Pickled Pike

INGREDIENTS:

1 average –size Northern Pike
1 cup pickling salt (this is different than traditional table salt)
1 quart white vinegar
2 cups granulated sugar
4 bay leaves
1 tbsp. whole allspice
2 tsp. whole mustard seed
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
½ lemon, sliced
White onion, sliced
Cold water

DIRECTIONS:

To get started, simply fillet an average-sized pike to remove the skin and scales. You can leave the rib and Y-bones in the fillet; they will dissolve naturally. Cut the fish into bite-sized pieces. To kill parasites, you must freeze pike for at least 48 hours. Because you are not cooking the fish, the pickling process alone will not kill the small, wormlike forms of a parasite called the broad fish tapeworm that pike can meat can harbor.  Once frozen for 48 hours, simply thaw in the refrigerator and your pike is ready for pickling.

In a glass or plastic bowl, dissolve the pickling salt in a quart of water and add chunks of fish. Soak for 24 hours. Drain the water without rinsing the fish. Add a quart of white vinegar to the fish and soak for another 24 hours. Drain, reserving two cups of the vinegar.

In a nonreactive saucepan, add reserved vinegar, ½ cup of water, and sugar. Boil to fully dissolve the sugar. Add spices.  Remove from heat and allow this mixture to completely cool.
Layer fish, lemon, and onion slices in two one-quart mason jars with tight fitting lids. Completely cover with the cooled sugar/ spice solution. Refrigerate for 72 hours to allow flavors to blend, then serve with crackers. STORE IN THE REFRIGERATOR. 

Hints: Try using orange slices instead of the lemon. You can also use pre-blended “pickling spice” – replace the peppercorns, cloves, mustard seed, allspice and Bay Leaves with approx 3 tbsp. of the mix.

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