7 Ways To Preserve Fish In The Wild (Natural & Unnatural)

You won’t be able to eat all of the fish you’ve caught at once, so you’ll have to store it.

To preserve your fish, you don’t need an expensive pressure canner or a smoker. It’s simple to do at home, either by freezing it or pickling it. 

If you catch your fish on a boat or on a camping trip and are still out in the woods, you may treat it with salt to keep it alive for 24 hours.

Wash and gut the fish as quickly as appropriate after catching it. Afterward, store it in whichever manner you want.

In this article we will explain seven ways to preserve fish in the wild, so keep reading it.

Why Do You Need To Preserve Fish?

Why Do You Need To Preserve Fish?

The goal of fish treatment & storage is to reduce or stop enzyme, microbiological, and biochemical degradation. Also, to keep the fish body as similar to pure as achievable. 

Whether or not you’re trying to improve your overall diet by consuming extra fish, you’ll understand the necessity of preserving. 

We understand how annoying it is to buy fresh fish online when it is so prone to spoiling, but preservation may be the tool you need to extend the life of the fish you buy.

Canning, freezing, boiling, and smoking have all been used to preserve fish for thousands of years. Fish are currently stored through packing and freeze, in addition to older ways.

7 Ways To Preserve Fish In The Wild

7 Ways To Preserve Fish In The Wild

Many fishermen overlook the importance of preserving fish. They may consume a large amount of fish at some periods of a season and then not at others. 

You may explore to one’s heart’s content with unique dishes and flavors, all while stocking up for your family’s future, thanks to all the many techniques to store fishes.

Therefore, seven ways of preserving the fish are explained as follows.

Keeping The Fish Alive

This technique provides the highest quality, but it does not have a lengthy shelf life. 

Keeping fish alive is not the same as keeping them alive in a pond or does not mean the same as if they live in a pond or river.

You may keep the fish in the container after capturing it. Add water and oxygen to the water in which the fish have been stored. 

All of this lets fish live for as long as you need them to and you may consume them whenever you want by just catching them.


Before freezing, make sure the fish is as fresh as possible. 

Ensure to clean the fish and use the dull edge of a knife or spoon to remove any scales. 

Depending on the quantity of fat in your fish’s flesh, pre-treat it for freezing. 

To maintain natural tastes, fat fish should be dipped in an ascorbic acid solution produced from two teaspoons of crystalline ascorbic acid to one quart of cold water for 20 seconds. 

Lean fish must be brined in a brine of 14 cups salt to one quart cold water for 20 seconds. 

Put another way, a lemon gelatin glaze can be used. 

Put the fish in freezer bags or vapor and moisture-resistant sheets. 

Freeze between two to three months, or up to six months if the fish is lean.

Dehydrating Or Sun Drying

It is still possible to dry fish on a wooden rack, as our predecessors did. 

If feasible, salted and filleted fish should be used. Tiny fish should be opened up to lay flat. 

If necessary, they can be impaled with wooden spikes to help with this. You must also place them in a well-ventilated area away from the sun. 

Make careful to flip them many times a day as well. If they’re still moist, bring them in at night and sprinkle them with salt.

It will take many days to dry and you should make every effort to prevent insects and dampness.

You can sometimes help by lighting a smokey fire upwind. Be careful you just utilize hardwoods this time.

Smoking Fish

Smoking fish dries it out, equivalent to salting, to create a climate where germs can’t thrive. 

Typically, heat is used to force out dampness from the fish without frying it. 

You’re also giving the fish a unique taste that many people find appealing. 

Anyone for smoked salmon? 

Certain dishes and procedures necessitate high sufficient heat to roast the fish at the very same moment.

Smoke works the best with fillets, although steaks and entire fish can also be smoked. 

Smoking can be done in one or two steps. 

The clean, washed fish is simply smoked as is in the one-step method. The fish is brined for a period of time before being smoked in this two-step procedure.

This can be done to add salt to improve the preservation of fish or to add extra tastes to improve the palatability of the dish.

If you’re using a corporate smoker, make sure to obey the company’s instructions. 

If you’re making your own smoker, make sure to utilize only hardwood, preferably hickory & fruitwoods. 

The fish will be ruined by a sticky covering left by evergreens.

Caning Fish

Because of its simplicity and constancy, this storage technique is common amongst sailors. 

Seafood which has been washed and skinned in two hours of capture should be only canned. 

Remove the fins, tail and head part, and scales to clean a fish quickly. 

Before slicing the fish lengthwise, make sure it’s clean and free of blood. 

Maintain the washed fish refrigerated until you’re prepared to can it. 

To brine your fish in saltwater, you’ll need a pressure cooker, canning jars, lids, rings, a canning funnel, a stock pot, bowls, big spoons, a sharp knife, towels, and a large dish. 

Before canning, marinate your fish in salty brine for an hour.

Drain the fish approximately ten min prior placing it skin-side down in the preserving containers. 

At minimum one inch of room should be left at the tip of each can. 

Plan on pressure canning fresh fish for 100 minutes or smoked fish for 10 minutes using pint-sized canning jars.

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Pickling Fish

Pickling your fish may be a great experience when it comes to preserving them. 

The majority of pickling recipes are two-step processes. 

After brining or cooking your fish, soak it in a pickle solution for a few hours. 

It’s difficult to pick just one dish or piece of advice because there is so much.

If you’re feeling brave, try the dish from George and Berthe Herter’s Bull Cook and Authentic Historical Recipes and Practices.

George recommends keeping the washed fish in a solution of salt and white vinegar for approximately a week before making the pickling liquid, which he provides with a couple of alternatives to suit your taste. You can even turn it into a wine sauce. 

