My first Garum

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My first Garum

Postby Laurent_E on Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:34 am

Hi everyone,

I'm fermenting fish for the first time, more precisely making a fermented fish sauce, we could call it a garum I assume.

So before expressing my concerns here's what I used and did :

Ingredients :
- 500 grams of fresh sardines (I had to remove some of it since it did not fit in the jar, so about 450)
- 125 grams of sea salt (25% of the mass of sardines)
- 3/4 teaspoon of grinded pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon of organic lemon zest
- 1 spoon of organic lemon juice
- Boiled water (then cooled down before use)

Material :

- Clean hermetic glass jar (450 ml/ 15,2 oz)

Recipe :

1 - the fish : I did not wash them so to preserve the micro-organisms and left the entrails in.
2 - I cut them in about 1 inch pieces
3 - Put them in the glass jar
4 - Add the salt, pepper, lemon and some water to cover it (I couldn't add much water since the jar was too small)
5 - I had difficulty to mix inside the jar so I properly cleaned a bowl, cleaned the jar back, mixed it all up properly in the bowl, then pour it back in the jar
6 - Closed the jar

Storage :

My recipe says to leave it in a cool place, so I placed it in a cooler bag with other jars so to keep them away from sunlight.
When it's hot during the day I place a cold plate in it and leave it half open.
The author of my recipe also made a 30 days sauce (which is what I'm doing as a it is my first) which consists in leaving the jar in a cool place for 4 days and then transfer it to the fridge for what I would assume to be a secondary fermentation and / or maturation.
I will also open the jars every few days so to remove off-flavors as suggested by the recipe and also so to avoid pathogenic bacterias that develop in anaerobic environements.

My concerns :

I could not add much water, and it has now pretty much sank in the mixture so the surface isn't really covered.
I'm on day 3 now, should I had more sterelized water so to cover it or even maybe lemon juice ?

Fermenting veggies and fruits always make a lot of bubbles as they are rich in sugars, does that explain why my fish doesn't really seem to make bubbles ?

And at last, how do I know if my fish has been infected by a pathogen ? I know the proportion of salt is quite important which greatly reduces risks and well the Romans used to ferment the entrails outside, but I don't want to take any risks.

Thanks in advance, have a nice day !
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