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Fish

fish

Introduction

The sea, lakes and rivers form a wealth of food that has been tapped into by human beings for centuries.  In Europe the supply and variety of fresh fish is enormous. From the North Sea alone over thirty types of sea fish are caught. Together with sweet water varieties from all over the world, the assortment of fish is very extensive

The function of fish

In almost all restaurants fish will appear in some form or other on the menu.  Fish has a fine flavour, a soft structure and it is easy to digest.  Fish, especially low fat types, are excellent for people on a low fat diet, low cholesterol diet or low salt diet.
Fish is invaluable on a menu and can be included in several courses.  The following are a few examples: as an appetiser, cold starter, soup, warm starter, main course, or as showpiece on a buffet. Also as an individual cold dish, as part of a cold buffet or in combination with other products such as herbs, shellfish, crustaceans, mollusc and vegetables.
A few examples of various fish dishes:

  • Cold starter: terrine of salmon
  • Soup: clear fish soup with saffron
  • Warm starter: soufflé of pike perch
  • Individual hot dish: goujons of turbot
  • Main course: fried sole
  • Cold dish: whole poached trout
  • Cold buffets: pickled herring
  • Appetiser: smoked eel

Nutritional value of fish

Despite the fact that most types of fish comprise of roughly 60% - 80% water, the nutritional value of fish is high.  The protein value of fish is around 17% and the fat percentage is from 1 – 17%, depending on the type of fish and the season.  Since fish has little connective tissue, it is easy to digest.
The Dutch Food Tables distinguish between low fat, moderately fat and oily fish, depending on the fat content in the edible part of the fish. Low-fat fish contains between ½% and 3% fat: moderately- fat fish contains between 3% and 6% fat and oily fish contains more than 16% fat.

In the following chart the differences between low-fat, moderately- fat and oily fish can be seen. In all types of fish vitamins of the B-complex are present and in medium and oily fish also vitamins A and D.  Important minerals in fish are calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and iodine.  Some parts of fish contain high amounts of cholesterol such as liver and roe. Fish fat contains for the most part unsaturated fats and is therefore suitable for people with heart and vascular illnesses. Scientific studies have proved that there is a connection between a certain amount of fish consumption and a reduced chance of heart and vascular illness. Further, the salt content of fish is so low that fish dishes can be offered to guests with salt-free diets without any problem.

 

Low-fat fish
(for example brill and pike)

Moderately-fat fish
(for example trout and carp)

Oily-fish
(for example eel and salmon)

Kilo-joule

339

473

870

Kcal

81

113

208

Protein

18 gr

17 gr

16 gr

Fat
including cholesterol

1 gr
60 mg

5 gr
70 mg

5 gr (to 26 gr)
75 mg

Water

79 gr

76 gr

65 gr

Minerals:
Sodium
Potassium
Calcium
Phosphorus
Magnesium
Iron
Zinc
Iodine

 

100 mg
300 mg
20 mg
200 mg
23 mg
1,0 mg
4.55 mg
0.07 – 0.40 mg
Only in sea fish

 

100 mg
300 mg
20 mg
200 mg

1,0 mg

0.07 – 0.40 mg
Only in sea fish

 

100 mg
300 mg
20 mg
200 mg

1,0 mg

0.07 – 0.40 mg
Only in sea fish

Vitamins:
A
B1
B2
B6
B5
C

 

    1. mg

0,05 mg
0,25 mg
0,230 mg
4,0 mg
2 mg

 

0.04 mg
0,05 mg
0,25 mg

4,0 mg

 

0.09 mg
0,05 mg
0,25 mg
0,230 mg
4.0 mg (vit. B3)

(Chart showing nutrients per100 grams of fish)

Purchasing of fish

Purchasing fish is not the easiest task and should be carried out taking the following into consideration:

  1. The types of fish available
  2. The physical condition of the fish
  3. The quality hallmarks of the various types of fish
  4. The price
  1. The types of fish available

All fish have a few biological characteristics in common:

  • They live in water
  • They are vertebral animals (they all have a backbone)
  • They have a moist skin (covered with scales or a layer of slime)
  • They have gills for breathing
  • They have fins as limbs

Fish are divided into groups according to the water they live in: fresh water fish and sea fish.
Fresh water fish are sub-divided according to their biological characteristics such as perch, pikeperch, trout and carp.

