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Anchovies: what it is, beneficial properties, nutritional value and harm

Calorie content: 135 kcal.

Energy value of the product Anchovies:
Proteins: 20.1 g.
Fat: 6.1 g
Carbohydrates: 0 g.

Anchovies represent a small fish, which belongs to the order of the seldeobraznyh. There is another name that for many is more familiar — hamsa. In total there are about 15 species. The fish body is long and on average reaches about 15 cm and is colored in a gray-blue color. The head is flattened laterally, and the mouth is disproportionate and large (see photo).

Anchovies inhabit large flocks away from the coast. You can meet this fish in both hemispheres. Life expectancy is no more than 4 years. This type of fish quickly spreads. Anchovies canned, which allows them to be stored for 2 years and transported over long distances.

In some countries, a large number of anchovy is used in industry for the preparation of convenience foods, fish meal, fertilizer, and also as bait for other more valuable fish. The video below provides additional information about this product.

Where are the anchovies and how are they caught? This question can be heard from people who are just stepping on a long journey of knowledge of culinary skills, and from experienced chefs. The latter often do not think about it and simply use delicious fish to prepare masterpieces, as they say, out of nothing. Let’s understand this question.

So, the genus of the anchovy family includes fifteen species of fish found everywhere in the waters of the oceans and most seas. Depending on the range, anchovies have small external differences and differ somewhat in taste characteristics. The most well-known fish species live in the Mediterranean Sea, as well as in the waters of the Black and Azov Seas. And besides these subspecies in the world are widely used:

  • Argentine anchovy, which are caught in the south of mainland South America;
  • California anchovy, abundantly fished off the coast of North America;
  • Cape anchovy, gathering in flocks in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of southern African states;
  • Peruvian and silver anchovy that live off the coast at the junction of the continents of South and North America;
  • Japanese anchovy living off the coast of Sakhalin and Kamchatka, as well as in the Sea of ​​Okhotsk.

Due to its small size, the fish gathers in flocks and migrates in this way in the underwater kingdom. This pushes people to commercial fishing. And this occupation is very productive due to the large size of the flocks and the wide distribution of anchovies. Usually, they are caught at the end of the summer or at the beginning of the autumn, when the fish visits the relatively shallow water. Anchovy prefers warm water, and in the cold season it goes to the south of the seas and sinks to a depth of more than eighty meters.

Catch anchovies using special purse nets or pelagic trawls with small cells of nets. Thus, a one-time catch of fish is an impressive amount, but in the end, the cost of production is quite low due to minimal costs. On the shelves, the price is also acceptable.

The catch of anchovies in large quantities in the last century created a situation where fishing was completely prohibited. Over time, when the population of this fish was restored under natural conditions (after all, it is inexpedient to breed this type of fish in fish farm conditions), the official catch was resumed and even slightly increased its volumes. Now on the fish shelves, this fish is available and sold out very quickly.

“Anchovies, sprat, hamsa — what’s the difference?” — you will think and start searching for information on the Internet and in the special literature. Let us try to systematize knowledge so that we don’t have to spend time searching for an answer to this question.

So, all these types of fish — this is not the same thing. Although anchovy is sometimes called the Black Sea hamsa, popularly referred to as the Black-backed, it is fundamentally wrong. Fish differ not only in appearance, but also in taste. This will be told to you by experienced chefs, who state with confidence that only the meat of anchovies makes the most delicious and authentic sauces and seasonings for which the cuisine of the Mediterranean countries is so famous. Having generalized knowledge, we will reduce the comparative characteristic in a tablet.

The oblong, cylindrical shape, the head is disproportionately large, as well as a huge mouth and disproportionately large eyes. Fresh fish have reddish spots on the body in the area of ​​gill slits..

It looks like a Baltic herring or small herring.

The oblong, cylindrical shape, the head does not stand out from the general background, although, like the anchovy, it is rather large in size.

Small and brilliant, it has splashes of black on the main silver. After the catch is not completely washed off and often remains at the head and at the edge of the tail.

Small, silver. Completely removed during shipping.

Medium size, silver with a slight yellow tint, and when removed — colorless. Completely removed during shipping..

Weight (average, in grams)

Reaches 14 cm.

A large individual can reach 8 cm.

