Fish of the Week – Sardine

July 16, 2013 at 7:25 AM | Posted in fish, Food | 1 Comment
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Sardines, or pilchards, are common names used to refer to various small, oily fish within the herring family of Clupeidae. The

Sardines are small epipelagic fish that sometimes migrate along the coast in large schools. They are an important forage fish for larger forms of marine life.

Sardines are small epipelagic fish that sometimes migrate along the coast in large schools. They are an important forage fish for larger forms of marine life.

termsardine was first used in English during the early 15th century and may come from the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, around which sardines were once abundant.

The terms sardine and pilchard are not precise, and what is meant depends on the region. The United Kingdom’s Sea Fish Industry Authority, for example, classifies sardines as young pilchards. One criterion suggests fish shorter in length than 6 inches (15 cm) are sardines, and larger ones pilchards. The FAO/WHO Codex standard for canned sardines cites 21 species that may be classed as sardines; FishBase, a comprehensive database of information about fish, calls at least six species “pilchard”, over a dozen just “sardine”, and many more with the two basic names qualified by various adjectives.

 

 

Typically, sardines are caught with encircling nets, particularly purse seines. Many modifications of encircling nets are used, including traps or weirs. The latter are stationary enclosures composed of stakes into which schools of sardines are diverted as they swim along the coast. The fish are caught mainly at night, when they approach the surface to feed on plankton. After harvesting, the fish are submerged in brine while they are transported to shore.
Sardines are commercially fished for a variety of uses: for bait; for immediate consumption; for drying, salting, or smoking; and for reduction into fish meal or oil. The chief use of sardines is for human consumption, but fish meal is used as animal feed, while sardine oil has many uses, including the manufacture of paint, varnish and linoleum.

 

 

Sardines are commonly consumed by humans. Fresh sardines are often grilled, pickled or smoked, or they are preserved in cans.
Sardines are rich in vitamins and minerals. A small serving of sardines once a day can provide 13 percent of vitamin B2; roughly one-quarter of niacin; and about 150 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin B12. All B vitamins help to support proper nervous system function and are used for energy metabolism, or converting food into energy. Also, sardines are high in the major minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, potassium, and some trace minerals including iron and selenium. Sardines are also a natural source of marine omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce the occurrence of cardiovascular disease. Recent studies suggest that regular consumption of omega-3 fatty acids reduces the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease. These fatty acids can also lower blood sugar levels. They are also a good source of vitamin D, calcium, vitamin B12, and protein.
Because they are low in the food chain, sardines are very low in contaminants, such as mercury, relative to other fish commonly eaten by humans.

 

 

In the United States, the sardine canning industry peaked in the 1950s. Since then, the industry has been on the decline. The last

Sardines

Sardines

large sardine cannery in the United States, the Stinson Seafood plant in Prospect Harbor, Maine, closed its doors on April 15, 2010 after 135 years in operation.
Pilchard fishing and processing became a thriving industry in Cornwall (UK) from around 1750 to around 1880, after which it went into decline. As of 2007, however, stocks are improving. Since 1997, sardines from Cornwall have been sold as “Cornish sardines”, and since March 2010, under EU law, Cornish sardines have Protected Geographical Status. The industry has featured in numerous works of art, particularly by Stanhope Forbes and other Newlyn School artists.
The traditional “Toast to Pilchards” refers to the lucrative export of the fish to Catholic Europe;
“Here’s health to the Pope, may he live to repent
And add just six months to the term of his Lent
And tell all his vassals from Rome to the Poles,
There’s nothing like pilchards for saving their souls!”

 

 

The close packing of sardines in the can has led to their metaphorical use of the name in describing any situation where people or objects are crowded together, for instance, in a bus or subway car. It has also been used as the name of a children’s game, where one person hides and each successive person who finds the hidden one packs into the same space until there is only one left out, who becomes the next one to hide.

