They will be 6 to 8 cm long (2 1/3 to 3 inches) including the tail.
To dry them, they are first cooked within two hours at the most of being caught — ideally one hour. They are washed in ice water, then boiled in salted water. Then they are dried by drying machines for 12 to 15 hours at air temperature plus 15 C. The air needs to flow through the drying machine to take away all humidity. Then, they are further dried for about 2 hours in the sun on trays called “sunoko.”
When completely dried, they will be about 20 to 25% of their live weight, with a moisture content of 17 to 22%.
They are used in soup stocks, but can also be used in other dishes, or eaten on their own as a snack.
For a stock for miso soup, you use use 10 to 20 grams of dried fish per 2 litres (.3 to .6 oz per 2 quarts) of water. First pinch off and discard the heads and tails. Then you either heat the water just until it starts to reach a boil, then remove from heat and remove fish, or let fish stand in room temperature water overnight, then remove and discard the fish.
Cats love them — after your stock is prepared, you can feed them to your cats.
Dried ones are also fed to hamsters
Ones for eating as a snack are called “taberu niboshi.”
May also be sold ground and called in English “niboshi meal.”
Niboshi can go rancid, so sniff first before using after long storage.
May also be referred to as:
- Iriko (“Iri” means “boiled thing” and “ko” means “small thing”. Used in Western Japan);
- Dashi-Jako (“dashi” being “soup stock”, and “jako” meaning “small fish”);
- Iriboshi (“Iri” means “boiled thing” and “boshi” means “dried thing”);