There is a funny little quote I came across from an 1984 issue of the U.S Town & Country magazine called “The Unsung Sardine”. The author, James Villas, harped on about the wonders of the tiny fish, stating that “ounce for ounce, sardines provide more calcium and phosphorus than milk, more protein than steak, more potassium than bananas, and more iron than cooked spinach.”
So let’s set the record straight.
The sardines you see being sold for 0.95c a can at your supermarket aren’t sardines!
In fact. A sardine isn’t really a species of fish!
It is merely a term to describe a small version of the herring family.
So those oil slicked, overly fishy ‘sardines’ you are thinking of are more than likely a small oily fish.
But not a sardine.
A TRUE sardine will come from the pure Mediterranean waters (hence the name sardine after the island Sardinia).
And a GOOD sardine will be processed not long after being caught and won’t have that ‘odor’ so prevalent in most canned sardines that have been frozen before the tinning process has begun.
So as you can see, being relegated to the office storeroom to eat my sardine lunch is a sign of ignorance. Clearly these folks haven’t ever supped on the wonder that is a sardine. And boy, are they missing out!
- They are a phenomenal source of omega 3’s. With the nutrient content of sardines including additional vitamin D, selenium and protein than your average fish oil tablet- I would say your money is far better spent investing in a tin of sardines over a pill, whose precious oils are probably rancid by the time it hits the shelf. With oxidised fats being pro rather than anti- inflammatory, you are shooting yourself in the foot if you are taking an inferior fish supplement.
- They are sustainable. If you are worried about which fish to choose, check out this place. If you have a look at which canned seafood is the best choice, there are only two! Sardines and Salmon.
- They have little bones in them FILLED WITH CALCIUM, which you smash up and disintegrate and EAT. I once had a friend try to ‘debone’ a tinned sardine fillet only to cry out in frustration that they kept disappearing! Yep. They are fragile; you won’t taste them and are a true Superfood. (None of this dehydrated berry stuff
- FAST FOOD! They are ridiculously transportable and the best ‘on the go’ food I can think of. Particularly if you buy a good quality BPA FREE tinned variety in a yummy sauce or E.V.O.O. All you need is a lunchbox of salad/veggie assortments and ‘e presto’ whack open a tin, pour out the contents and you have your protein and dressing in one. Delish
- Consider them a ‘multivitamin’ containing, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese as well as the full gamut of B vitamins.
And finally…they are delicious.
SO. Before you turn your nose up at the humble ‘herring’, why not track down a true sardine and taste the difference for yourself.