6

votes

How can I find *real* canned sardines, not a fake substitute?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 15, 2012 at 9:31 PM

I just wrote up some information for Angelo Coppola of Latest in Paleo, and I thought I'd share here too (It's my first time posting, and I'm a bit shy).

Obviously fresh is best, but if you're buying canned sardines, there's a trick finding the good, tasty stuff. You have to know that so much of what is canned and labelled as sardines ARE NOT REAL SARDINES! That's why you get the nasty, over-powering fishy taste. The secret is that you have to find double layer, bristling sardines. I use Oscar Brand, which can be found at Wal-Mart for $2.50/can. Below is my comment to Angelo, which talks more about the real vs. fake sardines problem:

Angelo - thank you so much for an always enjoyable and informative podcast! I listen to you religiously. So, when I stumbled upon a potential solution to your sardine conundrum (your not caring for the taste), I had to share. I've also got a recommendation for several other ways to enjoy small, fatty fishes that the Paleo community might not be aware of.

My father just made for me a super simple and scrumptious sardine dish I think anyone can appreciate. It's his simpler, less expensive version of the Sherried Sardines recipe by Alton Brown on his "Good Eats" show: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/sherried-sardine-toast-recipe/index.html The trick to finding tasty sardines is this: You MUST buy DOUBLE LAYER BRISTLING sardines (ex: Oscar's brand, from Walmart, $2.50/can, has a yellow wrapper, in olive oil). Quality is everything. Regular, cheap $1.00 cans of sardines are usually not real sardines at all - just some random small fish labelled as sardines, which is where the nasty, over-powering fishy taste comes from. You can tell real sardines by how they fit in a double layer in a can because they are smaller than the cheap substitutes. They taste far less strong and fishy - they're remarkably subtle, not fishy at all really. Double layer, bristling.

Sardine Recipe: - Drain one can of double layer bristling sardines & arrange on a plate - sprinkle liberally with granulated garlic or garlic powder - sprinkle liberally with lemon or lime juice - sprinkle liberally with dried parsley leaves - top liberally with spoonfuls of a Mexican hot tomato sauce, which you can find for $1.00 a can in the Mexican section of most grocery stores.

This can be eaten as is, or if -and I know this is heresy - you are a bit naughty and following the 80/20 principle (or you are amenable to some carbs on occassion) it's delicious on top of some low-carb toast, which is how it was originally intended to be eaten. I use toasted rice bread or tapioca bread.

Here are my other two suggestions for eating more cheap, small fatty fishes - REAL homemade Ceaser dressing is cheap, easy, and delicious, if you have a taste for Ceasar.

Anchovie Ceasar dressing recipe: It involves blending 1/2 to one whole can of anchovies, a raw egg or egg yolk, some lemon juice, some pepper, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, a teaspoon of tangy mustard (Dijon is perfect), a crushed or diced garlic clove, and roughly 1/4 cup olive oil. Drizzle over Romaine lettuce, top with grated parmesan, if you eat cheese. The nutritional value here is beautiful.

Last, here's a secret I"m not sure the Paleo community has cottoned-on to, but that our British cousins from across the Pond are well aware of: Kipper snacks! Sauteed fish for breakfast! Kippers, if anyone isn't aware, are smoked herring, another fatty omega 3 fish. For the Harry Potter fans, throughout the books Harry is mentioned occasionally as eating sauteed kippers for breakfast.

I recommend the POLAR brand, which is dirt cheap, usually $1.00/can, and can be widely found, especially in Dollar Stores. It's a German product that is naturally smoked and includes no additives or preservatives.

Sauteed Kippers recipe: Typically the kippers are sauteed in butter with onions and diced potatoes, but the potatoes can be left out if one avoids them.

(As an afterthought that didn't appear in my original comment, I've also sauteed kippers and onions and mixed them with some scrambled eggs, which is also delicious).

Enjoy :)

1586db0f16b2cef51ee4e71ab08ad1a2

(965)

on May 03, 2012
at 05:50 PM

Glad to hear it! Pick up a few of their varieties. I've been happy with all of them and they're my go to sardine. :)

1955b5516a3eaedce732f4ea8bb3fa6c

on May 02, 2012
at 03:44 AM

I can't remember what I ended up buying but I just bought a package of "brisling" sardines soon after reading this thread and it was AWESOME! Perfect yummy healthy great snack, worlds different from those gross fake sardines I bought before! Thank you thank you who knows how long it would have been before I figured this one out! :)

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on April 28, 2012
at 03:05 PM

See my comment on the main question - there is no single sardine species.

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on April 28, 2012
at 03:04 PM

Your premise is off - sardine, as well as smelts an many other small fish, define *types* of fish, not individual species; i.e. there is no single sardine species. Your points on quality and taste preference make sense.

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on April 28, 2012
at 02:44 PM

I'm really happy to read these recommendations for Wild Planet, as my food coop carries them. I'd been hesitant to try them on account of having had so many mediocre sardines--and they are more expensive. They sell tuna in glass jars, as well, and their oil-packed fish specifies "extra virgin olive oil," where most oil-packed use soy or seed oils, or "olive oil," which I gather can mean refined olive oil.

1586db0f16b2cef51ee4e71ab08ad1a2

(965)

on April 16, 2012
at 02:28 PM

Ingredients: sardines, water, tomato paste, garlic, suger, salt, oregano, pepper powder, basil. Nutrition facts: serving size 2oz, servings 2.5; total fat: 1.5g, total carb. 0g, protein 11g. So very very little suger.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on April 16, 2012
at 11:17 AM

Water-packed is the way to go, no diluting my omega-6s!