Sea fish are sub-divided into three groups:

  • Round fish such as cod, haddock, whiting and pollack
  • Flat fish such as plaice and sole
  • Cartilage fish such as monk fish and sea wolf

Most types of fresh fish are dependent on the season, therefore not available all year round. Fresh perch is for example available form July to November, fresh herring from May to January and fresh sole between June and December.  On the other hand, fresh salmon is available all year round.

In section 6 more details of the biological characteristics and the availability of the most common fish will be discussed more fully.  More information on the preparation of these fish is also given.

2.The physical condition of the fish

Fish can be purchased in four ways:

    1. Fresh
    2. Prepared
    3. Deep-frozen
    4. Preserved and/or a fish product
    1. Purchasing fresh fish

Fish decays quickly.  The time between the moment the fish is caught till it is prepared in the kitchen will define how fresh the fish is.  It is advisable to buy in fresh fish on daily basis and to prepare and serve it as quickly as possible.
Fresh fish can be purchased in one of three ways:

  • Alive.  Some types of fish are kept alive after catching in an aquarium. This is normally types of fresh water fish such as eel, rainbow trout and carp.
  • Dead and un-cleaned.  In this category the fish are caught and delivered to the kitchen without any further preparation.  This type of fish must be dealt with quickly to avoid decay.
  • Dead and stripped fish.  These are fish that have been stripped of their innards so that the fish can bleed dry. Most sea fish are stripped as quickly as possible on board the fishing vessel. Once in the kitchen they must be cleaned and portioned.
    1. Purchasing prepared fish 

Prepared fish is fresh fish that has been de-scaled, gills removed, filleted and portioned by the fish supplier.  It is advisable to purchase prepared fish on a daily basis.

How fresh is fresh fish?  “Fresh” fish that is on sale in Holland is often already caught a few days previously. Many fishermen have to travel a long way to their fishing grounds. They often leave on Monday and return on Friday.  Much of the ‘fresh’ fish on offer has been caught and stored on board for several days.  Deep-freeze trawlers that fish in water sometimes hundreds or thousands of kilometres from their base often stay away from two to three weeks at a time.  These boats are sometimes known to return with three million kilo of deep frozen fish on board.
Once caught, the first are first stripped (the innards removed). The fish are then stored under ice, in cases in the cooling of the trawlers.
Eel and shrimp fishers tend to fish closer to home and return to their harbours several times a week, even daily.

    1. Purchasing deep-frozen fish

Nowadays it is very normal to freeze fish.  In this way it can be stored for months and it is available the whole year round.
The fish is caught in large numbers, cleaned, filleted, deep-frozen and stored appropriately.

It is not advisable to store fish for long periods of time in the freezer.  It is better to buy frozen fish on a weekly base and to keep the stock limited and the storage costs low.  Fresh fish is normally very readily available and it serves no real purpose to lay down large stocks of frozen fish.

    1. Purchasing preserved fish and/or fish products

Preserved fish:
Fish have been preserved for centuries by techniques such as salting, steaming and smoking: all with the aim of storing fish for longer periods.
Examples of these techniques are:

  • Salted herring or anchovies
  • Dried stockfish (fish dried on lines)
  • Smoked salmon and herring
  • Steamed mackerel

Later new methods of preserving were introduced such as preserving in liquid, sterilising and pasteurising. Examples of these methods are:

  • Potted herring in brine
  • Sterilised salmon, sardines and tuna (tinned)
  • Pasteurised herring (“gaffe bitter” – marinated pieces of herring in sauce)

Fish products
Fish products are made completely or partly from fish that has been prepared in various ways. Once in the kitchen these products need no or little further preparation.
Examples are soused herring, fish sticks and fish croquettes.

