Spring break up signals the return of Herring To Kotzebue Sound. I hooked a bucket full to make a local favorite...pickled herring. Now everyone has their own recipe and everyone thinks theirs is the best. I'll have you know that MINE is actually the best pickled herring. I will share with you the secrets of it's awesomeness.
The first step is to scale the herring. The scales flake off quite easily so you can use the back side of a butter knife.
Take off the heads and the tails.
After you pull all the guts out wash off the fish in cold salty water.
I salt my fish before pickling them. Some people salt, some people don't. I think that salting them helps the fish hold up better to brining. I take a bowl and put some rock salt in the bottom and then layer fish, salt, fish, salt.
Layer the fish til a few inches below the top of the bowl with salt being the top layer. Then I take a plate and put it on top and weigh it down. This draws out moisture from the fish. I usually leave it in the fridge overnight. The next day I wash all the salt off the fish and then soak the fish in clean cold water for eight hours changing the water twice. If you cut a little piece of fish off and taste it you want it to be a little salty, but not too much.
I place 1 tsp pickling spice in the bottom of the jar and then layer in herring, onion, cauliflower, and carrots and then another teaspoon of pickling spice on the top. I also put in about 6 slices of fresh jalapeno pepper. This spices up the brine.
The brine another area where most people have their own thing. Some people use vinegar and pickling spices and brown sugar which they boil and then cool and pour into the jars.
Me, I simply cut the vinegar 50/50 with water and pour it into the jar. No fuss no muss.
Keep the jars in a cool place (mine are in the fridge) and it is ready to eat in a couple days.