Gentle, white. Feels — tight and elastic.

It has a silvery shade and more delicate taste than anchovy and hamsa.

White with a light cream shade. More gentle than anchovy, but also elastic.

About 30% of the total weight.

Unleavened, but in the case of improper cutting of the carcass may acquire a specific bitterness. It has a taste of fish oil.

Sweetish. The structure resembles sprat, although it has a pronounced taste of fish oil.

Neutral. Approximate in taste to herring. There is no pronounced fatty taste.

Each of these fish is unique in its own way, but only anchovies are used in “high” cooking for preparing various dishes. This will be discussed in the following sections of the article. Other types of fish (from the comparative table above) they are used only as a protein supplement to fresh dishes, although you can also cook many different tasty and unusual dishes from them.

In order not to harm the body and acquire high-quality fish, you need to know some secrets of how to choose it correctly:

  • Look at the appearance of anchovies: the carcass must be whole without any damage.
  • The surface of the fish should be clean, shiny with a small amount of mucus.
  • The scales should fit snugly and not fall out, and the eyes should be transparent without dimness.
  • The body of the fish should be elastic. Press it with your finger, it should spring up and in no case after that there should be no dents.

When choosing processed anchovies, give preference to whole fish in brine, as it is larger and tastier compared to the option in oil.

Fresh anchovies are recommended to be used immediately, since during storage the fish lose their healthy and taste qualities. Maximum storage time in the refrigerator — 4 days. If the anchovies freeze, then the time increases to 90 days. When buying fish in cans, put it in a plastic container, fill it with vegetable oil and close it tightly with a lid. Put the jar in the fridge.

The beneficial properties of anchovies are due to the presence of various vitamins and minerals. The protein contained in fish is almost as good as animal meat. The calorie content of the product is at an average level, so in small quantities properly cooked fish can be consumed during the diet.

The composition of anchovies includes vitamin A, which is necessary for visual acuity and to improve the metabolic rate. There are vitamin B1, necessary for the normal functioning of the heart, as well as the nervous system and digestion. Due to the presence of vitamin PP, the amount of cholesterol in the blood decreases, and it also participates in the distribution of oxygen throughout the body.

Given the presence of potassium and sodium in large quantities, the water balance is normalized, which in turn has a positive effect on the activity of the heart and kidneys, as well as the nervous system. There is phosphorus in anchovies, which is involved in the regeneration of bone tissue, and also improves the condition of the teeth and bones. Due to its calcium content, muscle performance is improved, and this mineral is also essential for bone tissue. Iron is a part of fish, which improves the blood condition and the blood formation process as a whole. There is in it and fluorine, which stimulates the immune system and iodine necessary for the normal course of metabolic processes.

Anchovy meat contains a large amount of fish oil, which is used in pharmacology and in cosmetology.

Anchovies are popular in cooking around the world. Use them fresh, as well as at home they are salted, dried, smoked and marinated. Heat treatment is used for cooking, so anchovies are boiled, fried, baked, cooked in deep fat, etc. Many people like to stuff small carcasses with olives. Such fish can be a central as well as an additional ingredient in the dish.

Each country has its own ways of using anchovies, for example, in Italy it is used as a filling in pizza, and in Spain it is cooked, fried and used in different sauces. In France, anchovies are used as a filling for pies. Also on the basis of such a fish they make snacks, pasta for sandwiches, and they are also added to salads, etc. It is also worth saying that anchovies are an indispensable ingredient in the popular and original Worcester sauce.

Methods of cooking anchovies a large number. This is due to the high nutritional value of the product and the taste of the meat of this fish. Cooks have found many ways to cook anchovies and created a large number of original dishes that have found their admirers in every corner of the globe. In our time grocery stores you can easily buy a variety of canned goods and pickles made from this fish that is unique in taste.

In view of the fact that in our regions anchovies are easy to purchase, chilled or frozen, we offer you several ways to prepare tasty homemade preparations from them. For convenience, options are summarized in subparagraphs. Also in the video below there is additional information.

Canning anchovies is a simple process, but a bit lengthy. Although, if you adapt yourself, you can do it faster.

You will need fresh anchovies, preferably not previously subjected to freezing, or, in extreme cases, frozen in a gentle way. In industrial conditions, high-quality canned food from any fish is prepared directly at the catch site, and, by the way, this is what you should always pay attention to when choosing the finished product..

