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September 1st, 2008

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Indian Method of Skinning Fish
From the Bull Cook by George Leonard Herter

The North American Indians, with the exception of the Navajos and Cheyennes who will not eat fish, have always been great fish eaters. Fish they desired to skin or skin and scale at the same time they simply beheaded and dressed or filleted and put the fish or fillets in boiling water for a minute for so. They then took the fish out of the boiling water and pulled off its skin and scales. After a fish or fillet has been in boiling water a minute or so, its skin thickens and the glue-like mucous bond between the skin and flesh loosens, making it possible to peel the skin off the flesh as easy as peeling the skin off a banana. If you like the skinless, mild tasting fish, this method is by far the best to use to skin fish. The hot water not only thickens the skin and loosens its mucous bond to the flesh but it dissolves the bond and fat between the skin and flesh which contains most of the strong odors of the fish.

For Skinning Fillets of Fish

If you have a hot water faucet in your home, let the water run until it is as hot as possible, the hotter the better. Take and run a fork into the thick end of your fillet as the illustration shows. Run it just into the flesh, not through the skin. Let the hot water run on the skin of the fillet for 45 seconds. Test the skin and see if it will come off easily. If it does not, leave it under the hot water for another 15 seconds. This will make the skin so it can be easily peeled off on most fish. On fish with extra heavy or tough skins it may take 15 to 30 seconds longer. If you do not have a hot water faucet in your home, simply place the fillet in a vessel of hot water that is nearly boiling or just boiling slightly, using the same timing as above. ~ GLH


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