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Not too dry, please

NORWAY - The stockfish industry can lose considerable sums if the stockfish doesn't have the right taste and dryness.

Not too dry, please - NORWAY - The stockfish industry can lose considerable sums if the stockfish doesn't have the right taste and dryness.

Scientists at Fiskeriforskning are now going to assess the most optimal degree of dryness for stockfish when it is taken down from the drying racks. They have also examined how the water content in the fish equalises and stabilises after it is taken down from the rack, during storage and up until it's ready for packing.

Following the fish

By following the fish from the time it's hung on racks and on to storage, packing and rehydration, Fiskeriforskning wants to understand how this handling affects taste, smell and appearance.

The scientists have thus inspected several different stockfish plants that produce according to the natural method, i.e. hanging the fish on drying racks in the open air. At the same time, corresponding tests have been carried out under constant and controlled conditions in the Institute's pilot plant.

Dryness limit

"It is not, as one might assume, about making the fish as dry as possible. As a matter of fact, the driest fish doesn't give the best quality and profits", says Senior Scientist Even Tidemann.

"We've received feedback telling us that fish that's too dry has difficulty absorbing water during rehydration. This results in a product with lower weight and consequently poorer economy for both the buyer and producer", says Tidemann. "It is thus important that some moisture remains when the fish is taken down from the rack."

"The ability of stockfish to maintain moisture increases at low temperatures and with that, gives a better profit for the producers. It is therefore important that the stockfish is taken down from the rack and placed in cold storage when it has achieved the most optimal quality and moisture. Here, the producers must pay close attention. There's a limit, however, for how moist the fish can be before it's ruined", the scientist points out.

Stockfish is generally packed in burlap sacks, cartons or heavy, perforated cardboard. Previous tests at Fiskeriforskning have studied advantages and disadvantages using the different types of transport packing. These, however, cause problems, including with smell. The project will therefore also test different packing solutions.

The project is carried out on assignment from the Stockfish Forum in the Norwegian Seafood Federation.

Source: Fiskeriforskning - 12th June 2006

the Fish Site Editor

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