Rediscovering Sardines

I think I went from age 12 through 26 without touching seafood (other than calamari once at Red Lobster).  From age 8-12 about all I’d eat in the way of seafood was canned clam chowder.    Then for some reason I absolutely couldn’t get myself to eat it.

In 2008 I went to London and walked past a popular fish & chips joint near Boylen Ground, home of West Ham United after a match.   I didn’t have anywhere to be and it smelled really good so I figured I’d give fish another shot because I really wanted to like it.   I ended up liking it and working it back into my diet since then, although I prefer terrestrial vittles.

With the exception of all the more obscure ways of preparing seafood like lutefisk and whatever that fermented shark from Iceland is called (tried that, it was the absolute worst thing I’ve ever tasted), I would have pegged sardines as the fish I would be the least enthused to eat.   I heard someone singing their praises for the health benefits a while back ago and ended up finding a good sale on the Wild Planet brand of sardines and buying a few tins.

I tried them today.   I pretty much flinched as I took the first bite and found that they really weren’t that bad.   In fact, they were pretty good – I could see myself eating them every now and then.

Why do I think this is significant enough to actually type something about it?

– They’re a very healthy food.    They’re good sources of omega 3’s, selenium, calcium, vitamin D, coQ10, potassium and iron.   There’s beneficial fats and they’re dense in protein.

– They’re convenient.  Just open and eat.   No cooking required.

–  They’re good for storage, just like other canned foods.

–  A tin of sardines is about the size of a bar of soap, so it’s easy to carry around a bit of nutritionally dense food.   It’s also easy to store a lot of nutritionally dense food in a small space with sardines, especially considering the rectangular shape of the box/tin.

–   There are a lot of concerns about eating fish because they accumulate toxins easily and virtually anywhere you’ll get fish will likely come from waters with contaminants.   As I understand it, smaller fish like sardines and anchovies tend to accumulate a lot less toxins than larger fish that are higher on the food chain (bioaccumulation) and tend to have longer lifespans.    Interestingly enough, they also contain selenium which is good for fighting things in your body that shouldn’t be there.

So yeah, I’ll probably start working these in to my diet and food storage.