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Do-It-Yourself: How to Dry or Smoke Fish, Part 2

Last week we described how to prepare fish by cleaning and salting them. Now, the next steps. Transcript of radio broadcast:

This is the VOA Special English Development Report.

Today we have the second of two reports explaining how to prepare fish by drying or smoking them for future use.

We talked last week about the first steps of cleaning and salting freshly caught fish. Internet users who missed that report can find it at

To dry fish, you will need either a drying table or a place to hang them. If a table is used, it should have a top made of wire screen or thin pieces of wood with space between each piece.

Lay the cleaned, wet salted fish on top of the table. Do not let them touch each other. Be sure that air can reach the fish from all sides, including the top and bottom.

Build a small smoky fire under the drying table for the first day to keep the flies away. After that, you can keep the flies away by covering the fish with a thin cloth. Do not let the cloth touch the fish.

Fish taste better if they are out of bright sunlight while they are being dried. For best results, put the drying table under a tree. Turn the fish over every other day. Small fish will dry in about three days if the air is dry. Large fish will take a week or ten days to dry.

After the fish have dried, place them in a basket. Cover them with clean paper or large leaves. Then put the basket in a cool, dry place, not on the ground.

To smoke the fish, you must first remove as much of the saltwater as possible. The smoking can be done in a large, round metal container. Remove the top of the drum and cut a small opening on one side at the bottom.

Cover the top with a strong wire screen. This is where you put the fish. Build a small fire in the drum by reaching in through the opening at the bottom.

Wood from fruit trees makes good fuel for your fire. Such wood will give the smoked fish good color and taste. Hardwoods such as hickory, oak and ash also burn well.

It is important to keep the fire small, so it does not burn the fish. You want a lot of smoke but very little flame. One way to get a lot of smoke is to use green wood, not dried wood.

You should smoke the fish for five days or longer if you plan to keep them for a long time. After you finish smoking the fish, remove them and let them cool. Then wrap them in clean paper.

Put the fish in baskets and keep them in a cool, dry place off the ground. Dried fish must be kept completely dry until they are eaten.

And that's the VOA Special English Development Report. Transcripts and MP3 archives of our reports can be downloaded at I'm Steve Ember.