September 29, 2011

Salt packed anchovies

Every summer, I learn a few new things from my mom. While the kids learn french, I learn homemaking. I even dream that these new tricks will eventually "offset" the carbon emissions of my trip over time ;).

Last year, my mom showed me how to salt pack (cure) anchovies. Under her direction, I proudly prepared my 1st jar of anchovies. A few weeks later, Scott was flying back to the US, the salt packed anchovies carefully wrapped in his undershirts, which I now understand to be a "no-no" for US customs. Once home, a nice surprise awaited him upon unzipping his suitcase ... You guessed it: The juice from the anchovies had leaked all over (and I was not there to wash my hubby's clothes).

This summer around, I turned down the anchovies at the fish market, realizing that my frivolous ideas tend to annoy my sweet husband. But a few weeks upon my return, I went to Fish, a local fish market, looking for them. The store happened to have just cleaned a whole bunch and did not object to filling my mason jar: I came home with the biggest smile on my face and went right to work recollecting my mom's teachings.


  • Anchovies
  • Coarse sea salt (I also had Himalayan, so I mixed them)

  • Remove the head and guts of the anchovies and rinse
  • In a jar, pack alternate layers of salt and anchovies (start and end with a thick layer of salt).

  • Seal and refrigerate for three weeks before consuming (some of the salt will melt and turn into brine)
  • When ready to eat, reach for an anchovie, peel its flesh off the bone under running water (compost the bone and water your plants with the collected water) and soak until de-salted to your taste (a few minutes). We like them in our salads or on our pizzas.

That's it!

As you know it, I love recipes that call for only a couple of ingredients. I have found that homemade anchovies are not only easy to make, they also save on the transportation and recycling of the store-bought kind, avoid our exposure to BPA from lined cans, support local / sustainable business, and easily transfer the homemaking knowledge from my mom to my kids. Something, that is sadly getting lost through consumerism and our disposable society.