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Smoking Ideal Method to Preserve Mollusc Meat 2004

Smoking Ideal Method to Preserve Mollusc Meat 2004

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Published by: MosySpeed on May 22, 2011
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SPC Trochus Information Bulletin #11September 2004
Foods have been preserved using smoke for mil-lenia and the practice of smoking fish and shellfishhas been around ever since people contemplatedways to preserve a portion of their catch. Smokedproducts in tropical countries have storage prop-erties that enable them to be marketed without theuse of sophisticated refrigeration systems.Fish spoilage can be delayed by many methods,including temperature, pH, and smoke, whicheliminate, or at least reduce, microbial growth,enzyme activity, oxidation or insect infestation.Smoking for example helps to preserve fish byreducing moisture content, thereby retarding bac-teria growth.Due to limited facilities and extreme climatic con-ditions, smoking is carried out as an inexpensiveoption for preservation in less developed coun-tries to reduce and avoid post-harvest loss. Indeveloped countries, smoking is used to obtainproducts that are popular for their texture andflavour. In many developing countries, smoked ordried fish is very popular and continues to be amajor source of inexpensive dietary protein. Thepreservative process, which combines smokingwith salting, drying and heating, gives the producta characteristic and desirable flavour.Today, smoked products are often treated as deli-cacies in many countries. Any species of fish andshellfish can be smoked, and nearly everythingthat comes out of the smokehouse tastes good. Inits simplest form, smoking of meat and fish is sim-ilar throughout the world depending on the endproduct desired.The long storage life of smoked fish is due more tothe drying and cooking process than to the preser-vative value of the chemical compounds depositedon the fish by the smoke. Smoking methods vary, but all are based on the few common principles below:First, the product is treated with salt, eitherdipped in strong brine (very salty water) or cov-ered with dry salt. The process is called curing.During curing, a two-way exchange takesplace, with much of the moisture drawn outand some salt absorbed by the product. Thisprocess may take up to two days.The combination of reduced moisture andincreased salt content in the product inhibitsthe growth of bacteria, a basic principle for allcured meats.Secondly, the product is smoked inside achamber filled with smoke from smoulderinghardwood.The smoking chamber temperature can beadjusted to obtain a “cold” or “hot” smokingprocess.On completion of smoking, the product is leftin the smoking chamber so that the tempera-ture reduces gradually.The methods of cold and hot smoking and theirdifferences are summarised in Table 1.Mussels, scallops, and oysters are some of theimportant mollusc species that are smoked andeaten in different parts of the world.Whole mussels are usually smoked with oak wood. Smoked mussels are delicious as stews orchowders, or eaten with a splash of lemon.Canned smoked mussel meat is popular on theinternational market because of its characteristicflavour.Smoked scallops are an excellent appetizer andoften used as an “anytime-snack”. Italians haveused smoked scallops as their “secret ingredient” inspaghettis for centuries. Similar to mussels andscallops, smoked oysters with their unique flavour,are highly nutritious shellfish and best enjoyedwithout further cooking. Other smoked molluscsinclude the Buccinid gastropods, which usuallyhave a very strong flavour; the product is popularlycalled “scungilli”. In Japan smoked squid meat isincreasingly popular among consumers.Research on smoke curing of molluscs such asmussels, oysters and gastropod meat has been
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Smoking – an ideal method to preserve mollusc meat
 Jamila Patterson
1
1.Suganthi Devadason Marine Research Institute, 44-Beach Road, Tuticorin – 628 001, Tamil Nadu, IndiaEmail: jamilapat@hotmail.com
 
SPC Trochus Information Bulletin #1
1
September 2004
studied in India for a number of years(Muraleedharan et al. 1979; Jeyachandran et al.1988; Shanthini and Patterson 2001; Patterson,2001). These studies indicate that the shelf life of smoked mollusc products may be up to eightmonths.A simple process for smoking mollusc meat inIndia is summarised below.gastropod shells are washed and then boiledfor 20 to 30 minutes.the meat is shucked off the shell using a sharp-tipped knife.the edible portion, such as foot and adductormuscle, is cut off and the mucus and pigmenta-tion in the foot muscle are scrapped off with asharp knife.for smoke curing, the meat is cut into thinslices to facilitate uniform smoking. Blanchingthe meat in a 5% brine solution gives it a saltytaste and removes substantial moisture.the meat is left to dry in the shade for 30 min-utes before smoking; this is an important stepas drying allows subsequent uniform absorp-tion of the smoke.smoking can be done in home-made smokingkilns (Figs. 1–4) or electrical kilns using saw-dust. The flavour of the smoked meat willdepend on the type of wood used.the preservative effect of the smoking processresults from drying and the deposition in theflesh of natural wood smoke chemicals. Duringsmoking, the smoke from the burning woodcontains a number of compounds that inhibit
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LidGrill trays for meatDoor to fill sawdustSawdust
Figure 2.
Inside view of smoking kiln
Figure 3.
Freshly salted and dried meat readyfor smoking
Figure 4.
Smoked meat, ready forconsumption or storage
Figure 1.
An oil drum modified to be used as a smoking kiln

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