Friday Squid Blogging: Reducing Squid Odor

Research from Japan: “Improvement of ‘kurozukuri ika-shiokara’ (fermented squid meat with ink) odor with Staphylococcus nepalensis isolated from the fish sauce mush of frigate mackerel Auxis rochei.”

Posted on February 4, 2011 at 4:33 PM11 Comments


Clive Robinson February 6, 2011 6:54 AM

Hmm low niff fermented (rotting) fish…

If it was not for the likes of anchovy essence and thai fish sauce acting as flavour enhancers I would give this a miss, but I might give it a try 8)

Nothing ventured nothing gained, is what I thought in Sweden with their “rotted herring” speciality that you most definatly have to eat out doors in a strong wind 😉

You can read more about “surstroomming” especialy about how it’s made at,

My advice is don’t smell it and try not to breath whilst chewing, then chug a good mouthfull of ice cold milk… Like many mature fish dishes it’s an aquired taste / biological weapon that grows on you and I’m amazed I look back on it somewhat fondly (I guess it’s a little like those from Auz and Vegimite). More importantly carrying tins of it is a “no no” on aircraft due to fears it will explode…

It’s interesting to note that the Japanese scientists think surstroomming has the strongest smell of all rotted/fermented fish dishes even more so than their own kusaya…

Just what would happen if a tin of it did pop on say a British Airways aircraft in these days of hightened terror alert I do not know… But I can guaranty at the very least the cleaning bill will be more than just burning all fabrics and buying them anew 8)

BF Skinner February 6, 2011 3:20 PM

@Clive Robinson

I quite like Nam Pla …really DON’T know the Thai can make anything that bad smelling taste good.

Let’s not forget that it’s the English that taught us to hang our meats.

bkd69 February 6, 2011 11:57 PM

I sense an Ig-Nobel!

On a side note, Bruce, are you still running that PBM Divine Right game? 🙂

Clive Robinson February 7, 2011 7:30 AM

@ BF Skinner,

“Let’s not forget that it’s the English that taught us to hang our meats.”

Hmm… This is where I get Monty Pythonesque on you with,

“What did the Romans ever do for us?”

Well one thing is cured meats and other charcuterie.

As you probably know some of our food tastes better after being pre-digested and excreated by other living creatures (also gains value, think what being passed through a cats digestive tract and beening manually extracted from it’s “poo” does to the price of coffee beans, blue mountain eat your heart out 😉

Well this pre-digestion by by the smallest of creatures (bacteria) produces either “rotting” or “fermentation” the former being usually undesirable the latter often desirable and can also on occasions produce very undesirable neurotoxins when anerobic digestion occurs by some (botulinus) bacteria.

However there is a midle ground… some meats lack fat (mainly wild game) and will thus not produce flavour when cooked and will also dry out very quickly. Well the partial predigestion by certain bacteria will break certain parts of the meat down and aid in flavour and shortening the cooking times.

The shortening of cooking times is due to the fact that some of what is excrieted by some bacteria change the meat protiens in the same way as cooking without the same drying and “toughening” cooking produces.

Now the question arises how was it discovered…

Well we know that very acient man (hunter gather) had found that one downside of a large kill was other preditors that would smell the meat and take it away as it carionised (rotted). And one way to solve this problem was to put it under rocks at the bottom of a lake or pond. Not only did it lower the temprature of the meat, it also stopped the oxygen many bacteria need to breed effectivly thus the meat would still be edible for upto a sixth of a year (9weeks) later.

It was later discovered that sea water actually more than doubled the length of time the meat would last without rotting, it was also discovered that even then the type of rotting would change to fermentation and vegtables would develop new flavours and last for over half a year (think of Korean Kim-Chee and other lightly “pickled” vegtables).

Well in the middle east and around the Mediterranean man discovered that the sea water trapped in rock pools at spring tides would dry out either leaving a stronger “brine” or crystaline resedues of salt. And more importantly that the stronger brine increased the length of time meat would last.

Man in these parts of the world where the air is dry and warm had also found that fish and later meat could be air dried and that with meat the use of salt or brine in the initial stages actually made air drying more reliable and effective.

But salt was very very valuable, so much so Roman soldiers were paid in part in salt (hence the word salary, and the expression “not worth his salt”). So air curing was prefered, however this did not work to well in northen climbs.

So air-dried curing of meat would have reached England via the Romans and their desire for charcuterie products which eventually gave Brittons the “sausage” (ie it differes due to the addition of “cereal” such as rusk to the mix).

It would not be surprising due to the amount of game in Northen Europe (especialy in heavily wooded places) that “hanging” was discovered by those who’s air drying had started to fail and thus chose to cook and eat the hard won meat before it fully spoiled…

The cold climbs of Northen Europe and damp found in Britton actually favours some bacteria over others, which might account for why “hanging” of meat is more prevalent in Briton than say Germany.

But it was not just charcuterie that the Romans gave us, something else was better beer and cereals and it was the growing of grain to supply Rome with it’s free bread that caused the Roman’s to invade Britton, fell the forests and grow grain that also with the introduction of the rabbit for ever changed Briton and gave us the charecteristic “English Countryside”.

But importantly the use of bread in cooking and thus the cerial mix put into British sausages which gives quick binding of the forcced meat as opposed to the much longer emulsification you find in other charcuterie.

Clive Robinson February 7, 2011 8:38 AM

@ Lottery Guy,

With regards a Canadian ‘lottery getting cracked’, I’m not surprised.

Entropy or “non/undetermanistic behavior” is very expensive in it’s own right. Getting enough of it to do even moderate tasks is difficult because of the way it’s generaly generated.

All physical processess have a degree of entropy in their tails, however getting this out in an unbiased way is quite involved and failing to do it properly will leave an underlying bias that if found by an opponet “could” be exploited.

However, usually such bias even if found has a negative return on anything below ‘state level’ activities so it does not get exploited, which I guess is one reason we don’t get to hear about it happening more often.

Where this particular lotto failed is in the fact the game designers but in a “side channel” (the win match pannel) which enabled a card buyer to “see the information leak” prior to commiting to purchase.

Thus in trying to get more buy-in to the game (the “hook”) they either did not or could not sufficiently decouple the “win match pannel”.

If you think about it what they have done is in trying to get higher utility out of the entire lotto system they have opened up a security fault.

It is one of the reasons I go on about the law of “unintended consiquences” which usually comes about when you go for efficiency (utility), which is why I caution that unless great care is taken “increasing efficiency decreases security” or more simply “efficiency-v-security”.

Whiskers in Menlo February 16, 2011 3:09 PM

Squid Odor….. and fish sauce. Interesting…

Recently on the radio there was a discussion about the growing cheese industry north of San Francisco. The discussion included cautions on the risk of bacteria contamination and the impact on this growing industry.

The discussion reminded me that it is illegal to import cheese made from unpasteurized milk that has been aged for less than 90 days. Yet is is common to enjoy very young cheese made from unpasteurized milk in France with no serious health problems.

I suspect that we will see more folks taking a pro position on pro-biotic cultures and foods.

Back on topic… has the reported influx of large (Humbolt?) squid moved up the Calif coast impacted fishing?

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