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close this bookSmall-Scale Processing of Fish (ILO - WEP, 1982, 140 p.)
close this folderI. SMOKING
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentI.1. Fish preparation prior to smoking
View the documentI.2. Cold smoking
View the documentI.3. Hot smoking
View the documentI.4. Fuel
View the documentI.5. Smoking kilns
View the documentI.6. Preparation of some smoked fish products
View the documentI.7. Packaging and storage of smoked fish


It must be emphasised that smoking alone will not prevent the post-harvest putrefaction in fish. In order to accomplish an effective cure, the water level of the product must also be reduced either by salting or drying, or a combination of the two. Smoked fish is popular in Europe and Africa. Lean fish such as haddock and tilapia, and fatty fish such as mackerel and sardines, are all used to make smoked products. Any fish can be smoked and variations which exist are a result of availability and consumer preference. As for all processed products, the quality of the raw material is important and smoking should never be used as a method for disguising the flavour of stale fish.

Three types of smoking process can be distinguished: cold smoking, hot smoking and smoke drying. In cold smoking, the fish are not cooked and the end product is similar in keeping qualities to fresh fish. Hot smoked fish are cooked, a process which prevents spoilage for only a day or two if the product is not dried. In many traditional processing techniques, there is little distinction between hot smoking and smoke drying which can lead to cooked dried products which tend to break up on handling. Various antimicrobial agents are found in smoke which may have an additional preserving effect on the products, but these are of relatively minor importance when the longer term storage properties of smoked fish are considered.

The actual process for smoking fish will depend to a large extent on the type of kiln used and product required. If, for example, the primary objective of smoking is to produce a product such as banda in West Africa, which has good storage characteristics at ambient temperatures, the drying of the fish is a fundamental aspect of the smoking operation. Effective drying depends on the temperature, velocity and relative humidity of the surrounding air as described in Chapter II.