Inch-for-inch and ounce-for-ounce, the bluegill and other members of
the true sunfish family are said by some anglers to be the most exciting
fish Hoosier waters have to offer . . . We will go them one better by adding
"best eating, too."
However, there are some waters where these frisky little denizens don't
seem to get big enough to eat.
So what do you do when you are catching bluegills and other panfish
that are too small to eat? Easy question, Coach! You eat 'em!
Oh! I know! If you try to filet them, there is nothing left to eat
But that is not the way you eat 'em.
Keeping those little bluegills and eating them will do two important
things for you. First, it will get those little critters out of your favorite
pond and give the remaining fish more food which will, in turn, make them
bigger. Secondly, if you eat 'em, with good crackers as snacks or in numerous
other dishes, you will sate your appetite.
But how you gonna eat those little critters with all of those bones?
Another easy question, Coach. You simply scale them, leave the skin
on, cut off the head (fins optional), remove the entrails, wash the body
cavity good with cold, running water, and drain them. [See
# 1 below.]
When the fish are well drained, you stuff them in pint canning jars
(with canning tops), add salt (maybe some other seasonings like powdered
mustard), but no water, and cook them in a pressure cooker for 90 minutes,
10 pounds of pressure. This will make even the spinal bones edible and
crunchy, like canned salmon. [See
# 2 below.]
Tighten the jar lids (hands only) when the cooking process is done and
the jars are cool enough to handle. Store the jars in a cool, dark place.
# 3 below.]
But, by all means, know how to use a pressure cooker safely before you
do anything. Steam creates a powerful force and it can be dangerous.
Canned bluegills will eat well on any crackers, or as a sandwich with
mayonnaise and mustard on the bread of your choice. A fish loaf is right
up their alley, but they also will give a fresh salad extra zip, and slide
right into a fish a la king atmosphere.
bluegills is as easy as 1-2-3:
on photo to see larger image.]
A Tip or Two: Use a teaspoon
to scale your fish and perform this task close to cold, running water to
clear the scales occasionally . . . This process will work with larger
fish, like suckers, but may require a little more cooking time . . . Use
just enough water in the pressure cooker to have a good supply of steam,
but as little water as possible . . . a little vinegar in the cooker will
help avoid stains to the cooker . . . Do not allow heads and entrails of
fish to go down the sink drain.