3. The quality hallmarks of the various types of fish

The quality of fish depends on the place it is caught, the time of year and the manner it is fished.  A professional supplier will know where, when and how the fish have been caught.

The quality of the water
The area the fish have been caught gives information over the quality of the water in which the fish live.  Good quality water will produce healthy fish.  When the sea/river becomes polluted, contains too little food for the fish and does not have the correct temperature, the fish will look for new waters.

The optimal weight
The time the fish have been caught gives information about the biological state of the fish. The weight is dependent on the season; it varies with the supply of food in the sea and the biological conditions in which the fish live.
In the North Sea for example, the amount of food available to the fish is highest in late springtime, summer and autumn during the ‘flowering’ time of the plankton (on which the fish live).
North Sea fish are at their best in the autumn as they have been able to feed on large supplies of plankton since the late spring.
During the mating season the fish lose a lot of weight as the forming of spawn and roe costs a lot of energy. If at the same time the food resources are less (less plankton available), the fish must rely on their fat reserves.  They become thinner and lighter in weight.

The method of fishing
The method of fishing has influence on the quality of the fish.  Fish that is caught individually has a higher quality than fish that have been caught in large quantities in nets.  The last method often leads to the fish being damaged.

4. The price

When purchasing fish it is important to pay attention to the price of the various types of fish.  The price should be compared to the physical condition of the fish.  However not only is the basic price of fish important, in many companies, the purchase of prepared and portioned fish may lead to important labour savings.  All of these factors should be taken into consideration when ordering fish.

Type of fish

Month

Mating season

Flat fish    
Brill
Lemon sole
Plaice
Turbot
Sole
September/October/November
September/October/November
September/October/November
September/October/November
September/October/November
May/July
March/April
January/March
May/July
April/May
Round fish    
Herring
Cod
Pollack
Ling (sea burbot)
Mackerel
Eel
Haddock
Whiting
Sea wolf

June/July
September/October/November
October/November
October/November
October/November
September/October/November
September/October/November
September/October/November
May/June

October/December
January/March
March
May/June
April /June
March
February/March
March
September/October

(Chart showing optimal weight of various North Sea fish)

Treatment of fish in the kitchen

When handling fish in the kitchen, the following golden rule is important:

Golden rule 1:  Never break the cooling chain

One of the most important rules of dealing with fish is that during all phases it should remain cool.  The cooling chain should never be broken!  Fresh fish should be kept at a temperature as close to freezing as possible.  It should never exceed 4º C.

Golden rule 2:  Prepare and store fish separately

Fish normally has a strong odour that can easily be passed on to other dishes or kitchen material.  Ensure that the materials used for preparing fish are thoroughly cleaned after use and store fish, covered and separate.

Golden rule 3: Check constantly for signs of decay

Decay of fish and fish products can occur in many ways.  Incorrect storage, improper handling, unsuitable packaging and bad hygiene can all lead to quick deterioration and decay of fish.
Various types of decay can be categorised as follows:

  1. Physical decay by drying out of the fish
  2. Enzymatic decay in the fish
  3. Chemical decay of the fish
  4. Microbiological decay in warm smoked fish
  5. Physical chemical decay during fish preparation
  1. Physical decay by fish drying out

Simple steps can be taken to avoid fish drying out.  Whole, fresh fish can be stored in ice.  Also cleaned and portioned fish should be covered or vacuum packed and stored on fresh, rough ice.
Deep-frozen fish can also dry out.  Changing temperatures, insufficient packaging and too much oxygen can be the cause.  It can be recognized by the fish having bent fins and light spots on the surface.  Deep-frozen fish that is not completely dried out can be treated with water.  Serious drying out is called ‘freezer burn’.  The fish can no longer be treated with water and tastes bitter.

