May 11, 2019

Blubber Barrels

Cod liver was a byproduct of the cod trap fishery. Every fishing stage had a bunch of barrels that were there to hold the liver that came out of the fish during the splitting process. There was a hole in the splitting table that had a chute so that the liver could fall into a bucket or tub under the table. When it was full it was taken and dumped into the blubber barrel. 

The barrels were placed outside so that the heat from the sun and the warm wind would render the rands of liver into unrefined cod oil. The barrels were called blubber barrels because that type of unrefined oil is called blubber. The oil was bought by the local fish merchants who brought steel oil drums to the fishermen for the collection process. When the barrels were full the fishermen would dip the oil from the barrels and pour it into the steel drums. Sometime later the merchant would send around a truck and the men would roll the drums on board. 

A common dare among some of us young teenagers was to taste the blubber right from the barrel. The practice was to stick your finger in the oil and lick it off, some of my friends would go a bit farther and drink a mussel shell full of it. If you were brave enough to be the one who drank the most, you would run and try to hide so the rest of your friends wouldn’t see you throwing up! I remember the taste and the awful smell of the blubber. Do you? 

BLubber Barrells

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