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Fish Pickled in One Week and a Half

Updated on January 12, 2018
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Char is a writer who has written for the Freelance Writers International, Yahoo, Constant Content, Squidoo and now Hubpages.

The Fish and Brine in the Jar


Fish - Salt - Vinegar - Drain - Brine - Eat

Easy to make. Even easier to eat!

I know. You're saying to yourself... "yuck! How could this possibly taste good?"

If you have ever had pickled herring, the flavor is sweet and sour, the wine adds a fruity taste, the fish is soft, but firm to the bite. I don't know about you, but there is NOTHING worse than a mushy, fishy tasting piece of pickled fish.

Nope. You will not throw up when eating my recipe for pickled fish.

You will actually like it... [unless you do not like pickled things.. THEN, there is no hope for you.]

Be brave. Try it. If you feel unsuccessful, you can contact me and I can sell you a jar that is already made.

The general gist:

First you have to cut up fish, put in bowl, add salt, cover with vinegar. You don't even have to remove the bones. They soften up with the vinegar.

Soak for 6 days in your refrigerator.

At this point, you will need to drain the salt/vinegar solution from the bowl of fish. Yes, that is right. You are DONE with the vinegar/salt solution. Just throw that stuff away. You will need to run cool water on the fish and let it soak in fresh water for one hour. MEANWHILE, bring the brine to a boil and turn it off. Let it cool. When it is cool, add the wine, then pour it over the fish. Brine must be cool before you add it to the fish.

You really don't want to put it on the fish before it is cool because your fish will probably get mushy because the warm brine will 'cook' the fish. Don't do that. If you do not LIKE onions, just don't put them in with your fish. Leave them out of the recipe. It takes a couple days for the fish to absorb the wine mixture. It will be worth the wait.

Soak Fish in Vinegar and Salt


Ten Days From Start to Finish

First, CUT your RAW FISH into one inch pieces. Place in large, covered bowl. For each QUART of cut fish, add ONE HALF CUP of canning SALT. Add enough VINEGAR TO COVER fish. You can leave the bones in the fish, as the vinegar will soften them.

YOU will need to store these in the refrigerator as they are curing. Keep them cool.

Leave the salt and vinegar on the fish for SIX days. You will need to stir each day. The fish will turn a white color.

After six days, DRAIN the salt and vinegar and RINSE with fresh, cold water until the salt is somewhat rinsed off.

Slice an ONION into rings and set aside. You will need to loosen the rings.

Wash up pint jars and place the fish into the JARS, layering them with onion slices.

In a pan on the stove top, MIX UP THE FOLLOWING:

4 cups of white vinegar

4 cups of white sugar

1 package of pickling spice. [about 1/4 cup]

bring to a BOIL and then COOL.

When completely cooled, ADD the wine.

2 cups of Thunderbird Wine, or Silver Satin wine.

Take this mixture and pour into the jars of fish and onion.

Place a lid on the jar and place in your refrigerator.

Eat in FOUR days.


This is a Photo of a Crappie


Source of Fish to Use

Generally, I suggest going fishing.

You will need to procure at least one Northern PIke although perfectly suitable pickled fish can be made from Sunfish or Crappies.

To catch crappies or sunfish, it is recommended that you use wax worms. A small bobber is recommended as the fish can get finicky about taking your hook if they can sense some restriction when they grab the worm.

Put your line down, jig it a bit. As the bobber starts to go under, wait a few seconds, then SET the hook.

Pull your fish up.

You will need approximately 15 sunfish for a batch of pickled fish. It takes up to 2 Northern's. Please be aware that the fish pieces will shrink as they cure in the salt/vinegar solution, so plan accordingly.

If you are going to catch a Northern, you will need to use small minnows. Shiners are what are used in Minnesota. Do NOT use razorbacks. They are not suitable.

This is a picture of a 2 pound crappie. This particular fish was so large that we decided to not eat it. One 2 pound Crappie would make a good batch of pickled fish.


You Can Soak in Salt in a Jar


Just in... in the JAR

Newsflash: you can do ONE jar at a time...

cut up fish, put in jar, add 1/2 cu canning salt, fill jar with vinegar. Shake to spread salt around. Add more vinegar to cover fish. Let sit in refrigerator for 6 days. Rinse. Make brine. Thunderbird Wine works best. Silver Satin also works. Slice onions. Layer fish and onions. Add brine. Voila!!!!

How much easier than that.

Oh, yeah. Refrigerate them and eat after about three days.

What Salt/Vinegar Will Look Like

salt and vinegar will turn your fish white. It will be cloudy.

This is normal!

Cheap Wine Works Best

Silver Satin is a sweet, lightly dry wine. Thunderbird is another that works well.

How About You

Do you make your own pickled fish?

See results


It's winter and we have started making a few jars of pickled fish, and it occurred to me that it would be interesting, to you, if I would take pictures of how I make my brine mix.

Since we like to have the brine mix handy, we mix up enough to do four jars of fish. The recipe is for one jar, or quart of fish, but I am making enough brine to do more than one, so, I used a quart jar for my measure, instead of a measuring cup.

First, fill the quart jar to the top with white sugar, put it in your pan. Then, fill the same jar up with vinegar. The amount of vinegar and sugar is the same. Then, drop a mesh ball into the mixture that has pickling spice enclosed. I use a wedding circle and a plastic twistie. The wedding circles are those round, mesh creations that people use to put candies in for weddings. They are extremely handy for pickling spice.

Bring the mixture to boil and turn down to low for about 15 minutes. Then, shut heat off and let cool. Remove the spice circle. When cool, take the same quart jar, and fill it half full with Silver Satin wine and pour it into the container with your sugar mixture. It is now ready to pour on your fish.

Recipe for one quart of fish. I made a 'four batch' using a quart jar for my mixture [4 cups sugar, 4 cups vinegar, 2 cups wine]
Recipe for one quart of fish. I made a 'four batch' using a quart jar for my mixture [4 cups sugar, 4 cups vinegar, 2 cups wine]
Easy, premixed pickling spice
Easy, premixed pickling spice
sugar in pan, quart jar full
sugar in pan, quart jar full
quart jar of vinegar
quart jar of vinegar
stir sugar and vinegar
stir sugar and vinegar
spices in wedding circle, secured with plastic twistie
spices in wedding circle, secured with plastic twistie
floats in mixture and starts to discolor sugar/vinegar. Bring to a boil, turn down to simmer for 15 minutes. cool.
floats in mixture and starts to discolor sugar/vinegar. Bring to a boil, turn down to simmer for 15 minutes. cool.
let cool with cover on.
let cool with cover on.
Use very inexpensive wine, Thunderbird or Silver Satin. Sweet, fruity wine.
Use very inexpensive wine, Thunderbird or Silver Satin. Sweet, fruity wine.
Store in Gallon vinegar container on shelf in pantry
Store in Gallon vinegar container on shelf in pantry

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    • athomemomblog profile image

      Genesis Davies 

      5 years ago from Guatemala

      My dad LOVES pickled fish! I personally don't enjoy fish, pickled or otherwise, but this looks like an excellent recipe and very easy. Love that you included instructions for fishing, too!


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