Holes, as they are called, many a Canoe, and small Boat having been overset by the fall of a Sturgeon into it.

At the latter End of August, great Numbers of these Sturgeons approach to the Cataracts, and Rocky Places of the River, where the English and Indians go to strike them, which they do with a Cane 14 Feet in length, and pointed at the smaller End: With this the Striker stands at the Head of the Canoa, another steering it. The Striker when he discovers one lying at the Bottom (which they generally do in six or eight Feet depth) gently moves the pointed End of the Cane to the Fish, giving it a sudden Thrust between the Bony Scales into its Body, at which the Fish scuds away with great swiftness, drawing the Cane after it, the great End of which appearing on the Surface of the Water, directs the Striker which Way to pursue his Chace. The Fish being tired, slackens its Pace, which gives the Striker an Opportunity of thrusting another Cane into it, then it scuds away as before, but at length by loss of Blood falters, and turning its Belly upwards, submits to be taken into the Canoe.

A she Sturgeon contains about a Bushel of Spawn, and weighs usually three hundred, and some three hundred and fifty Pounds, and are about nine Feet long; the Males are less.

Twenty Miles above Savanna Fort, on the Savanna River, where the Cataracts begin, three of us in two Days killed sixteen, which to my Regret were left rotting on the Shore, except what we regaled our selves with at the Place, and two we brought to the Garison. Such is the great Plenty and little Esteem of so excellent a Fish, which by proper Management might turn to good Account, by pickling and sending them to the Sugar lslands.

Speculative Knowledge in Things meerly curious, may be kept secret without much Loss to Mankind. But the concealing Things of real Use is derogating from the Purposes we were created for, by depriving the Publick of a Benefit designed them by the Donor of all Things. It is on this Motive I here insert a Receipt for pickling Sturgeon and Caviair, which tho' not a Nostrum, is not known to many, especially in America, where it can be of most Use.

These Receipts I was favoured with by his Excellency Mr. Johnson, late Governor of South Carolina, which he told me he got translated from the Original in High Dutch, which was wrote in Gold Letters, and fixed in the Town Hall at Hambourg. At the same Time and Place he procured Nets for catching them, with a Design of manufacturing this useful Fish in his Government. But Perplexities ensuing not long after, obstructed his Design, which otherwise would probably have given a good Example to so laudable an Undertaking.

To pickle Sturgeon.

Let the Fish when taken, cool on the Ground, 24, 36, or 48 Hours, as the Weather requires; then cut it in Pieces, and throw it into clean Water, shifting the Water several Times; whilst it is soaking, walk and brush it with hard Brushes, till it is very clean, which it will be in two or three Hours, and then you may tie it up with Bass, and boil it: Put the Fish in the Kettle when the Water is cold, and in the boiling, the Fat must be taken off very well: Put in somewhat more Salt than in boiling other Fish, and scum it well, and boil it very softly till it be tender, an Hour, or an Hour and half, or two Hours, according to the Age of the Fish, and then let it cool very well, and put it into Pickle: The Pickle must be made of five Eights of Beer-Vinegar and three Eigths of the Broth it was boil'd in mixt together, and salt the Pickle very well with unbeat Salt, somewhat more than will make a fresh Egg swim, and that will cure it.

To make Caviair.

As soon as the Sturgeon is catched, rip up the Belly, and take out the Roe, and cut it as near as you can, Flake by Flake asunder, and Salt it with good Spanish Salt, extraordinary sharp, putting it into a Basket, and there let it lie at least six Weeks, and then take it out, and wash off the Salt very well; then lay it on Boards in the Sun, so thin as that it may soon dry on both Sides. It must be turned, but Care must be taken that it be not too hard dryed, but that you may pack it close, and as you pack it, take out all the thick Skins, in which you must be very nice, and when it is packed very close, you must then take some heavy Weights and lay upon it, that it may be pressed very hard, then it will be as close as a Cheese to keep for Use.


next page previous page