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What You Should Know About Canned Tuna, Mackerel, Anchovies, Sardines, Herring, and Salmon

Updated on March 30, 2013
Canned fish
Canned fish | Source

Canned Fish

We all know that fish is an excellent source of protein and healthy fats. Unfortunately, few of us are in a position to buy all the fresh fish we want. Near the coast, it’s inexpensive; in the heart of a continent, it’s not only expensive, it’s also less than fresh. What to do?

Well, there’s a relatively inexpensive and high-quality solution to this problem that will keep on your pantry shelf for months. In fact, you may already have some there. What is it? Canned fish.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the big six of the canned fish world, focusing on the taste and nutrition of each one. We’ll also look at their overall availability and their impact on the environment.


Big Fish 1: Tuna

What is it?

A large fish that is usually found in warmer ocean waters. It is usually canned in water or oil, with or without salt. Sometimes other flavors are used. Most tuna costs $2 or less per can.

How does it taste?

Tuna has a strong but familiar fish taste. This taste can be affected by whether it is preserved in water or oil.

What recipes feature canned tuna?

The best-known and best-loved tuna recipe, by far, is the tuna fish sandwich. Canned tuna can also make an appearance in pasta salads, casseroles, fish soups, and green salads.

What impact does tuna have on the environment?

Several popular species of tuna are being over fished, while others are sustainable. Other species are either already endangered or may soon become so.

Are there any health risks associated with eating tuna?

Mercury poisoning is associated with eating large amounts of tuna. Children, and women who are of childbearing age, pregnant, or nursing are most likely to be affected. Experts recommend eating no more than 5 ounces total per week.

Tuna is high in protein, niacin, and B-12, moderate in healthy fats, and low in sodium.


Big Fish 2: Mackerel

What is it?

Mackerels share a family with the many species of tuna. Like tuna, they live in saltwater environments, usually in warm or temperate regions.

How does it taste?

Mackerel has a pronounced oily, fishy flavor.

What recipes feature canned mackerel?

Canned mackerel is often used to make fish cakes or patties. It can also be used to make a sandwich filling, much like tuna fish.

What impact does mackerel have on the environment?

Over fishing has started to be a problem, but mackerel stocks are expected to remain stay for a few more years.

Are there any health risks associated with eating mackerel?

With the exception of king mackerel, mackerel is much lower in Mercury than tuna. It is high in protein, Omega-3 and-6 oils, vitamins A and D, and some B vitamins.


Big Fish 3: Herring

What is it?

A slim fish found off the coasts of temperate areas, particularly in the northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Nearly 90% of all commercially-available herring come from one of three species.

How does it taste?

Herring is often smoked, pickled, or salted prior to canning. This will moderate its strong, fishy flavor.

What recipes feature canned herring?

The flagship British recipe for herring involves smoked or salted herring served on toast. Scandinavian recipes make a herring salad with hard-boiled eggs, vegetables, and potatoes.

What impact does herring have on the environment?

Herring fisheries, especially in the Atlantic, are currently considered sustainable.

Are there any health risks associated with eating herring?

Herring is a good alternative to tuna, as it has a much lower mercury content. It is high in Vitamin D, protein, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Pickled and kippered herring can be high in sodium.


Big Fish 4: Salmon

What is it?

Salmon can be found in lakes, rivers, and streams, as well as in ocean water. They range in size from small to about 30 lbs.

How does it taste?

Salmon has a mild, almost sweet taste. The darker fatty areas can have a strong fish flavor.

What recipes feature canned salmon?

Canned salmon is used in many recipes, including fish soup, sandwich fillings, salmon cakes, casseroles, and salads.

What impact does salmon have on the environment?

Although salmon demand is increasing, there are no immediate problems with the fisheries. Farmed salmon is also widely available.

Are there any health risks associated with eating salmon?

Salmon is low in Mercury and high in protein, Vitamin D, and Omega-3. Farmed salmon has a higher chance of being contaminated with various pollutants than does wild-caught salmon. Salmon is a popular ingredient in Sushi, and has many health benefits.


Big Fish 5: Anchovies

What are they?

Over 140 species of fish are called anchovies. They range from less than 1 inch in size to over 16 inches. Anchovies are found in temperate ocean waters.

How do they taste?

Because anchovies sold in North America are cured before canning, they have a very strong, salty, oily fish tastes.

What recipes feature canned anchovies?

Anchovies are almost always used in small qualities, as a seasoning. They are sometimes eaten on buttered toast or in salads, but sparingly.

What impact do anchovies have on the environment?

Currently, although anchovy harvest has been low recently, there is little danger of Over fishing.

Are there any health risks associated with eating anchovies?

Anchovies are high in cholesterol, but this pungent fish is usually served in small quantities.


Big Fish 6: Sardines

What are they?

Sardines can be any of 20 types of fish included in the herring family. Although Sardines can grow up to 12 inches long, they are usually much smaller. They live in warm salt water areas, such as off the western coast of the US and British Columbia.

How do they taste?

Canned sardines have a full fishy flavor and a meaty texture.

What recipes feature canned sardines?

Canned sardine are often eaten whole on toast or crackers. They may also be used in fritters, soups, or pasta dishes.

What impact do sardines have on the environment?

Sardine fishing has a low impact on the environment. The supply is abundant and sustainable.

Are there any health risks associated with eating sardines?

Sardines are low in mercury but high in cholesterol. They are also high in B12 and calcium.

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    • BristolBoy profile image

      BristolBoy 2 years ago from Bristol

      Got here via Google and I must say this is a very well written and informative hub. Well done!

    • profile image

      RyanDG 8 months ago

      Your info is helpful af. TQ

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