The Oolichan Fish That Can Be Used As A Candle

Samuel Reason | October 13th, 2018

Oolichan fish is a type of fish that is so greasy it can actually be burnt and used as a candle. Hence it has the popular nickname the candlefish. The Oolichan is seen as a savior for many North Coast First Nations, the indigenous tribes of the Pacific northwest coast. This is because even though Oolichan fish live in the ocean, they travel upstream like salmon into freshwater springs when they need to spawn or die.

news.nationalgeographic.com

This meant that for many Northern tribes they represent the food source that reappears after a long hard winter. When they are struggling up the streams, it is quite an easy feat to catch them, allowing the tribes to replenish their food stocks. Natives could then decide if they wanted to bake them immediately or preserve them by smoking for the winter. But the fish also had another purpose: they were processed for their fat.

Placing them in a pit for a week would start the decomposition process, then doused with boiling water the fat could easily be collected. The grease collected from oolichan fish then became a key element of their survival. For starters, it had an amazing energy source and also had healing properties, which meant it was a valuable trade item. Rubbing it on the skin could help cure things like rashes or dandruff.

The key to the secret of the oolichan fish is that its fat is more mono-unsaturated than saturated fats. This allows it to have a very high melting point, which means it could simply be stuck on a stick and used as a candle. Furthermore being so greasy the oolichan fish was less prone to spoilage when being stored, meaning it was the perfect food source to be preserved for the long winter months of the Northern hemisphere. Essentially it was the perfect fish to keep the native tribes from the region alive.

 

Next Article
  • The Micro-particles That Allow You To Live Without Breathing

    Scientists at the Boston Children’s Hospital have made a medical breakthrough that may enable people to stay underwater for over twenty minutes or more. This is the type of medical breakthrough that could reshape the whole world of surfing. Surfers would be much safer knowing that if they run into difficulty they would be able...

    Read More
  • Figs Are Actually Considered An Animal Product

    When it comes to the list of foods that are non-vegan, the list can actually be a lot larger than you may think. Some fruits and vegetables even end up on the non-vegan list. Vegans always have to be on the lookout for products that they may mistakenly think are safe and accidentally end up...

    Read More
  • The Exiled Bell

    Yes, an object can actually be tried and exiled. Which is exactly what happened back in 1584, when Ivan the Terrible died and left his two sons behind Fyodor and Dimitri. Now Fyodor was actually mentally handicapped, and Dimitri was just an infant. This meant that Dimitri became the next czar. ...

    Read More
  • The Japanese Art Of Synchronized Walking

    Yup you read the title correctly, in Japan synchronized walking is a real sport and it's actually pretty nuts. For the same baffling and strange reasons that the Japanese do many things we find bizarre, they have been competing in a competition around synchronized precision team walking since 1966. In...

    Read More
  • A Museum Of Non Visible Art

    In an art project that looks as ridiculous as it sounds, the museum of non-visible art seems to be bringing over people from all over the world. For anyone looking at it from a logical point of view, it looks like an elaborate internet scam. In fact, selling fresh air sounds like the type of...

    Read More
  • The Cornfield Bomber

    Unpiloted aircraft that fly off on their own is actually not a myth, mistakes do happen on the tarmac and sometimes pilots forget to turn off the throttle. In most cases, the unguided planes shoot across an airport until they crash into a line of light planes, a hangar or some parked cars. But on...

    Read More
  • Lebanon And The Massive Bowl Of Hummus

    The inventor of hummus has long been disputed and a cause for angry debates. Everyone from Lebanese to the Turks to the Syrians have all tried to lay claim to being the inventors of hummus. And since it is quite simple to make the variations really depend on how it is served. Afterall it is...

    Read More