Thursday, August 6, 2020

Corned Shad

above 1939 ad

The great Shad runs of the spring gave people a chance to accumulate protein in a large quantity after a winter of near starvation.  As food became more plentiful the Shad was still a major inexpensive fish in the spring.  Either your relatives went to a fresh water stream and netted the fish when they came into spawn or you had a friend who did and who would gave you a few dozen.  Worst case you simply purchased the fish from the fish dealer. 

above 1915 ad for corned shad

The Shad is about a three to five pound fish.  It has a little over 700 bones per fish.  The name Shad comes from the old English word “sceadd” which means herring. The shad spends it’s time in the ocean but comes in to freshwater streams to spawn.  Locally in Maryland it had an impact and gave it’s name to such places as Shad Landing and Shad Point. 


above 1940 ad

The Shad were caught in such large numbers over a short spawning period that what to do with the excess became a problem.  The age old method of salting the fish was the answer.  In the Mid-Atlantic area from North Carolina to New Jersey a salted shad was called a Corned shad. 


above 1910 ad - Corned Shad 10 cents  pound

To corn a shad; the shad would be scaled, split, salted  and then dried in the sun.  The dried fish would be in every ones yard stuck on sticks away from rodents etc but the flies were just ignored.  After a couple days of drying the shad was washed off and salted again, heavily.  The corned shad was placed in a box or barrel and it would keep from three to eight months. 


above 1932 ad

When it came time to cook the shad it was handled like any other salted fish, Usually boiled to get the salt off and then fried.

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