Sardine (Sprat) Flavor Profile
When fresh, small sardines have a delicate taste, while larger fish have a fuller, oilier flavor, similar to Anchovies but milder. In the US, most sardines are canned in oil or a sauce, smoked, pickled or salted.
Typical Cooking Methods
Herring, Pacific Sardine, Atlantic Sardine, Rainbow Sardine, White Sardine, European Pilchard, Sprat or Brisling in Scotland, Sardinella in Spain, Sild in Norway, iwashi is the sushi name for sardines.
Typical Wholesale Products
Fresh: Whole, Fillets
Frozen: Whole, Fillets
Processed: Canned, Salted, Smoked, Pickled
Sardine Description (Sardina pilchardus, Sardinops sagax, others)
The name Sardine came from the canning of small fish in Sardinia. In the culinary world "Sardine" does not refer to a specific species but rather to a number of species of the Herring family. In general, small Herring are called Sardines. According to the FAO/WHO Codex of standards for canned Sardines there are 22 species which can be called Sardine. FishBase lists over 30 species worldwide which are called Sardine. In the US there are two primary species: the Atlantic Sardine Sardina pilchardus (European Pilchard) and the Pacific Sardine Sardinops sagax.
Sardines can grow to about 1.3 feet long, but typical sizes are less than 9 inches. Anchovies are similar to sardines but are usually smaller and have an upper jaw which protrudes farther than the lower jaw, while on sardines the lower jaw protrudes.
Atlantic Sardine - image from FishBase
Fresh Sardine Availability
Fresh seafood availability chart: green areas show peak availability, light green show limited availability, gray indicates not available fresh. Frozen available all year long.
Sardine (Sprat, Pilchard) Butchering Yield Percentage and Recovery
|Item||To Dressed Head/On||To Skin/On Fillets||To Skin/Off Fillets|
|Whole Head/On gutted||--||64%||59%|
Range & Habitat
Sardines are found in shallow coastal temperate and subtropical oceans world wide. They are a small pelagic schooling fish with a life span of up to 14 years, but the majority of sardines are less than 6 years old.
Pilchard Sardine Range AquaMaps Data sources: GBIF OBIS
Sardine Sustainability Info
|Name||Alternate Names||Catch Method||Catch|
|Pacific Sardines, Sardinops sagax||Iwashi, Pilchard, Sardine
||Wild - Purse Seine||US, Canada||Low
|Japanese Sardine, Sardinella zunasi||Wild - Seine Net||Northeast Pacific||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Orangespot Sardine, Sardinella brasiliensis||Atlantic Ocean||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Spanish Sardine, Sardinella aurita||Atlantic Ocean||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Atlantic Sardines, Sardina pilchardus||European Pilchard, Iwashi, Pilchard, Sardine||Wild - Bottom Trawl, Midwater Trawl, Purse Seine||Mediterranean Sea|
|Disclaimer: The sustainability info above is accurate to the best of our knowledge. However, each program randomly updates their information without our knowledge. We therefore recommend that you verify the current accuracy of this information.|
= Best Choice/Recommended = Good Alternative = Avoid/Not Recommended
For additional info on sustainable seafood and options for purchasing sustainable seafood visit FishChoice.
based upon a 6 oz (171 grams) raw edible serving
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David Buchanan is a professional chef and author of Chefs-Resources.com, a site geared towards providing chefs and culinarians useful info to help in their kitchens.
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