Drying Cod

For hundreds of years, rural Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have salted and dried cod fish. These fish in the past were placed on flakes or flat rocks along beaches to dry under the sun and the wind. The commercial cod fishery and the process of salting and drying fish was an onerous task for the entire family unit.

Today with mainly a recreational food fishery, most cod in Newfoundland are spread out on homemade racks for drying or even hung on clotheslines.

The clothesline allows for a good draw of wind to help dry the product and give it that required finish.

Salted cod and boiled potatoes from the garden always make for a delicious meal, with the leftovers being turned into famous fish cakes. A fish cake is a mixture of mashed up potato and codfish formed in a patty and fried in a hot pan until golden brown on each side.

Drying cod made is an age old process that is quintessentially part of the fabric of rural Newfoundland and Labrador. Without cod and the process of drying, the Newfoundland and Labrador we know today and in the past would be vastly different. It was cod that created the opportunity for settlement along our many hundreds of coves and bays over the past 500 years. We can learn much about our future by reflecting on some processes that got us here and that same process that will likely go unchanged well into the next century.

Enjoy some salted cod this winter as you plan your vacations to rural NL!

Christopher Mitchelmore

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