Sardines are small oily fish that belong to the family called Clupeidae. They are also called small herring in the U.S. or pilchards in Europe and other areas.

The exact origin of sardines is unknown but they are believed to have existed in abundance along the Mediterranean island of Sardinia. The fish derives its name from that place. Though sardines have always existed, the credit for their discovery goes to Napoleon Bonaparte, who gave it immense popularity. It was he who started the idea of producing canned sardines.

Apart from its strong fishy and delicious taste, sardine is a good source of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and also an excellent ingredient to prepare some incredible dishes on Easter days.

Health benefits

It´s recommended eating sardines regulary because they have several health benefits:

  • Sardines contain Omega-3 fatty acids that help to prevent heart disease due to their anti-inflammatory properties. With this property, they help to reduce the risk of blood clots, lower blood pressure, and improve brain function. And they may help to protect those who’ve had a heart attack in the past.
  • Sardines are rich in many essential nutrients, including vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, and selenium. Not only do these nutrients play a central role in the heart’s health, metabolism, and cellular function, but also they are also essential for maintaining a healthy skeletal structure. Consuming foods rich in calcium can prevent bone mineral loss and assist to heal broken bones following injuries. They can also prevent nutritional deficiencies and help to feel more energy.
  • Sardines contain several beneficial minerals. These include niacin, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus.
  • Contain a protein which is essential for you to build healthy bones and muscles.
  • They are a great source of low-calorie protein for people who are looking for losing weight.
  • The fats found in sardines play a big role in skin cells. They decrease skin inflammation and give you a healthy glow.
  • Sardines are rich in copper, which is vital to the generation of energy from carbohydrates inside of cells.

Useful and easy tips to prepare sardines

Sardines are a very versatile food. They can be eaten fresh, roasted, grilled, or baked. They can be served as a main dish, a side dish. They can also be added to salads, or eaten as a snack on crackers, but mostly you can buy them canned, which are widely available in most grocery stores. Sardines are often canned immediately after being caught because they are known to be very perishable.

Fresh sardines can be prepared by applying a mixture of your favorite spices such as pepper, salt, garlic, lemon juice, and other condiments.

The best-canned sardines are those that have been packed in olive oil or water as opposed to soybean oil or other types of refined oils. 

Even if canned sardine can last a long time it is advisable to always check the expiration date to ensure they have not lost their nutrients. Store them in a cool and dry place, like your kitchen or cabinet.

If you can find and buy fresh sardines, you should look for small fish that smell fresh and are still shiny and firm.

Sardines are naturally oily and have somewhat of a strong fishy taste. There are plenty of sardines recipes available online,  although a few popular methods for toning down the fishy taste of sardines. One of them is to soak sardines in buttermilk or yogurt, pickle them, grill them, or use them in combination with strong-flavored ingredients. Sardines are complemented by rich flavors like goat cheese, eggs, and fresh herbs.

You can also try using sardines on salads, blended into sauces and salad dressings, on top of pizza, or mixed into a scrambled egg; Sardine and vegetable salad is another simple Greek recipe. Take sardines and sauté them in olive oil for a few minutes. Cut small pieces of tomato, cucumber, olives, and feta and add them to the sautéd sardines. Add lemon, vinegar, salt, and pepper, and sprinkle parsley on the salad; You can cook spaghetti with sardine; You can also use canned sardines as a topping on simple crostini, using your favorite bread and an infinity of other delicious options.

And now you have all these “cuisine” secrets, are you ready to surprise with new awesome dishes?

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