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After a day fishing, you have to bring them home for the cleaning. Even the freshest fish will have a smell to it that may seem overpowering. Chances are that you won’t be eating every fish you caught immediately after catching it. You will have to store some in the fridge or the freezer. That smell can permeate every food item in either place. One answer is to soak the fish in a solution before storing.

Acidic Solutions

Inspect the fish that you are going to prepare. If it is store bought fish and recently purchased yet smells strongly, it is possible that the breakdown of the Trimethlamine, the chemical in fish fat that causes that odor, has already begun. As long as there is no appearance of spoilage, the fish should be safe to eat. If the smell is too overpowering, the fish is probably spoiled. There are two basic types of solutions to use in eliminating the smell from fish by soaking. The first is the acidic and the second is the base solution.

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Add one cup lemon or lime juice to one half gallon fresh water and gently place the fish in the bowl. The solution should just cover the top part of the fish. If you are just getting ready to cook, leave the lemon/lime water and fish out at room temperature for an hour. Ideally, you will prepare ahead of time and let the fish soak overnight in the refrigerator. The acid in the juice will break down the connective tissues of the fish which will reduce the cooking time and help preserve the healthy looking fish color.

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Mix one cup vinegar for every two gallons of water and soak the fish in this solution overnight in your fridge. The acidic nature of the vinegar will do what the juice will, without adding the lemony flavoring. Rinse the fish well prior to cooking.

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Pour two cups of wine into a bowl and place one fish at a time into the bowl, turn the fish over and coat the other side. Set the fish aside on a pan when you have finished. Pour the remaining wine from the bowl over the fish, and if this isn’t enough, add more wine. Let the fish soak either on the counter for one hour or overnight in the fridge.

Base Solutions

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Mix two cups milk with one half cup of salt. Pour into bowl over fish and let it sit overnight. The milk draws out the smell from the fish and absorbs it while the salt permeates the fish. Drain off the milk and rinse prior to cooking.

Spread soy bean paste onto the fish and coat the entire surface of each fish you are soaking. Place the fish in a shallow pan and add cold water to just cover the fish. Let the pan sit out for one hour while the proteins in the soy bean paste absorb the odor. Rinse fish before cooking.

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Add one cup peeled ginger, one half cup chives, one cup water and a little salt in a food processor. Blend until a paste is formed and coat the fish with this mixture. Let it stand at room temperature for an hour and rinse the fish prior to cooking.