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Drying and Preserving

Rainbow Smelt

This time of year, we’re capturing moments. Fall is a story of transition – a race to preserve the growing and productive. A chive blossom flowers, its petals delicate and sharp- for only a brief moment. The salmon run through the strait, brimming full of eggs, in search of sustenance and vitality. Shoreline herbs prepare for the salty winter storms, expelling their seeds and toughing their skins against the oncoming waves.

In the kitchen, we’re racing to preserve what’s left of the season. In the late summer and early fall, schools of rainbow smelt pass through the San Juan islands to spawning grounds. These rich, oily fish are incredible fresh. Perfect fried, pickled, marinated or raw. Smelt are a pleasure this time of year. One of our projects at the Willows is to preserve these fish whole, curing and smoking them for the winter months. We are busy capturing peak flavors that are only available in one fleeting moment.