Cheap and Free Protein

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Farside
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Cheap and Free Protein

#1 Post by Farside » Wed Apr 17, 2019 5:46 pm

So I'm concerned about securing an affordable source of protein which is why I'm raising 50 chickens for meat this year. As part of my attempt to supplement their diets with as much free food as possible, I'm going to catch some smelts during the spring smelt run.

Smelts are a small fresh water fish (like a sardine) you can catch with a dip net. They are a tasty fish, but being so small they are inconvenient to clean and the small bones make them complicated to prepare for eating. People don't really eat them anymore, and you don't need a license to catch them.

While I was coordinating a smelting session, I learned about a spring run of a different fish that follows a few weeks behind. These are called suckers and grow to a decent size (a few lbs). They have lots of fine bones and so are used mainly as bait because of the inconveniences associated with preparing them. Again, no limit on amount, and you don't need a license.

Fish is crazy expensive already, so I think this year I'm going to experiment with ways to process these fish so my family will actually eat them.
Canning, pickling, smoking, and grinding seem to be the top 4 methods. I may also try dehydrating to see how that goes.

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Andy F
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Re: Cheap and Free Protein

#2 Post by Andy F » Sat Apr 27, 2019 3:32 pm

Like Sardines & Salmon, maybe Pressure Canning in Mason or Ball jars? That softens the small bones.

"Bone Softening," a Practical Way to Utilize Small Fish
PDF spo.nmfs.noaa.gov/mfr503/mfr5031.pdf
boneless fillets of fish, and small fish are usually ... 'Mention of trade names or commercial fInns does not imply ... i.e., the pressure was constant for each.

Canning Fish in Quart Jars-Long
PDF https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_05/alaska ... qtjars.pdf
You can leave bones in most fish because the bones become very soft and ... A pressure canner is required for processing fish. .... sealing edge for tiny nicks.

In Korea, they do salted dried fish out in the sun. They're very expensive and also tasty good.

Korea - Influence of salt on drying performance of silver jewfish ( Otolithes ...
PDF https://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/... ... 4-1-PB.pdf
Has some how to sun drying in Solar "Tunnel" as well as for production of salted-dehydrated products for export purposes. ... are dried and mainly exported to China, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, ... In 2008-09 financial year, Bangladesh exported 425 mt of dry fish which.
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Re: Cheap and Free Protein

#3 Post by Farside » Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:59 am

Northern Ontario has an invasive crawfish in it's waterways. So I'm in the process of making some traps for the kids to catch them with.
I'm following the tutorial in this video series:


My materials cost more, and I'm using zip ties to hold everything together so the build is certainly more than $5 per trap but I'm sure the kids will have fun so its cheap entertainment at least.

The cones are the hardest part, but there is a simple rule for making them. You take the diameter of the tube you make, and create a half circle with a radius of this measurement. Once folded in to form a cone, it fits neatly inside the tube.

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Re: Cheap and Free Protein

#4 Post by Andy F » Sun Jul 28, 2019 7:33 pm

We used to go catch Crawdads in the nearby streams. Took them home for mom to cook.
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