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on April 16, 2012
at 04:44 AM

Just tried Wild Planet for the first time this week; I think I'll be switching from Crown Prince. They were awesome.

A4216f1b1e1f5ab3815bd91700905081

(1646)

on April 16, 2012
at 04:34 AM

Gotta try those. Any sugar in the marinara sauce?

A4216f1b1e1f5ab3815bd91700905081

(1646)

on April 16, 2012
at 03:44 AM

When flavor is an issue, yeah. But, as long as they're not mixing soy or canola oil in to save money on the olive oil, you're absolutely right.

A4216f1b1e1f5ab3815bd91700905081

(1646)

on April 16, 2012
at 03:42 AM

The one thing I loved about the Crown Prince brand is a lack of "over fishiness" in the flavor, and there's a pleasant smoky back flavor. Sardines are small and will naturally be more fishy than, say, a good Ahi Tina steak, but the cheaper "everything is a sardine" brands tend to be overpoweringly so.

Ba09704971e33481f5716c4790648966

(1794)

on April 15, 2012
at 10:01 PM

I third that notion.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 15, 2012
at 09:54 PM

ditto. Wild Planet makes the best seafood in a can.

  • F38aee0e8bec0b3001c5872abf6e7f1e

    asked by

    (30)
  • Views
    30.9K
  • Last Activity
    1430D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

5 Answers

5
1586db0f16b2cef51ee4e71ab08ad1a2

(965)

on April 15, 2012
at 09:50 PM

I really prefer the Wild Planet brand sardines, BPA free. Particularly these ones: Wild Planet Wild Sardines in Marinara Sauce, 4.375-Ounce. The ingredients are very bare-bones and paleo-friendly, and the sauce makes them tasty enough to simply toss over some salad and be set.

Not mega fishy, either. Mmm.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 15, 2012
at 09:54 PM

ditto. Wild Planet makes the best seafood in a can.

Ba09704971e33481f5716c4790648966

(1794)

on April 15, 2012
at 10:01 PM

I third that notion.

A4216f1b1e1f5ab3815bd91700905081

(1646)

on April 16, 2012
at 04:34 AM

Gotta try those. Any sugar in the marinara sauce?

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on April 16, 2012
at 04:44 AM

Just tried Wild Planet for the first time this week; I think I'll be switching from Crown Prince. They were awesome.

1586db0f16b2cef51ee4e71ab08ad1a2

(965)

on April 16, 2012
at 02:28 PM

Ingredients: sardines, water, tomato paste, garlic, suger, salt, oregano, pepper powder, basil. Nutrition facts: serving size 2oz, servings 2.5; total fat: 1.5g, total carb. 0g, protein 11g. So very very little suger.

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on April 28, 2012
at 02:44 PM

I'm really happy to read these recommendations for Wild Planet, as my food coop carries them. I'd been hesitant to try them on account of having had so many mediocre sardines--and they are more expensive. They sell tuna in glass jars, as well, and their oil-packed fish specifies "extra virgin olive oil," where most oil-packed use soy or seed oils, or "olive oil," which I gather can mean refined olive oil.

1586db0f16b2cef51ee4e71ab08ad1a2

(965)

on May 03, 2012
at 05:50 PM

Glad to hear it! Pick up a few of their varieties. I've been happy with all of them and they're my go to sardine. :)

1
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on April 15, 2012
at 11:55 PM

Should we care if our sardines aren't technically sardines? After all, they still highly nutritious food even if they're not.

Also: smoked kipper snacks are awesome.

A4216f1b1e1f5ab3815bd91700905081

(1646)

on April 16, 2012
at 03:44 AM

When flavor is an issue, yeah. But, as long as they're not mixing soy or canola oil in to save money on the olive oil, you're absolutely right.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on April 16, 2012
at 11:17 AM

Water-packed is the way to go, no diluting my omega-6s!

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on April 28, 2012
at 03:05 PM

See my comment on the main question - there is no single sardine species.

0
736662d9fd6314d426cc6de1896aa045

(175)

on April 28, 2012
at 02:05 PM

In the UK brisling are canned under the name skippers (not kippers - different thing, as mentioned by OP). Smoked, in sunflower oil.

Pour off the oil, obviously - although the can says omega-3 is about 1/3 of the polyunsaturaed fat in the can. Guess that means 1:2 omega-3/-6 ratio.

Much less fishy than canned sardines.

0
1955b5516a3eaedce732f4ea8bb3fa6c

on April 16, 2012
at 02:15 AM

thanks, this is really helpful actually. I used to like sardines as a kid but haven't eaten them in years. I bought some since going paleo/primal and hated them (FISHY!!!) so I am betting this was the problem. I will give it another go and look for your recommended brand at wally world!

A4216f1b1e1f5ab3815bd91700905081

(1646)

on April 16, 2012
at 03:42 AM

The one thing I loved about the Crown Prince brand is a lack of "over fishiness" in the flavor, and there's a pleasant smoky back flavor. Sardines are small and will naturally be more fishy than, say, a good Ahi Tina steak, but the cheaper "everything is a sardine" brands tend to be overpoweringly so.

1955b5516a3eaedce732f4ea8bb3fa6c

on May 02, 2012
at 03:44 AM

I can't remember what I ended up buying but I just bought a package of "brisling" sardines soon after reading this thread and it was AWESOME! Perfect yummy healthy great snack, worlds different from those gross fake sardines I bought before! Thank you thank you who knows how long it would have been before I figured this one out! :)

0
A4216f1b1e1f5ab3815bd91700905081

on April 16, 2012
at 01:38 AM

I'm a huge fan of the Crown Prince brand of Brisling sardines. I've noticed that the "Brisling" label is very important, as it denotes the species of fish. The tins packed in spring water are tasty, too.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!