‘Bacalhau’ – The Story of Dry Salted Cod

Cod is a national treasure for the Portuguese.  They have more than 365 ways to cook it, one for each day of the year.

The Portuguese have been obsessed with cod since the early 16th century right after Columbus discovered America.   Soon after, the first Portuguese fishermen sailed into the waters of Terranova, Newfoundland, to catch cod.

Portuguese fishermen have been fishing cod off the coast Canada ever since .Less than a decade after America had been discovered, dried salted cod , known as Bacalhau ,made up a tenth of the total fish sold in northern Portuguese harbours.  It was an important commodity at the time , because it was used as provisions that could be preserved  on board ships setting off on voyages of trade and discovery.

To this day, Portuguese ships  continue to leave port in order to catch cod and similar fish and process them on board – cutting off heads, removing the spines and freezing them.  Ships remain at sea as long as it takes to process a full cargo.  Then it’s salted and dried in Portugal.