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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Summer in the Vill

 Well it was a great time with the family, but I am glad to be back in the Last Frontier. I made it home to Anchorage mid July and spent a few days enjoying town and doing a little shopping and mailing. Okay, okay, I got really carried away, but I won't need to shop in town for the rest of the year now! 
Always an adventure, the ride over from St. Mary's was filled with wildlife and lush green leaves all around. I managed to snap a few pics with my phone of a family of foxes. 

Getting back into Mountain Village, I found myself falling right back into the role like I never left. 
The first day int he vill I took a boat ride down to gather cut logs that were stacked to dry this passed spring. Tired the next day, there no excuses to not hp on another boat and fish all night. Catching plenty of fish to fillet out and can (jarring them for use later in the year), I managed to get a little sleep that first weekend. 

Hitting the office, I think I worked 100 hours each of the first two weeks, at least it felt that way... Imaging all the teacher computers for the 2012-2013 school year was a more tedious and problematic affair than any of us realized. With no chance of peeling away from the office or homework long enough to fish, I was delighted to hear from a great friend in the village who wanted to share fish with me. I am so thankful for the monster he saved for me and it truly made my week! I thought I would take the time to explain what it is we do out here for those who may not know. First step, clear a good work surface for your processing. I keep tons of cardboard boxes around for all the game processing I do. 
Next sharpen up your knife really well. I would recommend getting Ziplocks or vacuum bags ready and having lots of paper towels ready, too. When I fillet a fish (any salmon-like critter) I like to start by heading and gutting it at the river. I was actually taught a nifty trick for this process by the friend who gave me this fish, but that will have to wait for another post. Being that this big fella was frozen and now half thawed, I left everything in tact. Starting below the head I cut down to the spine, across both sides of the fish then sliced down the middle to fillet it. I go pretty fast and don't worry about wasting meat. 

Then chunking the best parts of the meat into 2 pound portions, vacuum sealed the choice peices with a Food Saver. The belly meat and parts full of bones I cube up and fill a large mixing bowl with along with the carefully cleaned remains I missed in my haste. 

The trimmings were enough to fill 5 quart jars which I began canning immediately. Some like to take the skin off of this meat, but I don't mind it. Others prefer to marinade or add spices to the jars, but I feel like my fish are more versatile and can be used in any recipe this way. I once made 3 cases of various flavors and ended up with lots of teriyaki and lemon pepper salmon jars... 
(word to the wise: teriyaki burns easily...)