shortly before serving, if desired. Garnish with sliced hard-boiled eggs and parsley.