How to Clean and Cook Fish the Easy Way
Most fish that you will catch while camping or hiking can be cleaned and prepared for cooking in just a few minutes. You also have quite a few options when it comes to cooking the fish as well. Let's take a look at a few suggestions to make the process of preparing and cooking fish as easy and time-saving as possible.
Unless you know some bushcraft skills with respect to preparing fish, you will need a few basic items. This includes a sharp fillet or survival knife, a bucket, some gloves and plenty of water. You will also benefit from having a flat prep surface, a skillet, grill or skewer and some plastic zipper baggies. A pair of gloves may come in handy, as well as some seasonings that you can coat the fillets with before cooking.
The first step is to give the fish a good rinse in order to remove the layer of slime that is on their bodies. If your water supplies are limited, feel free to grab a bucket full from the source where you caught the fish from. Once the slime has been removed, pat the fish dry and start scraping off the scales. The easiest way to do this, without using a special tool, is to take the dull end of your knife and place it at about a 45 degree angle perpendicular to the length of the fish.
Start scraping by pulling the knife from tail to head in swift, short and firm strokes. Adjust the angle of the knife until you are able to remove the the most scales with the fewest strokes. Once the scales have been removed, give the fish another good rinse and scrape off any stragglers that remain on the skin.
Next, cut an incision in a line that goes along the soft underside of the fish from just above the tail to the base of the head. The trick is to make the incision deep enough to pull apart the flesh and be able to scoop out the entrails and organs without piercing any of the innards. Once removed, rinse the fish again to remove any blood or bodily fluids.
Cooking the Fish
You can cook the fish any way that you like, whether it's grilled, fried, boiled or skewered. Keep in mind that you can cook the fish whole, with the head, tail and skin intact, or you can fillet the meat beforehand. The most important thing is that you adjust the temperature so that the meat cooks all the way through before the outer portions get burned. It's also much easier to season the fish prior to cooking and then add some finishing touches before serving if needed.
Other than that, the only other really important thing is to dispose of any remnants of the fish, cooked or uncooked, so that pests and animals won't be attracted to your site.
Following these simple steps can help you to become a fish-cooking expert in no time, and chances are that you'll get the hang of things after your first few attempts. Try it for yourself, and see why cooking delicious fish while camping doesn't have to be a complicated and time-consuming process.