  1. Enzyme decay in fish

After the fish have been caught and killed, enzymes in the fish often remain alive.  Only at a temperature of -40º C will the enzymes completely stop working.  The amount of enzymes in the fish is dependent on the food the fish has eaten.  If the fish are directly stripped after being caught, the enzyme -rich parts are removed.
Fish that that have been stripped too late or not stripped are recognisable by their loose abdomen skin, soft abdominal cavity and soft meat.
In new herring use is actually made of enzyme decay.  Salting and cooling the herring control the enzyme decay, allowing the herring to develop their special flavour.

  1. Chemical decay of fish

The third form of decay in fish is caused by chemical reactions after the fish have died.  The post-mortal process – the muscles pulling together for some time – is an example of this type of reaction. Since decay is already possible, it is important for later preparation of the fish that this phase has passed.
Another example and one that is more commonly known is rancidity. Fish fat consists mostly of unsaturated fat, which binds easily with oxygen, causing oxidation.  Light also assists quick oxidation whereby the fat is broken down.  The aroma and flavour become rancid and the fat becomes yellow or brown.
Deep-frozen products are also sensitive to oxidation.  Damaged packaging and the absence of a glazed layer give oxygen and light the opportunity to cause oxidation in frozen fish.

  1. Microbiological decay in warm smoked fish

Microbiological decay is caused by various factors including bacteria, yeast and mould. Known bacteria are salmonella, entero, E-coli and staphylococci.  Warm smoked fish contains a lot of moisture and is therefore an ideal breeding ground for bacteria.
Vacuum packing fish delays decay.  However there are many bacteria that do not require oxygen.  Yeasts are commonly found on marinated products.  The most common one is kaamgist.  Moulds are often found on smoked products.

  1. Physical-chemical decay during fish preparation

The last type of decay occurs during the freezing, drying and salting of fish.  During these processes, the cells of the fish are damaged.  If the fish is frozen too slowly or stored too long, too much moisture is lost during de-frosting. The fish can no longer hold the moisture and ‘drip forming’ occurs

Treatment of fresh fish in the kitchen

Fresh fish can be handled in many ways in the kitchen but at all times during the following steps, attention must be paid.

  • The transport
  • The delivery
  • The storage
  • The pre-preparation
  • The preparation
  • The transport

Transportation of fresh fish must be carried out in cool and hygienic conditions.  The fish lorries must be at a temperature of between  -1º and + 4º C and they must be able to be cleaned easily. Incidental transport in ordinary cars carries the risk of breaking the cooling chain of the fish.
Fresh fish must be hygienically packed in closed plastic bags and/pr polystyrene boxes.

  • The delivery

When fish is delivered, care and attention should be paid to the following points:

    1. Is the fish delivered the type of fish ordered?
    2. Are the amounts and weights the amounts and weights ordered?
    3. Is the quality satisfactory?
    4. Is the temperature correct?

a. Is the fish delivered the type of fish ordered?

To be able to recognize fish, it is important to understand a little of the make-up of various fish.  The most important parts of the fish are: the head, body, tail and fins.
Fish heads continue to the end of the gills and contain the senses of the fish: sight, smell, sound and taste.
The body is from the gills to the tail fin.  The stomach cavity contains all the organs and the digestive system. Fillets are the cut and removed body muscles.  Over the body to the tail fin is the lateral line, which is the nervous system of the fish.  The lateral line can be an aid in recognizing and filleting of the fish.
The tail of the fish is used for movement in the water.
The fins are used for stability in the water and to change directions.  The position of the fins can be an aid in identifying various fish types.

