Sardine Family
California Sardines [family Clupeidae (Herrings)]

There are many varieties of Sardine, all members of the Herring Family, and each variety is likely to be known by a number of local names. Larger fish may be sold fresh but many millions are canned every year, packed in water, oil, mustard sauce and tomato sauce, with and without hot chilis. Morocco is the largest producer of canned sardines in the world, providing 41% of the world's exports. Unfortunately, in my opinion, those canned just about anywhere else are better.

More on Varieties of Fish (very large page).


Spanish Sardine   -   [Sardinella aurita, Round Sardninella (fishbase)   |   Sardinella maderensis, Madeiran Sardinella (fishbase)]
Sardine

Spanish Sardine is supposed to be S. aurita, but the photo specimen, sold as such, looks more like S. maderensis to me. aurita lives all along both Atlantic coasts, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean in both tropical and temperate zones. Maderensis is an East Atlantic and Mediterranean fish. While both species can grow to over 12 inches, the photo specimen was 10-1/2 inches long, 3 inches high, 1-1/4 inches thick and weighing 7-1/2 ounces. These fish are doing reasonably well and do not have an at-risk rating, though the Madeiran may be over-fished.   Details and Cooking

California Sardine   -   [South American Pilchard, Sardinops sagax]
Sardine

California is fortunate in having a good supply of these sardines sold fresh, but they are also found along both Pacific coasts, in the Indian Ocean and on the Atlantic side of South Africa. The photo specimens are about 7 inches long and weigh about 2 ounces each.   Details and Cooking.

Brisling Sardine   -   [Sprattus sprattus]
European Sprat

This fish is not technically a Sardine, thought closely related. European Sprats, canned in the same style as Sardines, are called "Brisling Sardines" to differentiate them from the heavily smoked canned fish widely known as "Sprats".   The Sprat genus now has it's own page.

Canned Sardines
Canned Sardines There are many varieties of Sardine, all members of the Herring Family, and each variety is likely to be known by a number of local names. Larger fish may be sold fresh but many millions are canned every year, packed in water, oil, mustard sauce and tomato sauce, with and without hot chilis.

Morocco is the largest producer of canned sardines in the world, providing 41% of the world's exports. Personally, I find Moroccan sardines often harsh, and prefer those canned just about anywhere else. Though the flavor is not always bad, Moroccan sardines are often still covered with scales and can range from crumbly to mushy.

I have had excellent canned sardines from Portugal, Spain, Canada, Poland and Southeast Asia. Those I use most are from Poland. The two brands common around here are Bumblebee and SeaCliff. I prefer Bumblebee as SeaCliff are a little too mild for my taste.

Norway was once a major exporter of very fine sardines, but the major fishing and packing centers have been replaced by oil refineries since the discovery of oil and gas in the North Sea.   Details and Cooking.

Philippine Dried Sardine   -   [Tuyo; genus Sardinella]
Whole Dried Sardines

Many small and tiny fish are salted and dried in the Philippines and are generally called Daing, but sardines are important enough to have their own name, Tuyo. It is often simply fried whole until almost crisp and served with a vinegar dip. Accompanied with rice it is a very popular breakfast.   For details see our Daing, Tuyo page.

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