Ice

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    Posted: 06 May 2022 at 4:24pm
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Salt ice, or fresh ice?

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote smudge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 May 2022 at 6:19pm
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Fresh water ice. Why? I make it myself as I have an ice maker. We take two 90 litre bins for a big day and we either fill each half with ice or fill one totally. Once we start catching, the fish get killed and go into the ice, once there are three or four, or five we pour some water in the bin to make a slurry. 

As we know, ice is pretty cold. Fresh water ice starts to thaw from 0 degrees Celsius upwards. What a slurry does is transmit heat much better than just ice will therefore the fish will cool down faster in a slurry. We don't add enough water to melt all the ice, because then that fish graveyard temperature will start to rise. When we get home we drain the water as the fish is chilled and the ice will keep the fish cold.

When you drain the water it will be cloudy from fish blood, fish poop and slime. I'd rather not leave it sitting in that overnight. Not the end of the world but not the best either.

If possible we fillet the next day when the fish flesh has set and the fish has been through rigor mortis. Plus we like a few beers after fishing and sharp knives and beer isn't usually flash.

Having said that I have two lovely fish fillets from today for dinner tonight that were caught today, thanks to Mars. The flesh was set perfectly and he just used frozen bottles filled with water and sea water added but it's hardly the middle of summer. Yes you can get too fussy and it is one of the few things I am fussy about is chilling fish down.

Salt water flake ice is the best though. Why? Well only my opinion but the big advantage that salt ice has is that it is flaky so it makes a much better contact with the surface of the fish. No need to slurry (that's a backward step IMO) so less risk of transmission of bacteria. As my method works well for day trips I'm all for it. If you're storing fish for longer periods then yes salt flake ice is better.

I dunno about you guys but I don't have affordable access to 90 litres of salt ice, but I can take as much fresh water ice as I want.

I know Matt Watson had a great thing about salt ice and it was all very scientific, apparently salt ice has less bacteria. And I agree, no slurry, less bacteria. I don't claim to have the knowledge that MW has - yes I'm a big fan - so just be careful where you get your salt water from to wash your fillets. Remember most city beaches around the country have very high faecal bacteria levels after heavy rain.

To address that, i don't wash my fillets until they are ready to cook. Trust me, washing them in fresh water just before cooking wont turn them to mush.

I'm not an expert but our fish is pretty good. Commercial guys keep their fish for many days, keep it at 1 degree C and it will be fine. That's around the melting point of fresh water ice.

I guess you can tell it is something I have strong thoughts on Big smile.

I'm keen to hear how others do it, but I've been disappointed so many times with poorly treated fish.




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Originally posted by Pierre'o Pierre'o wrote:

Salt ice, or fresh ice?

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Salt ice for fish, fresh ice for drinks. Don't get it the wrong way around.

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote smudge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 May 2022 at 6:54pm
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I have to agree, at least in part. Rum & salt aren't a good combo
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Pierre'o Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 May 2022 at 7:07pm
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I like Smudge’s tip about leaving the filleting to the next day. By the time I’ve rinsed the motor, washed the boat down and filleted the 7 snapper, I’m knackered.
BTW, fresh ice is cheaper than salt…
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote smudge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 May 2022 at 7:47pm
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Originally posted by Pierre'o Pierre'o wrote:

I like Smudge’s tip about leaving the filleting to the next day. By the time I’ve rinsed the motor, washed the boat down and filleted the 7 snapper, I’m knackered.
BTW, fresh ice is cheaper than salt…

Give it a go Pierre'o. Some fish is great the same day - especially kingfish, kahawai, trevally, mackerel, tuna & shellfish especially - all the stuff that's great raw with soy & wasabi. Fish that tastes better the next few days? IMO snapper, gurnard definitely improve with at least a day or two in the fridge..

The one fish that I reckon is at its beat as a same day catch - especially when cared for properly, is kahawai.

Can't beat a properly chilled fish
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Fish Addict Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 May 2022 at 8:03pm
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Smudge is onto it.  And don't skimp on the quantity of ice for the sake of saving a few dollars.  Disapprove  Like Smudge I've been disappointed several times as a consequence of fish being treated poorly.
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I know one thing Ice can be expensive, what sort of ice making do you have. Salt ice doesn’t need to be made from seawater, Bazza was telling me the other day it can be made by adding salt to fresh water.

I don’t wash my filets until they go in the fry pan either. But the big problem I have is my bait freezer pooed it’s self last year and I haven’t found a cheap one yet.
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Originally posted by Kandrew Kandrew wrote:

... I know one thing Ice can be expensive ...

And the result of having insufficient ice even more so.  I recall an occasion where in the order of of 130kg of Blue Eye Trevalla (Bluenose to Kiwis) was wasted because the skipper (rec) thought six 2l frozen milk containers in a uninsulated deck hatch would be OK.  Fkwit
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote smudge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2022 at 3:09am
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Originally posted by Fish Addict Fish Addict wrote:

Originally posted by Kandrew Kandrew wrote:

... I know one thing Ice can be expensive ...

And the result of having insufficient ice even more so.  I recall an occasion where in the order of of 130kg of Blue Eye Trevalla (Bluenose to Kiwis) was wasted because the skipper (rec) thought six 2l frozen milk containers in a uninsulated deck hatch would be OK.  Fkwit

Ohhh crikey that's a shocker.

