Italian Grandma Gina
The drying of food is the world’s oldest known preservation method, and dried fish has a storage life of several years. Traditionally, salt cod was dried only by the wind and the sun, hanging on wooden scaffolding or lying on clean cliffs or rocks near the seaside.
Dried and salted cod, sometimes referred to simply as salt cod, is cod which has been preserved by drying after salting. Cod which has been dried without the addition of salt is stock fish. Salt cod was long a major export of the North Atlantic region, and has become an ingredient of many cuisines around the Atlantic and in the Mediterranean. With the sharp decline in the world stocks of cod, other salted and dried white fish are sometimes marketed as “salt cod”, and the term has become to some extent a generic name.
Dried and salted cod has been produced for over 500 years in Newfoundland, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands, and most particularly inNorway where it is called klippfisk, literally “cliff-fish”. Traditionally it was dried outdoors by the wind and sun, often on cliffs and other bare rock-faces. Today klippfisk is usually dried indoors with the aid of electric heaters.
Drying preserves many nutrients, and the process of salting and drying codfish is said to make it tastier. Salting became economically feasible during the 17th century, when cheap salt from southern Europe became available to the maritime nations of northern Europe. The method was cheap and the work could be done by the fisherman or his family. The resulting product was easily transported to market, and salt cod became a staple item in the diet of the populations of Catholic countries on ‘meatless’ Fridays and during Lent.
From our friends at Wikapedia