After the fish have been in the pickling liquid for three days, they must be refrigerated for one additional day. 

After that, they’re ready to enjoy it.

Even those who dislike fish enjoy it when it is prepared in one of these ways. 

Putting up fish will be a vital skill to have in difficult times.

Salt Curing

The method of salting was employed by ancient fishermen to preserve seafood when at seas and far from the marketplace. 

Salt removes wetness from the fish and dries it out, producing a condition where germs can’t thrive and the fish can be kept. 

In some form or another, salting will be used in the majority of the procedures described.

If at all feasible, use pickling salt, which has a finer grain than other forms of salt and includes no iodine or additions to keep it from clumping. 

In a pinch, kosher or sea salt will suffice, but they will not function as well. Iodized table salt darkens everything and can change the taste.

In all, save the most dire of circumstances, you should avoid it.

4 Tips For More Successful Fish Preservation

4 Tips For More Successful Fish Preservation
  • For fish preservation, high-quality fresh fish is required. As a result, refrigerate fish as soon as possible after washing them. The sooner you keep the seafood, the better it will be.
  • Excessive fats, fish tails, and fish heads should all be removed before storing fish fillets.
  • Levels and ensure the containers you’ll be using are clean and disinfected before utilizing them.
  • Also, if you don’t mind the spicy flavor during sun drying, season the fish with a few spices, such as pepper or chili, and let it sit for a few minutes. You will undoubtedly be enticed by the taste.

Earth’s Dreams Food Preservation Tray

Clean And Cut The Fish Into Fillets Or Steaks As Quickly As Possible After Capturing It

Remove the shells or skin from the fish to clean it. 

On a chopping board, put the fish. 

Conduct a small incision from the forehead to the tail and use a spoon to scoop out the intestines. 

Using a sharp knife, remove the head. 

  • Large fish can be sliced into steaks or fillets by cutting the short way across the bones or slicing the long way across the bones on either side of the bones. It’s not necessary to cut them into teeny-tiny fillets.
  • During this procedure, use gloves or thoroughly wash your hands. Bacteria and parasites can be found in raw fish and fish intestines.

Create Safe Oils Infusing 

Any food that develops in oil or has come into touch with oil is potentially polluted. 

It is still okay to use oil to preserve food, but observe the measures outlined in the following procedures. 

  • Get rid of all dirt traces. Consider peeling it if peeling is the only way to guarantee this.
  • Toss in a little acid. All commercial formulations of infused oils in the United States must comply with this requirement. 
  • Lemon juice, vinegar, and citric acid are examples of common acidifying substances found in the home environment. One tablespoon of acidification chemical per mug of oil is the recommended proportion.
  • Keep any infusing oil refrigerated. If you have a really cool, dark basement, this may be plenty as long as it remains extremely cool, but to be careful, freezing will typically preserve infused oil for longer.
  • If the oil becomes hazy, bubbling, or has a bad odor, discard it right once.


What is the most effective method for preserving fish?

Freeze-drying, bottling, smoking, and pickling are the four most prevalent techniques of preserving fish. The preservation of fish necessitates the use of high-quality fresh fish. Fish is the most vulnerable to tissue breakdown, rancidity, and microbiological spoilage of all meat meals.

What is the best way to dry and store seafood?

Dry-salting, which is exactly what it sounds like, is another ancient technique of fish preservation. Upon washing the fish, place it in a drying net and sprinkle salt on it. Use roughly a third of the fish’s mass in salts. Allow 9-10 days to pass after covering the container.

How longer might we keep fish safe?

Shellfish and Raw fishes can only be stored in the refrigerator for one or two days before cooking or freezing (40°F/4.4°C or less). Refrigerate seafood for three to four days after it has been cooked. Any frozen fish or shellfish can be kept eternally; but, after a long period of storage, the flavor and texture will deteriorate.

Is it true that dried fish has an expiration date?

Dried fish may survive anywhere from a few weeks to a year, depending on the technique of preservation and the climate in which it is stored. Nevertheless, most experts advise that you don’t leave it for more than two months. There are a plethora of elements and considerations to keep in mind in order to feel protected.

Can you keep fish in the freezer for a long time?

A fatty fish like salmon or tuna will survive two to three months frozen in an at-home fridge. Cod, for example, is a leaner fish that may survive up to half a year. Fish may survive up to two years if vacuum-sealed and kept correctly in the freezer.

In Conclusion

Wash the fish as quickly as possible after catching it to begin your processing. 

Fish meat degrades 200 times quicker than beef, according to specialists, therefore the newer the better. 

Keeping fish in the live well or on a skinner until you’re done fishing is recommended. However, storing clean species in a creel that’s dipped into the water every now and then to keep them cold is good too. Lastly, placing cleaned fish on ice in a cooler are all options for preserving and keeping fish fresh.

Remove the scales of your fish with just a spoon and determine whether or not to keep the skin on. 

Skinning catfish and bullheads is a good idea. All fish that you want to keep should have their heads removed.

Decide whether you want to cook them whole or in fillets, steaks, or pieces. Once you’ve cleaned them, you are ready to start on them. 

When it comes to cutting them, the method you want to employ might sometimes determine how you should do it.

Always remember to keep food safety in mind when preserving food. Best wishes. Take pleasure in the rewards of your effort!

Keep in mind:

Freezing food: Be sure to study up on the food type in question, since each has its own freezing requirements, and some items will not freeze at all.

Drying food: Bacteria, yeasts, fungus, and enzymes are all killed when food is dried. To get this correctly, follow contemporary instructions. 

Vinegar: Some items may be kept in vinegar. This is frequently used to make pickles, with spices added to enhance the flavor.

Smoking: Some items, including fish and meat, can be smoked so keep it clean and avoid extra smoking.