What is Sardine?

There is no fish of any kind, anywhere, in anybody of water, which bears the name “sardine” in its natural original element, either in the scientific or commercial sense of the word. “Sardine” is a generic term applied to various kinds of small fish, packed hermetically in cans/other containers, in water or various oils/sauces. Sardines are not born as sardines. Some are called brislings, pilchards, or silds.In short, sardines are little fish of any species. Sardine is analogous to the word“cub”…there are deer, lion and wolf cubs - except there are no sardines swimming.They become sardines after they are in the tin. The name sardine is derived from Sardinia, a Mediterranean island, where small fish were in abundance.

Sardines are prized for their nutritionally rich meat, ours are caught in the cold, clear,mineral-rich waters of two Northern Seas. North sea countries process the so-called cold-water fish, namely brislings/silds. Mediterranean countries pack the southern “warm water” small fish, called pilchards. Pilchards are a species akin to the herring, but fatter/smaller.

The brisling is deemed the better tasting. They are caught throughout the year, but the most desirable are harvested in the summer, when they are tender, juicy, fat, and flavorful with no hard bones, and no scales.The varieties of sardines sold generally fall into 3 classifications:* Sardines from the Mediterranean, Moroccan, Portuguese and Spanish waters.* Brisling/sprats from the North/Baltic Seas * Herrings/Mackerels from the Americas. Brisling and Sild. The brisling (clupea sprattus) is a species of tiny fish found only in northern waters, and is considered by epicures to be the finest sardine available. Scottish fishermen restrict their catches when flavor and texture are at their prime -June through October. The sild, in the Norwegian language, means herring. Like brisling, the sild is caught in the Northern Seas when the fish has grown to about 3-1/2 inches. The main packing season for sild is in the autumn.

Why are two nearly identical products, such as brisling and sild, so differently priced?…the reason lies in the different catch/production methods required by the brisling. The brisling is caught in the summer, the fish meat normally has a higher fat content, and the skin is thinner than that of the sild…and more difficult to individually handle.

Brisling sardines used to be packed mainly in olive oil. However, changes in consumer habits now demand that they are available also in spring water, garlic, mustard, soy or oil, and tomato. Sild sardines were mainly packed in fish/soya oil, but tastes change and they are now available in many of the same sauces as brisling. There are three different ways of packing the ¼ Dingley (3.75 oz/106 grams) can. One (1) layer of sardines typically will have 6-1/2 fish in a can, two (2) layer cans contain 16-22 fish, and three (3) layer or cross-packed tins have 26-34 fish. Our Scottish sardines are not only unique because of their particular taste, but also because of their small size…where else can one find 30 sardines in a 3.75 oz tin?

Sardines contain valuable amounts of Iron, Magnesium, Niacin, Riboflavin, and Vitamin A, and are very rich in providing Vitamin B12, and serve as an anti-cholesterol food. A landmark study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that eating only one ounce of fish every day may cut your chances of a fatal heart attack by 80%! Eating fish cuts a women’s risk of suffering the most common type of stroke by 33%, and the more fish consumed, the better. Women who eat the most fish have fewer premature births, and fewer smaller-sized babies than those who do not. People who eat seafood are less likely to develop arthritis, bronchial asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease and migraine headaches.

Sardines are particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids (also called w-3 or n-3 fats) , protein, calcium, CoQ10, and B10 – offering higher nutrients than salmon or tuna. Omega-3 fatty acids are part of the nutrition group know as essential fatty acids (EFAs). Omega-3 fatty acids are a form of polyunsaturated fats, and are credited with preventing the buildup of blood clots that cause ischemic strokes, which make up 83% of strokes. Omega-3 fats are credited with increasing elasticity in muscles and lowering blood pressure. They also help prevent cancer, act as mood stabilizers, and even enhance brain activity. Sardines are linked to lower levels of heart disease due to their “good” cholesterol- lowering fat.. Sardines are a nutritious source of calcium – 375mgs of calcium per can, as well as a healthy balance of phosphorus for good calcium absorption, plus 100% of the RDA for vitamin D. Fish are the richest natural source of iodine, a mineral needed for proper thyroid function.

Sardines are also a reliable source of selenium, which is believed to play a role in preventing heart disease, and possibly cancer. Increased seafood consumption by hildren pays off in several different ways, from lowering their intake of fatty foods to enhancing their immune systems. More American children than ever are overweight, causing them to suffer an array of adult health problems, such as calcium deficiency and osteoporosis. The low-fat nature of most fish makes them low in calories with fattier protein foods.

Omega-3s change the eicosanoids that foster immunity, and help the body resistinfection. Researchers at Oxford University have discovered that children withdyslexia and other learning problems benefit from eating fish oils. Sardines provide 50% fluoride, important for protection against cavities and osteoporosis.The sodium content of northern sardines is less than 120 milligrams.

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