A fast and easy method to make Garum



I don’t think my neighbours appreciate my attempts at making garo (ancient Greek: garos or garon, Latin: garum) , the liquid that results from the 2-3 months fermentation of small fish or of fish intestines in brine. The smell is very unpleasant. However garos- when used  with a light hand- gives a delicious savory quality to dishes. Ancient Greeks, Romans and Byzantines  used to put it on just about everything.  They also mixed it with wine, vinegar, pepper, oil, or water.


This time I will follow a  fast and non stinky method.

Whole anchovies (innards and heads included) and oregano are ready to be boiled in salted water until become a thick liquid. I am thinking of adding some sweet wine too. After having passed the fish liquid  several times through a cheese cloth I will have the precious garo.

I am really curious about its taste.

Of course, I will keep it in the refrigerator since my sauce will not be a result of fermentation.

Για Ελληνικά εδώ


2 thoughts on “A fast and easy method to make Garum

  1. Since what you are making is not even remotely close to the preparation method used in ancient greece wouldn’t it make sense to just use the bottled vietnamese fish sauce that is thought to be the same thing??

  2. “If you wish to use the garum immediately, that is to say not ferment it in the sun, you do it this way. When the brine has been tested, so that an egg having been thrown in floats (if it sinks, it is not sufficiently salty), and throwing the fish into the brine in a newly-made earthenware pot and adding in some oregano, you place it on a sufficient fire until it is boiled, that is until it begins to reduce a little. Some throw in boiled down must. Next, throwing the cooled liquid into a filter you toss it a second and third time through the filter until it turns out clear. After having covered it, store it away.”(Geoponica 20.46:1-6 transl. Robert Curtis, Garum and Salsamenta/ Brill,pg 13)
    As you can see in the translation of the ancient text, the modern preparation method is based on the ancient one.
    “wouldn’t it make sense to just use the bottled vietnamese fish sauce that is thought to be the same thing?”
    In fact, different ratios of salt to fish flesh made a difference to the out come of the garum, liquamen (αιμάτιον) and allec (αλμαία) and the time of fermentation often varied. Some recipes also call for herbs to be added at the beginning. So, it looks that it is not possible to match exactly the different types of fish sauce described with the modern fish sauces.

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