You will also need the following components:

  • coarse salt in any quantity;
  • vegetable deodorized oil (sunflower or olive) — as long as it goes into a jar filled with fish.

Now prepare a sterile dish with a suitable volume and a lid to it, and also put on rubber gloves so that your hands do not soak up the scent of this oily fish.

After that, we proceed to the cooking process itself. Wash and dry the fish on paper towels. Then gut the insides of the anchovies well, and with them remove the heads and skeletons. Put a generous handful of dry salt on the bottom of the jar and lay a layer of prepared fillet on top. Alternate the stacked layers before filling the jar. Do not forget that, as in any canned food prepared by the method of dry salting, there should be salt on top. Now cover the jar with a lid and put it in the fridge for a couple of days. After a time, carefully pour the anchovies into a deep bowl and rinse them thoroughly under cold water. So you can remove the remnants of scales and clean up the remnants of salt. Spread the fish on disposable towels again and dry. While the fish is drying, rinse and sterilize the jar, and then cool it to room temperature. Put dry fillets tightly in a bowl and cover with vegetable oil. After that, cover the jar with a lid and put this piece in the refrigerator. There and store canned fish. Under proper conditions, such a preparation will be edible for a month.

The above steps allow you to cook amazingly tasty fish, which will be an excellent component of sandwiches and salads. But for the preparation of pizza and various sauces based on anchovy fish canned a little differently. This method will be discussed in the subsection on the salting of anchovies at home.

Salting anchovies is not more difficult than cooking them in marinade according to the above recipe. This will be the so-called wet or ordinary salting fish. Of the ingredients listed, except for the fresh anchovies themselves, only salt and water will be needed for such salting. The time of the brine will also be the same as the marinating time.

But it is tastier, but also faster and more interesting, you can cook an amazing fish with the method of dry salting. Ingredients are taken optionally, as they say, by eye, but experience has shown that the amount of salt is usually two times less in weight than the mass of the fish itself. Cooking time for salted anchovies will be only 24 hours (for medium prosola fish).

So, in a deep clean and dry container (pan or plastic container with a lid) pour a layer of coarse salt, and if you want add a bay leaf broken into small pieces. In a separate bowl, cook anchovies. To do this, generously pour them with coarse salt and mix. It is not necessary to insist on fish, therefore we proceed to the next stage of preparation. Beautifully lay out the anchovies in the container and cover the last with a lid. We clean the refrigerator and wait for the specified time. Before serving, wash the fish, dry on disposable towels and gut. Be sure to tear off the head of the fish, but the removal of the ridge is at the discretion of the hostess. When serving, pour on fragrant vegetable oil and lemon juice, and also add onions.

Anchovies of such a glaze are perfectly combined with boiled potatoes and pickles from vegetables.

For the preparation of refined Mediterranean dishes, salted anchovies are used, cooked according to a special method.

The process is similar to the above-described dry salting, but differs in some points.

  1. Fish giblets and remove the heads and ridges. We do not remove the skin.
  2. We pour carcasses with a large amount of salt and tamp well. Top of the fish fall asleep with salt and put the oppression.
  3. Periodically fill the salt, or rather, replace its top layer, in case it is too wet.
  4. Salting lasts at least two months at room temperature. After this time, a jar of anchovies can be covered with a nylon cover or parchment.
  5. Salted, and in fact, canned anchovies can be stored for a calendar year, but previously frozen raw materials cannot be used to prepare the product.

Fish prepared in this way are used in cooking, without rinsing. Instead of the used fish, they pour dry salt and put the oppression again.

Marinate anchovies in the following way. Washed in running water, fish will fold in a colander and allow to drain water. Then lay gutted anchovies in a metal dish or saucepan with a lid of a suitable size.

  • table vinegar 9% –100 ml;
  • coarse salt of cooking or sea, suitable for human consumption — 3 tablespoons;
  • granulated sugar — 2 tablespoons;
  • spices for marinating fish — an arbitrary amount;
  • onion — 2-3 heads;
  • cold water — 2 cups;
  • vegetable oil –50 ml.