 

National Dish of the Week – United States Great Lakes Region

November 25, 2011 at 2:06 PM | Posted in baking, Food | 2 Comments
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United States Great Lakes Region

The Great Lakes region of the United States includes the states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New York. The region enjoys four distinct seasons. Although the climate is considered temperate, temperatures in the summer can exceed 100°F and can drop to –10°F in the winter. There is rich farm land, and farmers’ markets offer abundant produce and fruit in the late summer and early fall across the region.

The region is also home to much manufacturing activity. Industrial pollution threatened the health of the Great Lakes, especially Lake Erie (the smallest Great Lake), until the 1960s, when a growing awareness of environmental concerns led to increased government regulation. Acid-rain, believed to be caused by air pollution generated by the coal-fired utility plants in the region, is also a concern. Increased acidity in the lakes creates unhealthy conditions for fish and other living things in the ecosystem of the region.

The Great Lakes region was originally populated by American Indians who taught later European settlers how to hunt the local game, fish, and gather wild rice and maple syrup, as well as how to grow and eat corn and native squashes and beans. The European immigrants, mostly from Germany, Scandinavia, Holland, Poland, and Cornwall, England, each shared their traditional dishes with the rest of America. The Germans contributed frankfurters (hot dogs), hamburgers, sauerkraut, potato salad, noodles, bratwurst,

Various types of Kielbasa

liverwurst, and pretzels to the American diet. Scandinavian foods include lefse (potato flatbread), limpa (rye bread), lutefisk (dried cod soaked in lye), and Swedish meatballs, as well as the smorgasbord (a table laid out with several courses of small foods). The Polish introduced kielbasa (a type of sausage) , pierogies (a type of stuffed pasta), Polish dill pickles, and babka (an egg cake). Pancakes are a Dutch contribution, along with waffles, doughnuts, cookies, and coleslaw. Miners from Cornwall brought their Cornish pasties, and small meat pies that were easily carried for lunch. Later immigrants from Arab countries settled in Detroit, Michigan, and introduced America to foods like hummus (puréed chickpeas), felafel (deep-fried bean cakes), and tabbouleh (bulgur wheat salad).

Dairy is a major industry in the Great Lakes region, particularly Wisconsin, known as “America’s Dairyland.” Dairy farmers in Wisconsin milk about 2 million cows every day, and there is one cow for every two people in the state. Not surprisingly, milk, butter, and cheese are staples in the Great Lakes diet. Pigs are also common on farms in the Great Lakes region because they take up less space and are easier to raise than beef cattle. Pork, therefore, is another common ingredient in Great Lakes cooking, especially in the form of sausage.

The majority of those who live around the Great Lakes are descended from German, Scandinavian, and Dutch farmers who settled there in the 1800s. Farming life shaped the diet and mealtime schedule of the region. Hearty breakfasts and generous lunches gave the farmers the energy to finish their work. German immigrants taught America to serve meals “family-style,” with all the food on the table at once, rather than bringing it out to the table in individual servings.

The Scandinavians brought their tradition of the smorgasbord to America. The smorgasbord is a large feast made up of a variety of small dishes laid out together on one table, beginning with bread and fish and moving through hot dishes, such as Swedish meatballs, all the way to dessert. Each person or family brings a dish to contribute to the smorgasbord. (The word “smorgasbord” has even been adopted into the English language to refer generally to anything offering a wide variety of items.)

 

Miners from Cornwall, England, had long eaten pasties (PAST-eez), small meat pies that were easy to carry for lunch. Immigrants to

A pasty

the Great Lakes area brought their tradition of Cornish pasties with them, and they are still a popular snack in the area.

Germans love beer and started a number of breweries around the Great Lakes. The Pabst and Schlitz breweries were both founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the 1800s by German Americans. (Milwaukee still ranks as the number-one beer-drinking city in America: While Americans on average drink 6 gallons of beer per year, Milwaukee residents average 42 gallons.) The Great Lakes region is also home to many well-known food companies, including Kellogg’s, Kraft, Pillsbury, Green Giant, and Land O’ Lakes.

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