Yadao Inong, Traditional Foods

Eel is one of my favorite foods from our region — but I wasn’t always a fan.  If you’ve ever seen lamprey eel you will know it is isn’t one of the most glamorous looking foods — in fact I’m sure there have been many horror movies that have used the idea of the lamprey to create a monster that would terrify us.  It has a mouth that seems like just a sucking hole lined with teeth — and really…does it have eyeballs?  I never got past the mouth.

Lucky for me one of the Humboldt Del Norte County Master Food Preservers brought some smoked and canned eel to one of our meetings to share.  What I discovered for myself is that eel is a comfort food for me.  With that smoky flavor and oily delicious flesh, I think eel hits a part of me that is satisfied no other way.  If you ever get a chance to taste eel, I suggest you do yourself a favor and try it.  I’ve also had it deep fried and, well — I’ve never met a deep fried food I didn’t like…but still smoked is my favorite.

I was very happy to have the opportunity to talk with a young man who grew up along the river and fished for eel and has been enjoying it all his life — Yadao Inong. I learned about fishing for eel and also about other traditional foods he grew up with.

Part 1 listen here, Part 2 listen here

This program was supported in part by the Northwest California Tribal Communities Extension Program, a USDA funded project through UC Cooperative Extension of Humboldt and Del Norte Counties


Albacore Tuna Canning – Joyce Houston and Jennifer Bell Master Food Preservers

The Master Food Preservers of Humboldt and Del Norte County are a group of superstars — they are part of the University of California Cooperative Extension and are volunteers giving thousands of hours teaching people how to safely preserve food.  One of the best foods to demonstrate?  Albacore Tuna!

Many people grew up with albacore tuna coming in a can like Starkist, Bumble Bee, etc — for the lucky ones, there were jars of home canned tuna on the shelves.  This tuna is solid albacore loin that completely fills the jar (minus the required 1 inch headspace!) — and is beautiful white flesh that is decadent in a regular tuna salad or kicked up in a tuna mac and cheese casserole…or just eaten out of the jar! (maybe with a little of Henry’s Olive Oil drizzled on top)

As with all delicious items, it doesn’t just happen — in many cases the instructions for canning are passed down through generations.  Sometimes it’s a group project and you can enlist your friends and share these skills with them — always it requires owning or borrowing a pressure canner (no, not a pressure cooker — this is different, it’s a canner).

Luckily, the Master Food Preservers have produced a pamphlet called Albacore Tuna: Canning the Catch.  Since we are such techno-wizards these days I am including images of all of the pages in the pamphlet so you can have it now (while the tuna is in your ice chest and you are powering up your canner…yes, I know you…) — sorry these don’t look pretty, but info is more important right now…

In the meantime you can listen to Joyce and I wax on about the wonders of canning albacore tuna here

Part 1

Part 2

Master Food Preservers Facebook Page

UC Extension Website for Master Food Preservers


Gary and Candee Mooslin, FV Blue Dolphin

Tuna Candee 1This is the year — I’m planning on canning tuna — smoked tuna, tuna and tamari, tuna and lemon, TUNA TUNA TUNA!  It takes quite a bit of time (since it must be pressure canned), but I’m thinkin’ of making a little party of it.  So — in preparation for canning tuna I have to find myself a fisherman…or fisherwoman…or in this case both!

Gary and Candee Mooslin have been fishing for albacore and I am on their list.  When they start heading in with a full boat of albacore they call the people on their list — (yes, they call them — the old fashioned way, one person at a time…because this is, after all, Humboldt County and that’s why we love it here).  If you pre-order loins they will filet the fish for you (which will save you time and the question of how to dispose of all those albacore carcasses), or you can order the whole fish and do it yourself.  Putting the whole fish in your deep freezer can be tricky — they are like baby torpedoes and don’t bend — but you can then decide when you want to can and pop them out to the fridge to thaw, then can.Tuna Candee 2

Candee can give you information about canning — she does it a lot.  In fact — I think I whined (I can be truly shameless) and she gave Jessica and I each a pint jar of the most beautiful albacore I’ve ever seen.  And!  it was delicious too!

If you think you want to get on Gary and Candee’s list for albacore — give them a call at (707) 768-3841.  If they are out fishing…it might take a while for them to get back to you. Listen Here!