As well as the fins, the skin and gills can be important in recognizing fish.  The skin and the gills are important both for recognition and in determining the freshness.  The gills must be clear red in colour.

b. Are the amounts and weights delivered, the amounts and weights ordered?
When fresh fish is delivered to the kitchen it is important to check the sizes/weight of the fish.  Fish is an expensive commodity so very important that the delivery matches the order.

c. Is the quality satisfactory?
This is another point that must be checked with care.  The quality of fresh fish can vary from day to day.  The most important quality requirement, no matter what type of fish, is that it is fresh. Freshness of fish can be seen among other things in its smell, colour, damage to the fish and the condition of the slime layer.

d. The temperature of the delivered fish
Fish should be delivered at a temperature between 3 and 4º C.  Fish is packed and delivered on rough ice for this reason.

How to recognise fresh fish

Fresh fish does not ‘stink’ but smells fresh.  Many fish types have there own specific smell.  If fish has a ‘fish smell’, it is old and not fit for human consumption.
When buying whole fish the following points should be looked for to ensure freshness:

  • Eyes: bright, full and not sunken; no slime or cloudiness
  • Gills: bright red in colour; no bacterial slime
  • Flesh: translucent and resilient so that when pressed the impression goes quickly; the fish must not be limp
  • The organs in the stomach cavity should be clear in colour
  • Skin: this should be covered with a fresh sea slime, or be smooth and moist, with a good whine and no abrasions
  • Smell: this must be pleasant, with no smell of ammonia or sourness
  • There must be no bruising or blood clots
  • There should not be areas of discoloration
  • The fish should be well iced
  • Storage of fresh fish

Fish must be stored separately and with great care.  The following points should be noted carefully:

  • Fat fish should be stored in the dark, otherwise it becomes rancid
  • Preferably, fish should be stored in a special fish cooling which contains drawers with a drip tray.  This will ensure that the fish does not come into contact with the moisture from the fish (which would lead to faster decay of the fish). The fish should be covered in ice flakes.  Flat fish are laid out like roof tiles and stripped round fish on their belly.
  • Ensure that the cooling-chain is not broken. Move it quickly into the cooling and use according to the first in, first out method.
  • Remove any blood clots on stripped fish and rinse well. Do not forget the blood channel along the backbone.  If blood residues are not removed there is a higher chance of the fish decaying
  • Fish drawers / chests / fridges should be rinsed and cleaned.  The temperature in a fish chest should be between -1º C and + 2º C.
  • If a fish is vacuum packed, it should be portioned first. Clearly marked etiquettes with dates should be used and the system of first in, first out adhered to.

4. The pre-preparation of fresh fish
In the pre-cooking stage of stripped fish, the following steps should be followed:

    • Removal of scales – de-scaling.
    • Removal of fins
    • Portioning
    • Removal of scales

This is done with a special scraper or the blunt end of a knife.  De-scaling is done from the tail to the head (against the grain).  To avoid the scales springing in all directions, it is best done in running water.

    • Removal of fins

 Fin removal is simply done with a pair of fish scissors or with a sharp knife.  Again this is done against the grain to give a better hold on the fish.

    • Portioning

Large round and flat fish can be portioned in cutlets.  Flat fish and round fish can also be filleted. After filleting they must be rinsed in cold water.  In this way the bacteria is also rinsed off.  Fillets should be stored in trays with dripping trays underneath, as cold as possible and covered with plastic foil.  Ice can be laid in the bottom with a plastic layer on top. Layers should not be placed on top of each other, as the temperature in the middle may not be cold enough.
During storage moisture will be released from the fish fillets.  This is called ‘drip forming’. This is again a reason to lay a dripping tray under fish fillets.
Fish is normally portioned before cooking in cutlets or pieces.  Cutlets include the bones and skin and are called in French tranches, darnes and tronçons.  Pieces take the name of the shape that they are cut in or prepared for example medallions, noisettes, paupiettes, escalopes and suprêmes

 5. The preparation

If all the pre-cooking preparation has been carried out to the highest standards, the preparation or cooking of the fish should be much easier.  However to present a perfect fish dish, the following points should be taken into consideration:

Recognition of the fish
Allow the fish to as far as possible to remain true to its’ self.  Fish should look like fish!

