FoodDebone a fish in no time. A trick from an experienced chef

Debone a fish in no time. A trick from an experienced chef

Filleting carp, or how to get rid of bones
Filleting carp, or how to get rid of bones
Images source: © Adobe Stock | Tomasz
1:32 PM EST, December 8, 2023

Removing bones from Christmas Eve herring and other fish can be a significant challenge. Tiny bones are almost impossible to remove quickly with tweezers, and not everyone enjoys eating fillets with them. So, how do you get rid of them without much trouble? An experienced chef friend of mine has the answer.

Many people I've met would eat more fish, excluding the small bones that spoil their meals and dissuade them from eating. Consuming species with large bones may simply be a matter of learning how to eat around them. However, when the fish has thin bones, threadlike and often breaking under the fork, the problem escalates to a significant obstacle.

Such apprehension often arises during Christmas Eve when Christmas herrings, or rather, the bones they contain, pose a choking hazard. That's why many people simply choose not to consume them. So how do you prepare them to minimize this risk? Naturally, you debone them. The most effective way to accomplish this is by using a clever trick that my chef friend recently shared with me.

How to remove small bones from fish?

There are three ways to remove bones from fish. The first method requires some skill, which is filleting. Removing the fish's spine simultaneously eliminates many bones. This procedure works well for carp, for example. I've detailed the exact instructions in another article.

The second method involves the use of boiling water. Pouring it over a cleaned fish will cause the bones not to evaporate but to protrude from the shrunken meat, which allows for their easy removal. However, not everyone may appreciate the idea of pouring hot water over their fish. That's when the third trick - the one I learned from a chef friend - comes in.

Interestingly, small bones, which are usually the hardest to remove, can be eliminated using not-so-strong acid. With herring, the fillets you buy typically don't contain a spine. The remaining bones can be tackled with regular lemon juice. Firstly, cut the fish into vertical strips, sprinkle them with lemon juice, and leave them overnight in the fridge.

The most bones are in the fish's spine.
The most bones are in the fish's spine.© Canva | Arkira

Of course, none of these methods exempt us from the need to exercise caution while eating fish. As the saying goes, it's better to be safe than sorry!

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