30 comments on “Ikura: Curing Salmon Eggs

  1. Pingback: Four Weeks in Prince William Sound: Week 1 – Endless Sunshine | Alaskagraphy

  2. Thanks for your easy instructions. Best that I’ve found on line and can’t wait to taste what I’ve prepared with your help.

    • Thanks for checking us out, Mary. Hope your roe comes out beautiful and tasty. One additional tip is that in our recipe, we used a relatively small amount of salt. Add a little more if desired. And let us know how it came out!

  3. Is there any other way of obtaining the fresh roe that you know of? I don’t have access through friends or my own catch, but this looks like a really fun activity and with a wonderful result! Thank you for posting this. Very interesting!

    • Some Japanese grocers carry fresh roe from time to time, but it’s usually expensive. If you live in an area where a lot of salmon are harvested, fisherman often throw away the roe. You can ask for it at the docks where they clean their catch.

  4. Thanks for this great and easy recipe. This is is by far the best method to separate eggs..thanks again for sharing this…mine turned out exactly as described and delicicous.

    • Thanks for reading, Faye. Glad to know this recipe worked for you. And if you ever want to try your hand at smoking salmon, trout or other fish to go with the eggs, give our salmon smoking recipe a go! Happy dining!

  5. I was looking for a recipe to make edible salmon roe and your amazing photos caught my eye. I followed your lesson and made wonderful ikura! I think we ended up with about five cups and have already finished half of it! My dad is Japanese and he loved it so I must have done something right! I’ve subscribed to your blog and look forward to learning as much as I can from you. My fiancé and I are in Fairbanks now, and getting ready to move to Dillingham. Can’t wait…🙂

    • Thanks for the feedback, Justin! We’ve heard so many good things about Dillingham… Happy fishing and dining! By the way, if you’re into smoking salmon, be sure to check out our recipe. We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on it. Jack & Barbra

  6. That so didn’t work for me. Could not get the eggs to separate from the membrane and the fat. Ended up with a pile of broken eggs. I’m thinking that with thawed eggs they need to go into a cold water brine first to toughen them up a bit, but I really have no idea.

    • Hi Susan,
      There are a few variables to consider: Frozen eggs should be fine. Your idea of toughening them with a soak in salt water could work. Also, make sure the water is hot enough when you start the separation process. Another important element is that the eggs must be mature. Mature eggs will separate fairly easily. Young eggs may not separate at all. Kind regards, Jack

  7. Jack & Barbara,
    My husband brings home about 55 reds from the Kenai each year. What would be the best way to preserve a bunch of eggs? Julie in Anderson

    • Our vote would be to prepare them according to the above instructions, then either put them in small jars or zip-lock freezer bags and freeze them. Or pre-freeze them on a tray (to firm them up) and then freeze them in freezer bags or vacuum-pack bags. The bags will allow for more efficient storage in the freezer. Pre-freezing them will prevent them from getting squished if you vacuum-pack them. They’ll stay good in the freezer for a long time preserved this way. JD

      • Thank you, JD. 27 years ago on my first AK adventure, I worked in the “egg room” at a cannery on the Kenai Peninsula. The Japanese soaked the skeins in a large vat of cold brine, then we carefully laid them into pine boxes, the top layer was salted, then boxes were closed with a pine lid nailed on and stacked. The excess liquid was given time to ooze out before they left the cannery. Are you familiar with this Japanese method? Do you know if the roe lasts a long time preserved this way, and with or without refrigeration? Just curious. I’m trying to learn food storage methods that don’t use electricity.
        Thank you again,

        • Hi Julie. Thanks for the interesting note. The Japanese are experts in this field, and I’d be inclined to follow their example. But I don’t know much about how long roe cured in the fashion remains viable. In Japan, roe is typically kept refrigerated or frozen – but with so much salt in it, and some of the moisture removed, it makes sense that it might have a shelf-life at room temperature. We, too, are very interested in preservation methods that don’t require refrigeration, so please feel free to share further insights and questions. Thanks again. Jack

      • Jack & Barbara, One more question: how do you know when the eggs are not ok to eat any longer?
        Thanks, Julie

        • Hi Julie. Smell and texture, with smell being the first tell. Bad eggs will smell “off” – rotten. Good eggs from a fish smell fresh. Good ikura smells pleasingly briny. Texture-wise, good eggs are firm (and bright). Bad eggs are soft – to the point of becoming gloppy.

  8. Barbra & Jack, Yesterday I spotted nama-sujiko on sale at my local supermarket and I thought of you and this recipe you posted years ago…came back and saw this again! It must be a sign I have to give it a go…Adam

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