A good cooking technique
Choose the technique that allows the natural flavour of the fish to be most prominent.  Mostly short or quick techniques are most suitable for fish as fish has little connective tissue.
Techniques such as poaching, steaming, deep-frying, sautéing, grilling, roasting, gratinating, vacuum preparation and en papillote are most suited for fish.  Smoking à la minute is a good technique for moderate and fatty types of fish as it ensures the fish does not dry out.  In section 6 following, a few cooking suggestions are given per type of fish.

Cooking
Fish that is cooked too long at too high a temperature will be dry and unappetising.

Handling cleaned, fresh fish

The term cleaned fish refers to fish that has been gutted, cleaned and filleted by the supplier. The quality must however be controlled just as with all types of fish.  When it is delivered, the following must be carefully checked:

  • The fish fillets must smell fresh: they must not have a strong fish smell
  • They should have a natural shine. Too much rinsing or storage in ice for too long will reduce the original shine and it it’s place a dull tint will appear
  • The fillets must have a firm structure.  They should not lose moisture when pinched
  • They should not be discoloured.  Yellow or green discolouring occurs under the influence of bacteria and enzymes and point to a reduction in the quality of the product.

Fish fillets have the disadvantage of having gone through various stages and are therefore more susceptible to bacteria if not carefully handled at all stages. The general rule for all fish is: the fresher it is when bought, the longer it will remain fresh.

Inspection and control of fresh fish
The Department of Fish Inspectors randomly controls imported fish and fish products.  The Health and Safety Inspectors control fish suppliers and the catering trade at regular intervals.

Packaged fish types that are imported from other countries must clearly indicate the following:

  • The name of the country of origin in Latin
  • The type of fish
  • The presentation form
  • The class of freshness and size
  • The net weight in kilo’s
  • The date of packaging and the date dispatched
  • The name and address of the supplier

The handling of deep-frozen fish in the kitchen

Deep-frozen fish is divided into two categories: low-fat and oily fish

  • For best results frozen low-fat fish can be stored at temperatures around -20º C, well packaged to prevent drying out.
  • For best results frozen oily fish should be stored at temperatures around -30º C.  This type of fish should also be glazed and well packed.  The fatty acids in oily fish oxidise quickly even in the freezer.

Examples:

  • Low fat fish: cod, plaice and sole
  • Oily fish: salmon, eel

The handling of preserved fish in the kitchen

For centuries humans have looked for ways to be able to store fish for longer periods of time.  Much used possibilities are: drying and/or salting, smoking and steaming, preserving in marinades, pasteurising and sterilising.  At the same time there were fish products with a definitely different flavour and other possibilities.  Smoked fish and salted herring are two of the most common nowadays.

preserved fish

Preserved fish: the supplier carries out the pre-treatment and cooking preparations.

As with other fish, the quality of preserved fish should be controlled for quality.  An example of loss of quality in smoked fish is fat oxidation or mould forming.

The manner in which preserved fish products are delivered and stored varies according to the preserving method.  The following preserved fish types will be discussed in a little more detail:

  • Smoked fish products
  • Steamed fish products
  • Steamed fish
  • Sterilised fish products
  • Pasteurised fish products
  • Preserved fish in liquid
  • Dried fish products
  • Salted fish
  • Smoked fish products

Smoked fish products are products that are cold smoked.  Depending on the use or the type, will the fish be first pickled.  The time of the smoking process for cold smoked fish van vary from four hours to three days.  The temperature of the smoke may not exceed 28º C.
A few examples of cold smoked fish are: salmon, kippers and English herring

Cold smoked fish is stored:

  • At a temperature under 10º C, to avoid early decay
  • Dry, to avoid moulds forming
  • Dark, to avoid oxidation
  • Draught free and covered, to avoid drying out and loss of weight

With careful handling, smoked fish can be stored for several weeks.

