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minnesotathorn

whitefish question

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going to sturgeon bay for whitefish. is it ok to let these things freeze? will pickling them take care of the pin bones? with all the pin bones are they worth smoking? went to one of the fish boils they offer & thought the flavor was ok but with all the bones it wasn't really worth the effort. I guess I'm asking if I should keep any or release everything.

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I have kept em outta Lake Superior and cut em up and fried em like a giant crappie. Didn't seem to have any problems. I would say try not to let em freeze. They are indeed a stinky oily fish!

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I freeze tullees and then smoke them. not sure about the bigger whitefish. a little work taking the small bones out but love the taste so it's worth it.

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Pickling will take care of all bones (obviously you need to take the ribs out, but all other bones will dissolve/soften). You could smoke them and then can them which eliminates all the bone issues, too, and it's a great way to preserve them for a long time (this is my preferred method). You can freeze them, but you lose a lot of the integrity of the fish's texture (as is the case with all oily fish that are frozen). Good luck!

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Pickling will not kill the parasites and worms in fish. It is recommended by the people in the know to freeze all fish you intend to pickle. Do a google search on it and you will find all you need to know. Smoked is very good by the way.

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Yes, I have posted the link to UMN extension writeup on this several times. In fact freezing fish sold commercially is law in Minnesota, I believe.

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Catch, take off fillets, cut out ribs and pinnies (similar to Y bones in a northern) and leave skin on. Do not freeze. Cut into chunks and immediately brine and smoke when you get home, or better yet, take the smoker with you and smoke while you are there.

A simple salt/brown sugar brine is all that is needed. 1 gallon water, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup canning salt is as basic as it gets. Freezing whitefish will yield "mushy" meat very quickly. If you do not plan to smoke them, then I would either eat fresh (fried or baked) or release them.

If you were passing thru Duluth (not likely since you are in Rochester) I would tell you to drop them off with me, and I'd be happy to take them off your hands, LOL!!! Fresh smoked whitefish is awesome!

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Huh? Never thought you could remove the bones, but looks like you can. Wonder if you could do this on a bigger tullibee as well……Xplorer, is the filleting process the same for a pike? I do it a little different than this video(for pike), by making two cuts and pulling out the strip.

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Yes…..but not on a cold smoke. Need to get above 140/150 ish for a half hourish. The freezing is recommended before pickling. Many people do not freeze before pickling and have not, nor probably never will get sick, but people do win the lottery everyday smile

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Well how bout that……learn something new everyday. Soooo, obviously fresh would be better, but freezing it would still not degrade the texture enough to wreck a fish fry in two weeks? Well, certainly going to try try this on some tullies now. Already laughing at the look I am going to see on my "walleye only pop's" face after I feed it to him…...

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freezing it would still not degrade the texture enough to wreck a fish fry in two weeks?

Honestly, I couldn't promise that... The only times I've eaten them are fresh that day without them freezing first. Fat breaks down in the freezer and is part of the reason oily fish don't freeze well. Granted, it won't break down as much in 2 weeks as it would in 2 months, or whatever, but by similar example we caught and ate some sea trout once and they were...okay. We froze the rest, brought them back to Minny, and ate them two weeks later and they were not even palatable. Texture-wise they'd softened up, but that was only part of the problem. The oily, fishy flavor seemed to permeate the entire fillet and it tasted like licking the inside of an aquarium (or so I assume the inside of an aquarium would taste that way if licked wink ). Anyhow, the only way to know is to try it out. You might want to do a solo run before you try to convince your pops it's the next great culinary treat smile

The happy ending was that I was able to brine and smoke the remaining trout and they came out great even after being frozen, then thawed (even with no skin on them they smoked up wonderfully). A back-up plan if you need it.

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pb,

Yes it is very similar to doing a pike (I do the two cuts also).

Personally, I do not freeze whitefish and try to either cook or smoke them within 2 days of catching them. Many years ago we cooked some up after bringing them back from Canada frozen, not good at all. Maybe would have been better fried like walleye, but like said, the texture and taste tend to suffer. Also, the tullies that I have smoked have not had the oil content that a larger whitefish has, so they may keep longer frozen.

Pikestabber, I had the same thing happen to my F-I-L. He brought back some late season silvers from Alaska (they drove there and back). The ones they ate up there were fine, but when they got home two weeks later they were basically inedible. I was able to brine them in smaller chunks with a good dose of brown sugar and they turned out good. I ended up doing the whole 30 pounds he brought back that way.

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I have eaten fresh whitefish fried at shore lunch as good as walleye everyone in camp agreed. Have had it broiled in restaurants and loved it. I have never frozen it. I tried frying tulibe once one bite was enough only good smoked. I have a friend who smokes tulibe then cans them in oil like kipper snack to preserve them awesome. They freeze all the white fish to fry that they net and have done so for many years. They will only smoke the tulibees whitefish are for eating.

Mwal

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Pikestabber, I had the same thing happen to my F-I-L. He brought back some late season silvers from Alaska (they drove there and back). The ones they ate up there were fine, but when they got home two weeks later they were basically inedible. I was able to brine them in smaller chunks with a good dose of brown sugar and they turned out good. I ended up doing the whole 30 pounds he brought back that way.

Yeah, it's a real bummer to find out your prized catch is not so much of a prize once you get home. I very seldom freeze fish (just keep enough for a fresh meal as needed), but I think for future trips of that nature I'll eat what I can and only bring back what I plan to smoke.

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