Smoked Salmon - Tasty Treats from the Sea

While the waters of the Atlantic have been devastatingly over fished today for Salmon to be placed onto countless million dinner tables each year, the waters of Alaska are still very well populated with fish due to the fact of the guidelines fishermen have to follow in Alaska. In the nineteenth century almost all commercial Salmon were pulled from the Atlantic. Being canned in New England to be eagerly shipped off to California in the 1840s, and by the middle of the 1860's the tasty delights were actually being produced in California and then carried off to the east!

Today all Atlantic salmon come from Canada or Europe, while the waters of Alaska still teem with fish. This is due to modern methods of managing the seasonal fisheries in Alaska. Of the one billion pounds of salmon produced commercially worldwide, about 70% comes from farms, but not so in Alaska. All Alaskan salmon are wild, living free in the waters of the Pacific Ocean before returning to the rivers where they were born.

Alaska is also the home to over 130 species of predators which also consume Salmon. For this reason among others the Salmon market in Alaska is watched closely for any overfishing that could cause instabilities in the Alaskan environment. This is why there are such vast numbers of the wonder fish today.

The close resource of Salmon made made it a common meal for the native people of Alaska due to the wide numbers of them throughout the year and the simplicity of smoking and preserving. The natives of Alaska respect this well desired product with tales from the past of Seas Gods taking away the Salmon if they were disrespected in anyway.

There are many combinations of smoking to choose from when smoking Alaskan Salmon. Things which are considered in the smoking process are the temperatures, and the type of cure to be used. Cold smoking gives a lighter smoked taste, but offer more of the natural flavor of the Salmon, while hot smoking produces a much more smokier taste.

Spices, and cures also play vital roles in the smoking process of salmon. The veterans of smoking often have a priced recipe for their cures. Dry cures are a mix of herbs or fruit, sea salt, and sugar. This is used commonly to produce cursed, not smoked fish. Wet cure means the meat must be soaked in a solution of brine which can contain pepper, sugar, other spices, and salt.

The actual smoking process varies as well. Hot-smoking produces a stronger smoke flavor and a drier fish. Cold-smoking will result in a gentler smoke flavor and a softer or oilier texture. The species of salmon will also affect the flavor. There are five different species of salmon in Alaskan waters, each with a different taste.

Today shoppers can easily find smoked salmon in their local supermarket. This is usually cold-smoked farm-raised fish. But the true connoisseur will look to Alaskan Smoked Salmon. The combination of brine recipes, the woods used in the smoking process, the different temperatures in the smokehouse, the species and the wild origin of the salmon produces an array of magnificent flavors that rival the vintages of fine wine.

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