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Suppose you brine fish e.g. tuna and then eat the tuna raw i.e. uncooked. Would salt have penetrated completely into the tissues or would only the surface be salty because it is coated with salt water?

If I am looking for complete penetration of a fish which can be eaten raw, which fish should i use and how should I process it?


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Perhaps you'd be interested in ceviche... – Jefromi May 21 '12 at 22:37
This appears to be an exact duplicate of this question:… – FuzzyChef May 22 '12 at 4:43
Actually it is not a duplicate, this asks how much pentration there is i.e. if it's limited to the surface whereas the others asks how to brine in general. – James Wilson May 22 '12 at 16:53
Looks like the same question to me too. In this question you ask “If I am looking for complete penetration of a fish which can be eaten raw, which fish should i use and how should I process it?” while in the other one you also stated “I do not care about taste, flavour or anything else, I just want salt to penetate into all parts of the fish.” Maybe you should reformulate to make the distinction more clear. – Rinzwind May 31 '12 at 7:28
up vote 1 down vote accepted

There are a number of factors that will contribute to how well the salt penetrates the interior of the piece of fish including thickness of the fish, types of tissue that have to be penetrated, and length of brine. The skin creates a significant barrier to salt penetration and the solution will penetrate the meat from its face and from its leaner side. After brining there will be more salt near the lean face than near the skin area. In order to get the most even salt penetration remove the skin, cut the pieces thin like sushi or ceviche, and brine in a 15% salt solution for 2-3 hours. For even penetration you need even contact on both sides of the meat so you either need to suspend the pieces in the solution, or flip them at regular intervals.

The surface will always be saltier than the core, but with thinner pieces and sufficient time the difference will be negligible.

If you want to use larger pieces you will need to extend the time. Consider combining a soaking brine with injections of the brine solution into the meat itself.

You could brine any kind of fish that you would find in a sushi restaurant, just make sure it is as fresh as possible.


After reading citizens comment I was able to find this site which states that salted herring typically has a salt concentration of 7-13%, however this article's abstract leads me to believe that a dry cure then brine combination may be responsible for the higher salt concentration. According an article about hams and sausages, wet curing methods can reach salt concentrations up to 26%, but maximum weight gain is reached with a salt concentration around 5%. The first site also notes that salt concentrations above 7% are considered unpalatable by most people.

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Coming from the Nordic countries, I know at least salted herring has a concentration of 10–12 percent salt. – citizen Oct 3 '12 at 4:12

The salt will penetrate completely, but it needs more time than 2-3 hours. The time is depending on the thickness of the fish. I'm guessing a fish of less than 2-3 cm thickness should be fully 'brined' in 1-2 days.

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