  • Steamed fish products

These are products that are smoked hot.  Depending on the use or the type they are lightly pickled and lightly dried before hot smoking.  The time of the smoking process for hot smoked or steamed fish is at least four hours.  The smoking temperature is at least 80º C.  The core temperature must be at least 63º C for at least thirty minutes. Hot smoked fish may only be packed when the temperature of the fish is under 20º C.

Examples of hot smoked fish are: eels, smoked mackerel and sprat.

  • Steamed fish

Steamed fish (hot smoked fish) is stored:

  • In the cooling, under 5º C
  • Dry, to avoid moulds forming
  • Dark, to avoid oxidation
  • Draught free and covered to avoid drying out and weight loss

When hot smoked fish is stored under the correct conditions, it can be stored from five to seven days.

  • Sterilised fish products

Sterilised fish products are cooked and sterilised in their tins at a temperature of between
110º C and 150º C.
Examples of sterilised fish are: salmon, sardines and tuna.
Sterilised fish products are stored ideally cool, dry and in a clean storeroom. In principle they can be stored for unlimited amounts of time, however it is advisable to use them within one year.

  • Pasteurised fish products

Pasteurised fish products are often called half preserves.  They are pasteurised in pots, plastic or tins. This method is often carried out on products that cannot take high temperatures.  Pasteurisation is carried out at temperatures between 65ºC and 90º C.   Pasteurisation takes twenty to thirty minutes.
Examples are: herring titbits or spice cured sprats
Pasteurised products are stored in the cooling at a temperature of under 5º C.  They contain a use-by-date.

  • Preserved (or marinated or pickled ) fish

Preserved fish is fish that is added to a solution of vinegar, water and sugar and then pasteurised.  This technique is also called marinating. This fish is ‘half preserved’.
Important factors for the quality of marinated fish are:

  • The time of the marinade
  • The acid content of the marinade
  • The salt content
  • The temperature of the frying oil in fried marinades.  It is important that the oil is at least 160º C at the start of the process.

Examples of marinated products are: sour herring, rolled herring and sour mussels.
Pickled fish can be stored for one or two months, stored cool, at a maximum temperature
of 7º C.

  • Dried fish products

Dried fish is fish that has its moisture content reduced to around 12%.  This can be done naturally or artificially.  Depending on the type of fish, will it be pickled or not. Examples of dried fish are: stockfish, dried cod and dried lemon sole.Dried fish products should be stored cool, dry, dark and vacuum packed.  If properly stored, they can be kept for at least one year.

  • Salted fish

The amount of salt used for this preserving technique depends on the product. Examples of salted fish types are: new herring, anchovies in oil, gravad lax, caviar ( the slightly salted roe of the sturgeon which is sieved and tinned). Salted fish products are stored in the cooling in dry salt.  The storage time is dependent on the amount of salt used.

The cultivation of fish

The cultivation of fish is called fish farming or aqua culture.  It can be compared with for example the intensive farming of pigs and poultry.  In other words: this method guarantees a high return of good quality for low costs.  In Holland there is over 3,000 tons of fish cultivated each year.  This is mostly eel, followed by catfish and rainbow trout.

Advantages of fish farming are:

  • The possibility to be able to control the water quality, the food and the growth of the fish
  • The guarantee for consumers for a constant quality in flavour, colour, structure. It is however often fatter
  • Less dependence on the season, spawning season and weather conditions
  • A relatively foreseeable constant price and supply

Fish

Minimum

Average

Maximum

Class size

Availability
Best time of the year

Fresh water fish

 

 

 

 

 

Perch

22 cm

 

50 – 60 cm

 

July – November

Trout

25 cm

 

1 m

 

Whole year

Salmon trout

 

 

 

1 – 2 kg

Whole year

Carp

 

30 cm

1 m

1 – 1,5 kg

July – December

Catfish

 

