What to look out for when buying your salted fish
Every year doctors and nutritionists alike plead with the public not to eat fiseekh (salted fish)—but to avail. Fiseekh has been a Sham El-Nessim tradition for decades and decades, and Egyptians are not going to start giving up their salty favorite anytime soon. That said, there are numerous cases of food poisoning reported each year, so to avoid getting sick at least make sure you have your bases covered. Buy your fiseekh from someone credible. Go to an established fasakhany and never, ever, buy off a streetseller. The latter usually skimp on the salt, which is key to preserving the fish properly and preventing bacteria forming. A few tips for what to look for when you’re buying:
1.Check out the fish before you buy. If it's soft or mushy to the touch, don't make a purchase.
2.If the fish looks more reddish than not, avoid by all means as it's likely it isn't salted properly or that salt unfit for human consumption has been used.
3.Make sure the fish is not bloated and that the skin is unbroken.
Now Roll Up Your Sleeves
Sham El-Nessim spreads are hardly dainty knife and fork affairs—you've got to roll your sleeves up for this one. If smoked herring and fiseekh are your main dishes, make sure you serve up some greens to absorb all that salt. Good choices are lettuce and arugula. Bear in mind that fiseekh is not for everyone, though and people who should avoid it completely are children under the age of three, moms-to-be and nursing moms, as well as those suffering from hypertension. Fisikh that is good to eat will raise your blood pressure through the roof because of its excessive salt content. Eating bad fiseekh will cause food poisoning and possibly botulism, an illness that attacks and disarms the nerves, potentially leading to paralysis and even death. If you or anyone in your party starts developing any of the following signs, rush straight to a hospital. The government does import antidotes which are highly effective but which you won't find everywhere. VACSERA (check out their facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Vacsera) is likely your best bet. Note that symptoms typically occur around 12 hours after eating but can sometimes take up to a few days to appear.
1.General lethargy, weakness, trouble seeing and/or speaking.
2.Nausea and vomiting
3.Feeling of weakness in arms and legs
4.Dry mouth or throat, difficulty or inability swallowing, loss of facial muscle movement
6.Light headedness /fainting
Herring if needed