Thursday, May 24, 2007

Bonanza II

More about Sardines than you wanted to know:

   I went back to Long's Drug store where I bought the can of sardines for 99 cents.  They still had them on sale.  It was a 5.7 ounce can (not 8) for 99 cents.  A smaller can of "Tiny Tots" sells for about $3.50 at the market.  So this time I bought FIVE.

   I decided to research this bargain a bit.  I opened a can and COUNTED the little fish.  Not easy; they are packed in like sardines. (Joke). There were 28 baby herring in the can.  Each one about three inches long...or would be, except their heads have been cut off. The total weight was 160 grams, so that means each one weighs about 6 grams. According to the label on the can they are 17% protein, and 34% fat. 

   Each fish, a baby Baltic Sea herring, has a food value of 13 calories. They come from Latvia.  (Latvia? I hear you ask. Yep Latvia is on the Baltic shore as I remember.)  They are imported by International Delicacies Inc. in Richmond, CA, not far from here.

   But what impressed me the most is that Long's seems to have an endless supply.  I bought five and there were at least that many more left on the counter.  There are lots of Long's Drug stores, and I presume each has a supply of baby smoked Herring. Just think of the millions of Herring it took to fill the hundreds of thousands of cans at the cannery in Latvia.  How can nature replenish the supply of Herring we take from the sea?  How long can it do so?  If we eat all the baby Herring, where will the next generation of Herring come from?  Just how big does a Herring get to be, anyway?  I haven't Googled Herring yet, That is next.

   I guess it is all right for me to eat the ones I have.  They are already canned and not going to grow up to have babies of their own. 

   And here is another grim thought you weren't going to dwell on if I hadn't started this...what did they do with all thosebaby herring heads they didn't include in the cans?

   I am sort of talking myself out of the notion of Sardine snacks for late night television time. 

   I bought some baby artichoke hearts too, but we won't go into that...today.

POST SCRIPT:  I am not the only one to wonder about this.  The European Union has a commission to regulate fishing in the Baltic.  The number of fishing boats is set.  If you bring in a new fishing boat, you have to retire one of the same size. The number of Herring that Latvia and Estonia, and other Baltic nations, can catch is limited. Fishing of Cod has been halted.  But they figure there are enough "sprats", so sardines can be caught. The Herring catch is limited to 28000 TONS. That's a lot of fish..

3 comments:

hewasolddog299 said...

If past experience is any indication, they used to dispose of the heads "overboard" in the harbor.

Then, later, as the demand for pet food burgeoned, they started using the 'gurry' and heads and other cuttings to manufacture fish meal, a prepared food product. Bingo -- no more pollution and a profit point for the sardine packers.

However, the changing nature of the marketplace is such that soon, as more people develop queasy stomachs, the eating of "baby herring" will become a cause celebre in Bollywood and we'll have ill-educated actresses campaigning to "Save The Baby Herring"; buckets of gurry will be dumped by activists on politicians and whole shipments of kippered anchovies will be hijacked and tossed overboard in the harbor. Thus, completeing the great circle of life and justifying your musings.

Happy, chum?

jocalodave said...

I hope many of you will join me in a new organization dedicated to the prevention of herring loss. It's called HERRING AID.

Our response to opponents of Herring Aid: "stick it in your ear!"

chasferris said...

Please forgive Dave for his atrocious pun in the comment below.  He has been travelling and may be a bit weary.

Thanks for your comment, Dave, anyway.