The sardine is one of the staples of Mediterranean cuisine and it is known for its various health benefits.
Unfortunately, fresh sardines are not available everywhere and canned sardines are usually the only way for seafood lovers to enjoy them.
This article will review all the canned sardine brands available on the market and what to consider when buying canned sardines.
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Considerations When Buying Canned Sardines
Have they been cleaned?
Even with all the health benefits and the enjoyable taste, sardines can be stupidly annoying to clean, i.e. remove the bones and maybe even the skin if you are not a fan.
This can take a while and some people simply don’t have the patience for it. If you recognize yourself in that last sentence, you’ll be happy to hear that you can buy canned sardines that have already been cleaned of bone and/or skin.
This will be prominently displayed on the label so it is easy to find or avoid if you are somebody who likes to take the time to clean their fish before enjoying it.
It’s mostly a matter of convenience but there might be some slight nutritional differences between cleaned fish and fish that have not been cleaned.
Whether you like it or not, it’s an unavoidable fact that canned sardines are processed food that will contain preservatives, just like basically any other canned food.
This is something you should take into account in case you are allergic to certain chemicals that are often used as preservatives in food. Our advice is to thoroughly check the label on the can and see if the exact chemicals that are used as preservatives are listed.
If you are not 100% sure, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Any canned sardines will come submerged in some liquid. This liquid is usually going to be one of these three – olive oil, vegetable oil, or water. Olive or vegetable oil is just a matter of personal preference but many people agree that olive oil is the tastier choice.
Water is an option for those who don’t want any extra fat from the oil, which is understandable. A tradeoff in that scenario is a rather bland taste since oil goes a long way toward giving sardines the taste they are so well known for.
There are exceptions and your sardines might come submerged in some kind of sauce, usually tomato. Again, just go with what you like the most.
Top Canned Sardine Brands Comparison[wptb id=4039]
Best Canned Sardine Brands
Bela-Olhao Sardines Sardines In Olive Oil
Bela is a Portuguese brand that comes to us today with a 4-ounce (about 120 grams) can of lightly smoked sardines in olive oil. From most accounts, this brand will be a dream come true for those who hate dealing with small sardines as the ones you’ll find in this can will be pretty big.
On the flip side, you will still have to bother with the cleaning since the sardines are not cleaned and the spine is intact. If you care about the sustainability of life in the sea, you’ll be happy to hear that sardines used by this brand come from a fishery that is MSC -certified.
There’s not really much to talk about when it comes to the liquid inside the can since it is your run of the mill extra virgin olive oil. There are no other ingredients besides the sardines and the extra virgin olive oil, except for some sea salt that has been added for flavor.
Matiz Sardines in Olive Oil
Matiz is a Spanish brand and their sardines come in the same sized can as the ones from Bela (4-ounce/120 gram). These sardines come off the coast of Galicia, an area that is renowned for its high-quality fish that is appreciated by those in the culinary world.
They have a unique smokey flavor that will make a great addition to many seafood dishes and they are pretty versatile in terms of how they can be served. The fish has been harvested in accordance with eco-friendly protocols that ensure that the natural balance is maintained.
Premium quality Spanish olive oil is used as the medium and those who don’t like bones will be happy to hear that they are quite easy to remove from these sardines. The scales are also still there but the unique taste of these sardines should prove to be more than enough incentive to take the time to clean them.
King Oscar Sardines Extra Virgin Olive Oil
King Oscar is probably the most famous brand of canned sardines in the world. Many people who enjoy sardines tend to say that once you try King Oscar, you generally don’t go back to any brand you’ve previously used.
King Oscar uses brisling sardines which are found only in pure waters, usually off the coast of Norway. They are usually smaller and have a unique taste compared to most other canned sardines.
Despite their smaller size, these sardines are packed with even more nutrients than the regular ones. The fish is caught in the wild and is wood-smoked to enhance its flavor. They are then packed in recycled cans with extra virgin olive oil used as the medium.
It is probably the best canned sardine brand in the world and they have a few other variants that you may want to check out.
Best Canned Sardines in Tomato Sauce
“Nuri” Potuguese Sardines in Tomato Sauce
We’ve already mentioned that tomato sauce is the most common medium for canned sardines other than oil or water. Nuri Portuguese Sardines in Tomato Sauce, Piri Piri & Pure Olive Oil are a dream come true for lovers of tomato sauce any spicy flavors.
Pipi Piri chile peppers will give these canned sardines a spicy aroma that will make you want to come back for more. Tomato sauce is another staple of Mediterranean cuisine that pairs very well with any kind of fish.
The sardines come in packs of four canes weighing just over 4 ounces each (about 125 grams). The combination of flavors inside the cans is done just right and no flavor will be too dominant or too overshadowed by the others.
The sardines themselves are firm and they won’t fall apart. Overall, an excellent pickup if you are looking for something a bit different.
Best Tinned Sardines UK
Season Brand Skinless & Boneless Sardines in Pure Olive Oil
Season Brand Skinless & Boneless Sardines in Pure Olive Oil is our pick for the best tinned sardines in the UK. These sardines come in packs of six 125-gram cans. The fish was caught in the wild and it was fished in a sustainable manner, as evidenced by a Friend of the Sea certificate.
If you’re looking for sardines high in OMEGA 3 fatty acids, look no further. Every can of Season’s sardines contains around 1300 mg of these healthy fatty acids. One thing that warrants a mention is that these sardines are completely skinless and boneless.
This makes it extremely easy to use these sardines in a sandwich. Just take them out of the can and they’re ready to go, no cleaning necessary. There’s a bit of salt in there to enhance the flavor. Speaking of the flavor, it has been described as incredible so be sure to give these sardined a try.