Earlier this year started looking at dehydrating food and wanted to work specifically with different kinds of fish that are available from the local markets, hopefully not loaded with radioactive contamination from the reactors in Fukushima purging Cesium-137. Salmon (preferably wild salmon), Halibut, Red Snapper and Trout all make for very good jerky depending on the recipe used for flavor. The first thing I had to source though was a good dehydrator, so went looking for one at about four or five electric appliance stores around where I live. Didn’t actually think I would be able to buy a dehydrator because in Japan it wouldn’t be a profitable market to sell dehydrators. Japanese do not dehydrate food in their homes. Since I couldn’t buy a food dehydrator according to the specifications I needed for dehydrating fish, I ordered a dehydrator off of Amazon. Ideally, salmon is probably the best fish for dehydrating into jerky but the problem is living where I do, is trying to find wild salmon that would also be continuously available since I don’t eat farmed salmon especially from Norway (explains why salmon sold in most markets in Japan appears as that fake ugly orange color) which is where most of Japan’s imported salmon comes from.
Yesterday while at the market, much to my surprise wild salmon from Hokkaido were on display for sale in the refrigeration unit which I could not believe. The salmon were probably stocked for the new year mass buying frenzy that usually goes on the last couple of days in December. The price per salmon was ¥1,280 which I consider cheap, so bought a good supply of them; well as many as I could cram into my freezer for dehydrating later. Ideally, salmon for dehydrating should be fresh and not frozen but what is one to do in Japan with lack of space to install a large freezer? When I brought the salmon home I immediately cut one of the salmon into sections to make sure it was “wild” with the deep red color of the meat as presented at the market where I bought the salmon from.
Salmon jerky is a great source of protein as well as Omega-3 fat and salmon jerky is almost the ideal way to deliver those important food sources as well as vitamins. After dehydrating the salmon with the recipe I have developed, the salmon doesn’t taste like fish at all and is a great snack food. The jerky after dehydrating is vacuum packed and can store from what I understand for up to year without going bad. The salmon jerky is marinated for up to 12 hours. A friend in Ireland has a company that processes salmon into jerky selling large quantities at food markets. He’s been a great source of direction on how to dehydrate salmon for jerky. It is too restrictive in Japan to simply sell salmon jerky, however several recipes include brown sugar and soy sauce. My friend in Ireland tells me the Japanese people he knows in Ireland who have tasted his salmon jerky with this flavor love it.
The salmon should be cut into small strips against the grain of the meat then placed in the marinating recipe for twelve hours or so in the refrigerator. I am really looking forward to going down to Tsukiji fish market after the new year to pick up a cooler full of Red Snapper. The friend in Ireland gave me an incredible recipe for Red Snapper jerky I want to try. The other positive development here by dehydrating fish into jerky would be having a six month supply on hand in the event of a major disaster (earthquake) in Japan and not being able to have ready access to a good food source. Immediately after the earthquake in March, 2011 within two days the shelves at the stores where I live were stripped clean of food.