What are Sardines?

So you've heard about the many health benefits of sardines and are interested in learning more about exactly what sardines are, and how sardines can help you? The term “sardine” is not a scientific classification, but can refer to various species of small oily fish from the Clupeidae family. Known in some regions as “pilchards”, sardines share the Clupeidae family with their close relatives; herring and sprat, which are also sometimes labeled as “sardines” in certain contexts. A popular source of sustainable nutrients for humans and plants alike, sardines are one of the most commercially important fish. While the focus of this website is on canned sardine reviews, sardines also find use as a bait fish, in plant fertilizer, and as the key ingredient in fish oil.

Known for vast “shoals”, where billions of fish congregate together, sardines occupy a low trophic level and feed mostly on plankton, making them low in mercury compared to larger species of fish, and plentiful enough to be sustainably fished. While sardines can be found in oceans all over the world, they are most commonly imported to the US from Morrocco, Poland, Canada, and Thailand.

While the sardine craze of the mid 1980's has faded, sardines are seeing a resuregence in popularity with health-conscious consumers, especially those on low carb diets, looking for affordable and healthy snacks to pair with their lifestyles. Averaging 0 carbs, 1750mg of omega-3 fatty acids, 33% (18g) of protein, 200% of vitamin B12, 25% of vitamin D, and 14% of calcium per serving, it's easy to see why sardines have long been considered a staple food.

While some sardine recipes call for raw sardines, canned sardines that have already been smoked or steamed are the type you're most likely to encounter at the grocery store. Owing to their loose classification, sardines can vary substantially in size, appearance, and flavor, making them an interesting and rewarding hobby for a new generation of foodies in search of sustainable and healthy flavors. Read through our sardine reviews or browse our collection of free sardine recipes to learn more about incorporating sardines into your life!

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