When you are riding on a crowded subway or stuck in the middle seat of Cattle Class on an airplane, do you feel some kinship with these small oily fish?
From the New York Times on Steinbeck’s Cannery Row
When Steinbeck opened his 1945 novel “Cannery Row” by describing Monterey’s waterfront zone of sardine factories as “a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream,” California’s prodigious sardine industry was the largest fishery in the Western Hemisphere. But the end of the Row as he knew it was already in sight. The silver river that for years had poured out of boats and into Monterey’s 19 canneries and 20 meal and oil reduction plants was drying up.
November 24th recognizes these silver little fishes on National Sardines Day. They may not swim right up to your plate, but they sure do pack in the flavor.
While some people are afraid to taste these small, silverfish, others consider sardines a delicious snack enjoyed on their own or with crackers.
Sardines are several types of small, oily fish, related to herrings. While we might be most familiar with sardines packed in cans, some enjoy fresh sardines grilled. This small fish can also be pickled and smoked, too. When canned, they can be packed in water, olive, sunflower or soybean oil or tomato, chili or mustard sauce.
The term sardine was first used in English during the beginning of the 15th century, possibly coming from the Mediterranean island of Sardinia where there was an abundance of sardines.
Sardines are a great source of vitamins and minerals.
From one’s daily vitamin allowance containing:
- 13 % B2
- .25 % niacin
- 150% vitamin B12
- omega-3fatty acids
- vitamin D
– B vitamins are important in helping to support proper nervous system function and are used for energy metabolism.
– Omega 3 fatty acids reduce the occurrence of cardiovascular disease and regular consumption may reduce the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease and can even boost brain function as well as help lower blood sugar levels.
Relative to other fish commonly eaten by humans, sardines are very low in contaminants, such as mercury.