Sunday, September 17, 2006

What About Mackerel?

Well, since I profiled herring, I thought it only fair to give mackerel its due...

Fundy's mackerel (Northern Atlantic mackerel) are found on both sides of the north Atlantic. On this side, mackerel overwinters along the edge of the continental shelf. In spring, Atlantic mackerel move inshore and northward to spawn and then, in summer, move further northward into the Gulf of Maine and thus the Bay of Fundy.

Here in town, the locals know by word-of-mouth when the mackeral are "running" - that is, coming in on the incoming tide and up tidal rivers.

Mackerel can live up to 17 years and grow to a maximum of 61 cm (2 feet).

Atlantic mackerel are sought after for food either cooked or as sashimi (kind of like sushi). Mackerel consists mostly of red meat and has a stronger taste than its cousin, the tuna. Atlantic mackerel is extremely high in vitamin B12 and very high in omega 3, containing nearly twice as much per unit weight as does salmon. Unlike King mackerel and Spanish mackerel, Northern Atlantic mackerel are very low in mercury, and can be eaten at least twice a week according to EPA guidelines.

Mackerel does spoil quickly though - it is best eaten on the day of capture, unless cured. For this reason, mackerel is the only fish traditionally sold on a Sunday in London, England. (It makes me think of the market call "mackerel, fresh, mac-ker-el!").

Did you know that both herring and mackerel are rated by Oceans Alive as an eco-best fish? These folks rate all seafood to help consumers determine whether or not they are making an environmentally responsible choice when buying and ordering fish.

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