Alaska has many of the most beautiful nature and wildlife sanctuaries in the world. The absolute beauty of the vast diversity of land scape’s and wildlife is a must see experience for every nature lover. There is so much to explore throughout the year.
The adventure sport fishing
If you like fishing and are excited about an adventurous trip into the wild, there is the yearly salmon run. Most of the salmon migrate in autumn, but some species travel from the ocean back to the rivers where they were born, in spring as well. King Chinook Salmon is one of them.
Wild Salmon has a sort of strange life cycle, they are born in fresh water, then they make their way to the ocean where they mature, put on most of their weight and spend their adult life, then they move back to the fresh water of the rivers, spawn their eggs and die. The cycle then repeats itself. This phenomenon is called the salmon run.
The salmon return to the upper reaches of the river, where they were born to spawn on the gravel of the bottom of the river.
Why they return to their birthplace when they die anyway remains a question, but they do it with canny precision and this whole cycle has a disproportionately large effect on the environment, the salmon return from the ocean with high levels of sulfur, nitrogen, carbon and phosphorus, these nutrients accumulated in their bio- mass during their lifetime in the ocean have significant consequences for other wildlife that feed on the species.
Not only has it a knock on effect on the next generation of salmon, but the nutrients from the carcasses are also washed downstream to estuaries where birds living in those areas benefit.
While the salmon are busy finding their way home, grizzly bears, eagles, and fisherman come out to catch some salmon. This is another salmon run.
When you are a sports fisherman and have been salmon fishing before, I guess that you know how to leave some for the grizzlies, or else you would probably not be reading this, but if you are new to the game and like to try a great outing and I am sure you will have a great time, best is to go with someone who has experience and knows the area, just to avoid walking into a big brown furry fellow.
Catching a good number of salmon, full of valuable nutrients, is well on the cards and when you are camping they make a great meal on an open campfire.
The right time, right place and a little luck, could leave you with a bigger catch than you can consume, which leaves you with a bounty of salmon to take home and consume at another time.
There are many ways to turn salmon into some incredible delicacies, you can cold smoke, hot smoke, portion the fillet for grilling or pan frying, cut steaks or you can retort can the meat.
Cold smoke, hot smoke, portioned fillet or steaks can all be kept vacuum packed and frozen. If you are in for some canned salmon you should try to can in retort pouches.
Retort pouches have a number of important advantages compared cans or jars.
Retort pouches save storage space
Retort times for various types of seafood vary even though the pressure remains consistent with meat retort at 10 Lbs.
Seafood can be seasoned, fried and hot or cold smoked before retort to add extra flavor. Do not cook the product all the way through, the retort process takes care of that. Add sauce or other additives e.g. herbs and spices to the pouch to your liking.
Below is a little table with the advised retort times for salmon. These have been comonly used but are not official timelines. (There are no FDA guidelines for home canning with retorts)
|Pressure pounds: 10-12||½ pt< = (2 or 4 oz retort)||pint = (8 oz retort)||Quart = (16 oz retort)|
|Salmon||110 min||130 min||160 min|
Make sure to follow the safety and canning instructions as provided by your home- caning supplier.
Experience a great fishing outing. Enjoy a great cooking experience and treat yourself and your family throughout the year to some great tasting wild Alaska salmon.
By: Marinus Hoogendoorn