Fish and shellfish
Preserving surplus fish
Before the arrival of refrigeration, preserving fish in salt provided a long-term solution to the problem of how to keep surplus catches. Vast quantities of salt were needed, much of it imported from France, Spain and Portugal.
Smoking, pickling, or simply air-drying fish by hanging it up to dry outdoors were common.
'As fish is so plentiful in this country most of the poor lay in a good stock of dryed fish. [They] have an excellent method of cureing their fish some is smoked and at the door of every poor creature may be seen fish drying in the wind and sun.'
— Stephen Place, footman, 'Journal of a visit to Sutherland', 1832. [Library reference: Acc.11265]
'Fish on the shore at Strathnaver, Sutherland' from William Daniell's 'A Voyage around the coast of Great Britain', London, 1814. [Library reference: MS.6140]
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