Peel the onions and cut into rings, and then put them in a container of fish. Salt and sugar dissolved in water, add vinegar to the same place. Fill the fish with oil and sprinkle with spices, and then mix well. If the composition of the latter is salt, then adjust the amount in the marinade. In this case, you can pour the seasonings directly into the marinade and taste the liquid. Fill the fish with marinade, cover the container with a lid and store for three days in the refrigerator. If you wish, you can put oppression on top of the fish. Ready fish gut and serve together with pickled onions. The maximum time spent anchovies in pouring should not exceed five days. The proportions of ingredients in the recipe are based on one kilogram of raw anchovy.

Drying anchovies, like any other fish, is interesting. This is not very difficult to do, and an electric dryer for vegetables and herbs or an oven with air convection function will be a good assistant in this matter.

The first thing to start the process of drying anchovies is to prepare the fish itself. As for cooking any other dish, freshly caught fish will be the best choice. If this is not possible and only frozen sea fish products are available, be sure to let the fish defrost on their own. To do this, place the product in the refrigerator and cover the pot with a film. After the time has elapsed, drain the released liquid and fold the fish in a colander.

Raw fish, of course, is not dried, so the next stage of work will be salting. The process is completely analogous to the method described for dry salting: the fish should be generously poured with a large amount of coarse salt, and then gently straightening the carcass and put into a large deep vessel. If you wish, you can put the goods. This will accelerate the process of salting, as well as quickly draw moisture from the anchovy. The only thing I would like to draw the attention of the cooks is that the time for salting the fish with this method of preparation for the future should be at least three days.

The drying process begins with the preparation of carcasses. Here, all the choice of hostesses. Whether to dry a fish with heads or cut up to fillet depends on gastronomic wishes. In any case, a prerequisite is the removal of viscera. This should be done carefully, so as not to damage the bile. If this does happen, then try to remove it as well as possible from the fish with paper napkins.

Lay the finished carcasses or fillets on drip trays or oven grates. A good solution would be pre-parchment paper, which absorbs the fat and flavor when dried, and also allows you to keep the finished fish form.

Now it’s up to you. Choose a drying mode and wait. Drive away all the curious, otherwise the anchovy will be eaten, just starting to fade. The optimal mode for drying fish is:

  • 2 hours at a temperature of 45-50 degrees Celsius;
  • 3 hours at around 70 degrees Celsius;
  • an hour and a half again at around 50 degrees Celsius.

The total time of preparation of the product depends on the size of the raw material and its fat content, but in general it takes no more than seven hours. Cool the prepared fish before eating, protecting it from insects. Keep the product tightly packed in paper bags in a cool place, but not in the refrigerator.

If there is no dryer or “smart” oven in the arsenal of your kitchen, then you can perform the operation of drying anchovy in a well-known and proven way. Hang gutted fish strung on a string or fishing line in a shaded and hot place. The most convenient way to pierce the carcass through the eye.

Dried fish in this way will be ready in three to four days. To avoid flies from her all this time, cover the fish beads with gauze dipped in table vinegar or mint tincture.

The process of drying anchovies, like any other fish, is complete dehydration of carcasses and lasts a little longer than drying, which will be discussed in the subparagraph below.

Drying anchovies is also interesting, as well as drying. The process differs from that described above very little. First of all, the cooking time.

When drying anchovies in the air, the product is ready to be eaten in two or three days. When drying fish in a dryer or oven, you should reduce the drying time by half or reduce the heating temperature throughout the process to 45 degrees Celsius.

“What can replace anchovies at home?” — will ask those housewives who are interested in cooking recipes, in the recipe of which this incomparably tasty fish is indicated. Unfortunately, a full-fledged substitute for anchovies is not found, especially when preparing exquisite recipes, for example, spaghetti sauces or the popular salad with the name “Nicoise”. Such meat density is not inherent in any fish of small breeds.

Although the ingenuity of our hostesses is worth envy! Sometimes you can hear that the product is replaced with salted saury fillet or Vietnamese (Thai) fish sauce, similar to anchovy. But with the real taste of fish, these replacements are not comparable.

Harm anchovies can bring people with individual intolerance to the product. There are no other contraindications to eating fresh fish. It is not recommended to consume salted anchovies in large quantities, since there are practically no useful properties in them, and also salt has the ability to trap liquid.

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