Copper River reds

Dear hungry reader,

The salmon have returned to the rivers, so we Alaskans have, too. My husband and a group of friends spent two days on the Copper River, one of the most famous salmon streams. Regardless of where you live, it’s possible that you’ve seen Copper River sockeye on a menu or in a grocery store.

Dipnetting is one of the most popular methods for subsistence fishing. You lower a long-handled, wide net into the river and scoop the salmon out of the water. This type of fishing is allowed for Alaskan residents only, and in only a few rivers. It’s regulated to help people get their fish for the year while still protecting the salmon population.

When Sam went last week, each Alaskan family was allowed 40 fish. He brought home 35 sockeye, also know as red salmon, and one king salmon. This is a wonderful blessing, but it also means a lot of work. Everyone in the family pitched in over the course of two days, and now we have the salmon filleted and either preserved in jars or frozen in vacuum-sealed bags. Here are a few photos.

A cooler of fish on ice.

Our oldest daughter helping to get sockeye fillets ready for the freezer.

Sam preparing jars for the pressure cooker.

Jars filled with sockeye salmon fillets.

This catch alone will provide us with about 70 meals for the year. For dinners, we thaw the frozen fillets and grill it or bake it in the oven. The jarred salmon is cooked during the pressure cooking process. We store it in the root cellar, and use it to make something similar to tuna salad for sandwiches, salmon burgers, salmon-cream cheese spread, and pasta recipes, as well as just eating it out of the jar. It is some of the most healthy, flavorful meat in the world, and we’re thankful to have it! We’re also thankful to be done with the work. At least until we go king salmon fishing later this week.




4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sue Mathis
    Jun 13, 2011 @ 09:24:10

    YUM!!! Copper River Reds!

  2. ChickaloonJenny
    Jun 14, 2011 @ 08:02:50

    Have you taken a gander out your south window this morning Eowyn?
    The cool rain down here left a liberal dusting of snow on Castle Mt.

    This must be fishing season!

    • A Baer
      Jun 14, 2011 @ 17:57:53

      I was under the impression that it was King Mountain to the South. I am deeply conflicted now, having learned that you kept me under the ruse that Castle Mountain was to the north for 24 years.

  3. Chickaloon Jenny
    Jun 27, 2011 @ 17:25:50

    A Baer, Sam 2 (vicariously),

    How ’bout a cuppa…

    Mal-directed Mama Baer

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