 

3 m

Slaughtered weight of 700 gr gives 2 filets of 200 gr

Whole year

Pike

45 cm

110 cm

 

 

June – November

Pike perch

42 cm

 

1,2m

 

July – November

Tench

25 cm

30 – 50 cm

 

 

July – December

Salt water fish

 

 

 

 

 

1. Flat fish

 

 

 

 

 

Flounder

20 – 25 cm

 

 

 

May – January

Brill

30 cm

 

 

  1. 1 kg
  2. to 1 kg

September – February

Halibut

 

 

 

1       3 kg
2   to  3 kg

May – January

Skate

 

 

70 cm

 

November – August

Dab

 

15 – 23 cm

 

 

May – January

Megrim

20 – 25cm

 

60 cm

 

July – February

Plaice

25 cm

 

90 cm

1 large         41 cm
2 plaice 1    35-41 cm
3 plaice 11   31 – 35 cm
4 plaice 111  to 31cm

June – December

Turbot

30 cm

70 – 90 cm

1 m

1         4 kg
2         2– 4 kg

  1. 1 – 2 kg
  2. to 1 kg

September – March

Dover sole

24 cm

30 – 40 cm

60 cm

1 large               38 cm
2 middle large   33 – 38cm
3 small middle  30 – 33cm
4 sole 1             27 – 30cm
5 sole 11           24 – 27cm

June – December

Lemon sole

25 cm

20 – 30 cm

70 cm

 

October – March

Blue/grey Skate

 

 

2,5 cm

 

Whole year

Fish

Minimum

Average

Maximum

Class size

Availability
Best time of year

Round fish

 

 

 

 

 

Anchovies

 

5 – 15 cm

20 cm

 

June – September

Spurdog

 

 

1,2 m

 

Whole year

Grey mullet

35 cm

 

75 cm

 

June – October

Herring

21 cm

 

56 cm

1     8 per kilo
2    9 – 12 per kilo
3   13 per kilo

May – January

Hake

30 cm

 

1 m

 

August – February

Cod

30, 35,
40 cm

50 – 100 cm

2 m

1 large        88 cm
2 middle     72 – 88 cm
3 small 1     55 – 72 cm
4 small 11   46 – 55 cm
5 small 111   to 46 cm

April – December

Pollack

 

 

1,2 m

1 large        88 cm
2 middle     72 – 88 cm
3 small  1    57 – 72 cm
4 small 11     to 57 cm

June – December

Ling cod

 

150 cm

2 m

 

May – January

Mackerel

 

 

50 cm

1         38 cm
2         30 – 38 cm
3         23 – 30 cm
4         to 23 cm

September – February

Red mullet

 

10 – 20 cm

 

 

September- October

Nile Perch

 

 

2 m

 

Whole year

Eel

28 cm

 

1,2 m

 

June – December

Weever or sting

 

 

40 cm

 

September – May

Red/grey gurnard

 

30 cm

75 cm

 

July – September

Red fish

 

30 – 40 cm

1 m

 

Whole year

Sardine

 

 

30 cm

 

Whole year

Haddock

27 cm

 

1 m

1 large                 50 cm
2 large medium   44 – 50
3 small medium  34 – 44
4 small            to 34 cm

June – December

Smelt:
Fresh water
Sea water

 

 

 

± 20 cm
± 30 cm

 

July – November

Sprat

 

10 – 15 cm

 

 

Whole year

Tuna

 

 

3 m

 

Whole year

Whiting

23 – 27 cm

30 cm

70 cm

1          40 cm
2          35 – 40 cm
3          28 – 35 cm
4          to 28 cm

January – August

Salmon

 

 

1,5 m

1          3 – 4 kg
2          4 – 5 kg

Whole year

Monk/Angler

 

 

2 m

 

Whole year

Sea wolf

 

 

1,25 m

 

April – August

(Types, weights and availability throughout the year of various fish)