In Jamaica, dried and salted cod is called Saltfish and is an integral ingredient in the country’s national dish, Ackee and Saltfish. Dried and salted cod has been produced in Norway, Newfoundland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands for over 500 years. Traditionally it was dried outdoors by the wind and sun, but today it is usually dried indoors with the aid of electric heaters.
The drying of food is the world’s oldest known preservation method, and dried fish has a storage life of several years. Drying preserves many nutrients, and the process of salting and drying codfish is said to make it tastier. Before it can be eaten salt cod must be rehydrated and desalinated by soaking in cold water overnight, or by boiling it and changing the water two to three times.
Historically salt cod formed a vital item of international commerce between the New World and the Old. Thus it spread around the Atlantic and became a traditional ingredient not only in Northern European cuisine, but also in Mediterranean, West African, Caribbean and Brazilian cuisines.
In Jamaica, in addition to the national dish Ackee and Saltfish, saltfish is also used in dishes like Saltfish Fritters, Callaloo and Seasoned Rice. In Bermuda, it is served with potatoes, avocado, banana and boiled egg in the traditional codfish and potato breakfast.
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