FV Shenandoah, Carrie and Clay Collins

I first met Carrie at the Master Food Preserver Training, class of 2014.  When talking about pressure canning it was clear we had a pro in our midst — with a husband who was a fisherman, the average catch of albacore might involve hundreds of pints of the delicious and highly prized protein that is the most pressure canned item in Humboldt (no stats here…just anecdotal).  Carrie’s tuna was not only properly and safely canned, it actually looked pretty in a jar.  Ever see a jar of home canned albacore?  Good thing we know it’s good to eat because it normally isn’t such a lovely item on the shelf (sorry Charlie!)…

Check out the interview with Carrie and Clay and find out how some of the best food in the world gets to our table!  Or go check out the Shenandoah yourself.

Tony Sepulveda, Green Water Fishing Adventures

Have you ever thought about how your local dungeness crab is caught?  Ever want to do it yourself?  There are a couple of sports fishing opportunities in Humboldt County to catch your own crab and salmon and Green Water Fishing Adventures is one of them.  You can check out their website or listen to their interview!

Scott Bradshaw, Fish Brothers

I first met Scott when he volunteered to do a presentation for the Master Food Preserver Program about smoking and curing fish — loaded with great info after years of doing just that, Scott was relaxed, fun and funny — and I knew I’d have to interview him for Food for Thought.  Now I’ve tried to smoke fish — fish jerky is what I ended up with!  My husband has perfected lox which he cures with a combination of salt, citrus zest, vodka (yeahhhhhh….) and dill….but I swear I’ll give hot smoking salmon another try…and in the meantime I’ll just buy Fish Brothers — especially the Wild King Salmon — because it’s so good and much easier!

Check out Fish Brothers

Listen to the interview

Sports Fishing, Doug McCullough

Doug and Ninon McCullough are some of my closest friends…so as my dad used to say — What are friends for if you can’t use them?…without a bit of shame I invited myself and Jessica Eden on a salmon fishing trip.  I loaded up on Bonine to help with seasickness (I was very worried about this, tall tales of the high seas can send me retching)…and we searched the weather reports for a day that would be incredibly calm.  I also found out I could buy a one-day fishing permit just in case we were incredibly lucky and could get 2 more salmon…

well, as it turned out — I was in the way a lot of the time with camera gear — but we still came up with 2 salmon…and a lot of footage.

Part 1 interview

Part 2 interview

Seal on buoy...Doug doesn't like seals...

Seal on buoy…Doug doesn’t like seals…

Female salmon -- removing roe

Female salmon — removing roe

Doug gets his chance as videographer

Doug gets his chance as videographer


Jess Eden walks the dock at first light toward the waiting boat at Trinidad harbor

doug reelingl003 doug in lot.Still001 boat in harbor.Still004


Pemberton Fishing – D. Ray Pemberton

D. Ray Pemberton is the guy you see down at the farmers market in Arcata on Saturday mornings with live crabs for sale.  While many people are intimidated by the idea of buying live crabs and taking them home to boil them up — others have found that the flavor of the meat is superb.  A friend of mine cooks her crabs up in seawater — and having tasted them I believe they are the sweetest crabs I’ve ever eaten.  If you would like to hook up with D.Ray to buy crabs for your favorite cioppino or crab boil, give him a call — (707) 499-7958 — you might even reach him while he is fishing on his boat — F.V. Shultzie Baby!

Listen here

Ralph Smith, North Coast Co-op Meat Department

Ralph Smith is the Head of the Meat Dept at the North Coast Co-op — you know what they say about getting to know your butcher, that’s the way to get the best cuts of meat.  Ralph and I talked about how to develop that relationship and the types of things you can ask a butcher to do for you…to listen…click here

Alan Lovewell, Local Catch Monterey Bay, CSF

Alan Lovewell and his partner recently started the CSF (Community Supported Fishery) called Local Catch Monterey Bay.  In this model customers commit to a box of seafood every week — a half share feeding one meal to 2 people, a full share would feed 4.  The selection of seafood species is diverse, allowing people to try things they might never have an opportunity to prepare.  To get more information about Local Catch Monterey Bay, you can go to their website.

To listen to the interview, click here.

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