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Baccalau (Salted Cod) - How long does it keep?

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suse Apr 29, 2007 05:04 AM

I know that the whole point of salting cod was originally to preserve it. I bought some some time ago and put it in the back of the fridge - silly me - not the place to put it, if you actually plan on using it. How long does it keep in the fridge and do you have any recipes that would make me want to give it a spot up front?

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  1. phelana RE: suse Apr 29, 2007 05:04 AM

    Honestly I would say years...it's what the slaves used to eat and they had no fridges.

    1. hotoynoodle RE: suse Apr 29, 2007 10:24 AM

      storing it in the fridge and at room temp are different. but that stuff is pretty indestructible.

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        AnnaEA RE: suse Apr 29, 2007 01:40 PM

        I've kept salt cod in the fridge for six months and not noticed any deterioration in the quality - I actually tend to lay in a bit of a store in it, since it's availability in my area varies.

        I make cod cakes out of it - here's the recipe.

        Soak over night one lb of salt cod. The next day, boil the cod until it starts to come apart in flakes, and drain well. Boil 1 lb of potatoes (not with the cod! it would be too salty) -- you can also use leftover baked or mashed potatoes - peel or not, as you like. I like. Chop a large onion. Throw all of the above into a bowl, put a good grind of pepper on it, and mix together lightly. Crack an egg or two over it all, and mix together thoroughly -- you should have a a potatoey mass flecked with larger pieces of cod and onion.

        Shape into cakes about the size of a small hamburger, and cook in butter over medium heat until well browned on each side. Taste, and realize why someone once thought that frozen fishsticks were worth inventing -- these things are like fishsticks that have achieved nirvana, but remained on earth to enlighten the rest of us.

        1. Will Owen RE: suse May 1, 2007 11:33 AM

          The real baccalau, the bone-dry stuff, you could stack it in the garage if you wanted to! The boxed kind is not preserved so fiercely; it's meant to be kept under refrigeration, but if it's in a wooden box it will dry out a lot more after a while. I had some that was almost a year old and very dry indeed. It took two days and several changes of water to refresh, instead of the usual overnight with one or two changes.

          1. foodmonk RE: suse May 1, 2007 01:33 PM

            Literally, forever. The amount of salt in that piece of fish is enough to preserve it for eternity. I would not store it some place humid like a refrigerator, though. I imagine that might do something weird to the texture or it might absorb some off flavors.

            5 Replies
            1. re: foodmonk
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              suse RE: foodmonk May 1, 2007 02:35 PM

              I have two small wooden boxes I've had for about a year - put them both in freezer bags in the fridge. I'll give it a shot, but from what I'm reading here, it's unlikely that they will have gone bad. Thanks for all the helpful advice.

              1. re: suse
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                tom porc RE: suse May 2, 2007 02:12 AM

                My grandmother soaks hers for 3 days. I made her place it out on the porch to keep the house from smelling of cod.

                1. re: tom porc
                  Athena RE: tom porc May 2, 2007 02:44 AM

                  Codfish and potatoes is Sunday morning breakfast in Bermuda and codfish cakes (like AnnaE's above) are made from the leftovers - though we add lots of chopped flat leaf parsely and some fresh thyme. I skip the breakfast and go straight to the codfish cakes, they are heavenly with sherry peppers sprinkled on them.

              2. re: foodmonk
                Will Owen RE: foodmonk May 2, 2007 10:39 AM

                "I would not store it some place humid like a refrigerator, though." That's true if you have an old-fashioned fridge, but the modern frost-free ones are in fact quite dry. That's why (as I noted above) the cod I had in there for ten months or so actually dried out more. As for off flavors, I'm really careful about anything that might cause those, since I keep most of my flours and baking mixes in there, and they absorb odd flavors like crazy.

                1. re: foodmonk
                  a
                  AnnaEA RE: foodmonk May 2, 2007 01:13 PM

                  I've never had a problem with texture or taste changing or deteriorating in the fridge -- I get salt cod from my fishmonger -- dry barky slabs wrapped in paper, and from the grocer -- small wooden boxes, with small fillets folded up into them with paper around. I seal both in large plastic storage bags in the fridge.

                  Suse -- the cod in boxes is probably the same stuff I buy -- norwegian salted cod. It should be fine.

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