Filling the Freezer

Ben loves salmon.

The guys went fishing a couple of weekends ago. Well, the guys, plus Beth. Hmmm, I’m going to have to change my vocabulary a bit here, since I can’t refer to just “the men” anymore.  Regardless, they all went dipnetting in Chitna a couple of weekends ago and came home with seventy-seven beautiful reds to fill our freezer.

The left after work on Friday, drove for six hours to the Copper River, unloaded the ‘Burban and the trailer, and hauled everything down to their fishing spot. And THEN they commenced to fish. All night. And all the next morning and early afternoon. Once the fish box was full, they packed up and came home Saturday night.

The Processing Plant

The Fillet-ers





















Erin the Packager – she’s tough, don’t mess with her.

Sunday afternoon (after sleeping until 12 p.m.) we set up the processing plant beside the garage. Jay, Nick, Erin and Scott came over to help us with getting the fish filleted and packaged. While Ben, Scott, Nick and Jay filleted, I scraped the carcasses. Erin and Dave packaged everything. Wyatt stayed in the house, so sick he could barely stand up right, poor guy. After all the fish were processed, and everyone else cleaned up the mess, I took the “scrapings” inside to turn into salmon sausage.

Salmon Sausage

30 pounds salmon chunks (no bones or skin please)

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup Kosher salt

1 t. freshly ground black pepper

½ t. freshly ground white pepper

½ t. cayenne

2 T. dill weed

¼ cup sage

Mix all the spices together so there are no lumps in the mixture. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the salmon and stir together. Use your hands to do this, it’s most efficient. I divided the salmon between four big bowls, then sprinkled on the spices before stirring together. This ensured that the spices were evenly distributed.

I ran it all through the sausage grinder attachment on my KitchenAid. Package as desired. I put mine in 2 pound packages.

How do I use this stuff? I’m so glad you asked…

Salmon Burgers – simply use 1/3 pound to form into a large thin patty, grill for just a few minutes on a side. Serve in a really good bun that isn’t too thick or chewy and slathered with plenty of tartar sauce.

 Salmon Sausage – use 1/6 pound to form into a small thin patty and fry for just a minute or so per side. Serve with fried potatoes (or biscuits) and scrambled eggs.

Salmon meatballs – form into walnut-sized balls and bake at 350* for 12 minutes. Serve with dilled rice or lemony pasta.

The freezer is now full of salmon; and it’s time to pick blueberries, but since we still have some left from last year, I think we’ll let this year’s harvest go by. Besides, moose season will be here soon and we’ll need room in the freezer to take advantage of whatever the men, plus Beth bring home. 🙂

This little guy was hanging out in the front yard. He seems to have an appreciation for the flowers. grrr

May your freezers and pantry’s be as full as they need to be.

Love, Renée


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