My ice maker is an old one that a fridgey mate got for me, it cost me $100 or so. It makes two chook bags full of ice plus some in 24 hours. To me the real benefit of salt ice is that it is flaked and packs perfectly around the fish.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Pcj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2022 at 4:50am
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Originally posted by Kandrew Kandrew wrote:

I know one thing Ice can be expensive, what sort of ice making do you have. Salt ice doesn’t need to be made from seawater, Bazza was telling me the other day it can be made by adding salt to fresh water.

I don’t wash my filets until they go in the fry pan either. But the big problem I have is my bait freezer pooed it’s self last year and I haven’t found a cheap one yet.
Try trade depot,got a nice chest freezer,mila?unknown to me,2 yr warrenty but 10 yr on compressor?yeah i cant work it out either but big enough for bait burley etc,baskets for house hold food $350. so if it last 5 yrs will be happy ,had it 3 yrs so far.think 145 lt
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Pcj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2022 at 4:50am
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Originally posted by Pcj Pcj wrote:

Originally posted by Kandrew Kandrew wrote:

I know one thing Ice can be expensive, what sort of ice making do you have. Salt ice doesn’t need to be made from seawater, Bazza was telling me the other day it can be made by adding salt to fresh water.

I don’t wash my filets until they go in the fry pan either. But the big problem I have is my bait freezer pooed it’s self last year and I haven’t found a cheap one yet.
Try trade depot,got a nice chest freezer,midea?unknown to me,2 yr warrenty but 10 yr on compressor?yeah i cant work it out either but big enough for bait burley etc,baskets for house hold food $350. so if it last 5 yrs will be happy ,had it 3 yrs so far.think 145 lt
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Crochet Cast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2022 at 8:36am
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I have been making my own salt ice for nearly a year now.

I brought a bag of pool salt and make up the salt water. I store the salt in a bucket with a lid an it’s going to last years.

Sea water is about 30g salt per liter but at this concentration I found my slurry was too cold and basically the slurry froze the fish.
10g/l seems to be the sweet spot for me.

I use some sistema 3 liter containers which means no spilt saltwater in the deep freeze and make up about 8 at a time.

The ice comes out of the containers pretty easily and I break it up a bit with a hammer.

Trying to figure out a better way to break it up and wondered if an cheap electric mulcher would do the trick. Has anyone tried this ?
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote waynorth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2022 at 12:06pm
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Originally posted by smudge smudge wrote:

Trust me, washing them in fresh water just before cooking wont turn them to mush.


Hooray - that's 2 of us in NZ. Kandrew makes 3. Actually, I also wash my fillets in fresh water before freezing or storing in the fridge. Drained & patted dry with paper towels within a couple of minutes and they are just like unwashed fillets, only cleaner. Fish flesh isn't like a sponge - osmosis takes time, both to absorb or release water (a quick dip in brine doesn't prepare your fish for smoking).

Back on topic, commercial fishermen use salt ice for a reason. If fresh was as good/better I imagine they would be using it. I believe it's 2-3 degrees colder than fresh water ice, depending on salt content, so that may be the reason, and as Smudge pointed out, they tend to keep their fish iced down for days sometimes.

Not sure about bacterial concerns using a salt water slurry vs dry packing. Undamaged fish tend to be waterproof, but their slime/faeces/blood is likely to be a lot more contaminated with bacteria than a random bucket of seawater. Soaking them all day in dirty slurry probably isn't ideal, but it does cool them down quickly. 

In a brief stint on a commercial longliner, we would iki then slurry snapper for half an hour or so, then dry pack belly down in a bin with loose salt ice.

We always take frozen water bottles in the chillibin, & use them to do the initial chill of a bucket of salt water when the first fish is caught. Saves the ice, which only goes in once the water is cold. A single bag of salt ice will normally still have a few lumps in it at the end of the day, except for those rare days when we catch a heap of fish. Sometimes, frozen bottles is all we have. Come filleting time the fish seems just as cold, the flesh is firm, and the water bottles are normally still partly frozen. 

With or without ice, the slurry is probably as disgusting as it looks, so if you are holding off filleting until the next day then draining the slurry is probably a good idea. 

The inside of your fridge is several degrees warmer than a slurry with either fresh or salt ice, and the fillets last for days (kahawai excepted) without degrading or suffering from serious bacteria buildup. If your on-boat/at the beach/overnight system gets your catch down below about 4-5 degrees your fish should be fine.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote reel crayze Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2022 at 4:01pm
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If I am going out for a day I will take a couple of  2L milk bottles. One will be empty the other will have fresh water in it for drinking. End of the day I will pour out the fresh water and fill both bottles full of saltwater. I freeze the saltwater that I have got in ice cream containers and then smash up the ice a bit into heavy duty plastic bags  and store in the dog tucker/bait freezer for next time I go out. I also carry a couple of 2L bottles full of frozen seawater [green top denotes salt water, blue fresh]  to add to my ice that I have made and add sea water to make a slurry. I am also not adverse to buying a bag of salt ice if I dont have enough ice. 
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