by Cassie Steele –
Fishing is one of the most popular recreational activities in America. The Recreational Boating And Fishing Foundation reports that 47 million Americans fish each year. Freshwater fishing is the nation’s favorite form of fishing, with 38.1 million fishermen and women taking to freshwater lakes and rivers, most commonly found in the country to hook their catch. However, fishing in the country can be much more than a pastime. Fishing for food is a convenient, fun and low-cost way to feed your family. But, before you pack the latest fishing technology and gear in your truck, it’s essential you know how to safely source your dinner.
Catching your dinner
When it comes to fishing for a nutritious dinner, fish is the perfect choice as it’s packed full of protein. However, you must ensure you fish in a body of water which is free from chemicals. Nearby farms and factories in the country may inadvertently contaminate local water with their waste. As a result, the Environment Protection Agency advises that you check for warning signs of pollutants by lakes and rivers, contact your local environmental health department and catch younger fish. To ensure you get the best catch, you’ll require a variety of fishing equipment. It’s worth considering a subscription tackle box if you regularly fish for food. Every month, you’ll get different fishing gear on your doorstep that will provide you with all you need to catch a healthy and inexpensive meal.
Storing your catch
Storing fish after you’ve caught it is an intricate process. It’s best to keep the fish alive for as long as possible by keeping it on your line and in the water. For optimum freshness, your catch will need to be transported home from the country in an ice bucket. Even if you’re planning on cooking the fish on a fire in the country, it will need to be stored in ice before being prepared for cooking. It’s essential that the fish is placed in ice as soon as it’s no longer alive to prevent it from deteriorating and turning bad. Failing to do this will result in it becoming unsafe to eat in as little as two hours.
Cooking and cleaning
As pollutants can remain on a fish long after catching it, the EPA advises removing the skin, fat and internal organs prior to cooking. Safe cooking is also crucial as this can kill off remaining pollutants in the fish. Make sure that the internal temperature of fish is at 145°F before serving. Fatty parts of the fish are the most likely to store pollutants. Therefore, avoid consuming as much of this fat as possible. Additionally, when it drains off, don’t use it to cook additional produce as it will contaminate that food too. When cooking your meal in the country, never throw this fatty oil into the environment as it poses a risk to wildlife. Instead, pour it into a disposable container and discard when you’re back home.
When fishing for food to feed your family in a cost-effective way, be sure to take precautions to ensure the fish you catch is safe to consume. Avoiding pollutants, and practicing safe storage techniques are a must. Similarly, correct cooking procedures should always be followed.
Cassie Steele is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Everything Country.