The origin of this tradition of sun-drying the fish is not very well known, but it would be the best way to preserve it for scarcity days. Thus the fishwives guaranteed provisions for their families, but also allowed them to have fish to sell in the region’s markets.
The most commonly used species are: horse-mackerel, sardines, dogfish and the octopus due to their large quantities. In Nazaré there are two ways of sun-drying the fish: dried and half-dried, with different characteristics of preparation and eating.
First, the fish is gutted, process of taking the guts out of the fish, and then it’s washed and passed by salted water (before was used sea water). Finally it is opened and it’s placed onto the “Paneiros” for sun drying.
This process takes about 2 to 3 days, according to the atmospheric conditions. This kind of sun-dried fish can be eaten raw (shredded in pieces), but usually it is boiled with potatoes and served with olive oil, lemon or vinegar or some minced garlic.
It is almost opposite to the Cultural Centre of Nazaré, on the beach, that one can find the fish drying ground, where several fishwives dry and sell the fish directly to the local and visitors.
The present Museum opened on December 17th, 2016, and it is divided into 3 cores: the Fish Drying Ground, the Interpretive Centre and the Fish Preparation Zone.
Besides visiting the drying ground, learn the stories and techniques of this art in the Interpretative Centre. In the Fish Preparation Zone is possible to see and learn how the fish is prepared to be sun-dried.