Adding salt to cod is a method that can be traced all the way back to the 15th Century. It's a technique that was developed to preserve fish ahead of long journeys, ensuring that sailors had the nutrition they needed for months at sea. Salt has antibacterial properties, so it gives fish a longer shelf life and makes it suitable for storing at warmer temperatures – hence this method of preserving fish became popular in hotter countries, such as Spain and Portugal.
Norwegian saltfish has a distinctive pale yellow colour and a delicate texture. Its flavour is exquisite – mature and delicious. It’s these qualities that have made our particular variety of saltfish so popular.
Transforming cod into saltfish is a simple process, but one that has been refined over thousands of years. To this day, the only ingredients we add are salt and time, which enable the high quality raw product to mature.
Step one: Salting
There are a few different ways that fish can be salted – dry salting, brining or pickling. Here in Norway, we tend to pickle our fish so that the water doesn’t run out of the container, but is instead used to cover the fish.
Step two: Maturation
The cod is then layered and left to mature over a period of 3-4 weeks. The fish can stay in its container for longer, as it will reach a point where no more salt can be absorbed. The maturing process gives the salted cod its distinct and desired flavour – as it does for high quality cheese or wine.
Step three: Sorting
The water is removed from the containers and the saltfish is sorted according to quality and size. There are three quality standards – superior, universal and mixed – and a range of sizes from ‘kid’ to ‘jumbo’.
Hung FaiSpanish chef
Catch is key
Creating delicious saltfish requires the very best in raw materials. Luckily, Norway has some of the largest cod stocks in the world. Between February and April, shoals of millions of fish make their way from the Barents Sea to the spawning grounds on Norway’s northern coast. The fishermen make the most of the abundance of high quality cod, swiftly taking their nets to the seas.
In order to make quality saltfish, it’s essential that the fishermen cut the throat of the fish immediately and let it bleed out in flowing seawater. This ensures that most of the blood is removed before salting. Saltfish can also be made from cod that has been frozen, so we are able to produce it year-round.
Millions of fish make their way from the Barents Sea to the spawning grounds on Norway’s northern coast.
Saltfish can also be made from cod that has been frozen, so we are able to produce it year-round.
Throughout the season there is a strict managing and monitoring process in place to ensure quality at every stage.
Saltfish has a very high salt content and must be soaked before eating. Follow these simple instructions to enjoy delicious saltfish every time.
Rinse the saltfish in clean, cold water to remove the excess salt, and then place the fish into a bowl to soak. There should be at least 3X as much water as fish and the water should be between 6-8°C.
Pour fresh water over the saltfish every 8 hours.
The saltfish will be ready to cook after 48 hours.
In order to make the most of your saltfish, we recommend the following cuts.
Nutritious and delicious
One of the main benefits of preserving cod is locking in all of the natural nutrition for a later date. Saltfish is tasty and easily digested; it also contains many of the nutritional properties of fresh cod. It is rich in protein and vitamin D, so your customers can enjoy a delicious meal with all of the added health benefits.
Questions on saltfish
Norway's fish industry operates in accordance with EU food safety legislation. Our Food Safety Authority is responsible for checking food safety, recommending new measures and drawing up regulations. The Scientific Committee for Food Safety is responsible for conducting risk assessments
Yes – in fact it’s encouraged. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that women eat more seafood while pregnant.
The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety has concluded that it is safe to eat sushi while pregnant, so this extends to raw saltfish. If you are preparing raw fish, make sure that the cooling chain has not been broken during transportation. You must freeze the fish first to kill any parasites.