How can I reuse or recycle fish heads and bones?

fish-headsWe’ve had a “Can I Compost This?” email from Wynn:

Can I compost fish heads?

The answer to this, like meat & animal products, is usually no. Unless you have a sealed composting system or the like, the odour of the fish might attracted unwanted vermin to your compost heap and unless your composting area is really far away from your house, it might get a bit stinky for you too.

But like other animal bones, you can though use fish heads and skeletons to make fish stock. There is often quite a bit of meat on the heads of bigger fish like salmon, so don’t forget to save that: it can be used anywhere you’d use mashed up fish (salads, fish cakes, seafood risotto…) or in the stock to make a hearty soup. Like all stocks, it will freeze well if you’re not going to be able to use it straight away and if nothing else and you’ve got cats, the stock will make you a firm favourite with your felines.

Any other suggestions of things to do with leftover fish bits?

(Photo by mama)

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4 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle fish heads and bones?”

  1. louisa says:

    I got this email on Wednesday and it inspired me to pick up some super cheap salmon trimmings while we were out shopping.

    Just to confirm: a fishy stock *will* make you a firm favourite with your felines. Our poorly sick cat nearly bit my finger off trying to grab a piece of meat and she’s not got excited about anything foody for weeks.


  2. Jay says:

    Raw fish is very good for plants. Soak them in water then use this to water your plants. My citrus plant (calamansi) bloomed like crazy after a single dousing. The rest can be chopped up and mixed into soil. There’s still some use to it.

  3. Kerry says:

    I grew up on the Gulf Coast of Florida and we always buried our fish heads/guts in our yard, underneath plants and trees. Made great fertilizer and animals were not attracted to it since it was buried well and watered heavily afterwards. As the original author mentions above, composting is not a good idea since the smell is not disguised.

  4. ben says:

    make fish head curry with it!

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