Today we are going to talk about mackerel, a very tasty and economical blue fish, present in most homes this season.
It is a fish that makes long migrations and travels in schools. After spawning (between May and July for Atlantic mackerel and between March and April for Mediterranean mackerel), the large shoals divide into groups to feed on plankton, fish eggs and small crustaceans. This happens during the spring while they are in warm waters. It is not until autumn that the young will go offshore. In the winter they stay in deeper areas and do not feed. At spawning, they produce between 300,000 – 400,000 young.
It should also be borne in mind that there are different species under the common name of “mackerel”, which are similar but not the same:
In Spain, we find these two species, which are very abundant in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea:
- Common mackerel: Scomber Scombrus. It is the most widely consumed in Spain. It has many other names, such as Verdel or “Xarda”, as it is popularly known in Asturias.
- Starling: Scomber Colias or Japonicus. It is very similar to the common mackerel in flavour, although its flesh is a little less firm on the palate and physically it can be distinguished by the spots on its belly. It is more sought after in southern Spain and is more abundant in the Mediterranean. Its nutritional characteristics are similar.
And worldwide, there are more varieties:
- Spotted mackerel: Scomber australasicus. It is mainly found in Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, Mexico and the Red Sea.
- Island mackerel: Rastrelliger faughni. Common in the Pacific Ocean.
- Chub mackerel: Rastrelliger brachysoma. Abundant in tropical waters (Indian and Pacific).
These species are not usually found on the Spanish market.
Thus, It is a food with great nutritional properties:
- With only 10 grams of fat per 100, it is an excellent source of polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-3, very healthy fats with multiple health benefits.
- It is also notable for its high vitamin content: vitamin D and B12 and minerals such as selenium, phosphorus and potassium.
- It contains 19.3g per 100g of high quality protein and few calories: 236 calories per 100 grams.
Its presence of mercury is low so there are no recommendations limiting its consumption as is the case with other larger oily fish.
It is therefore a nutritious, tasty and affordable fish that provides only benefits, to name but a few:
- It facilitates the absorption and fixation of calcium.
- It has antioxidant action.
- It helps to lower cholesterol and triglycerides.
- It favours the correct functioning of the nervous system.
It protects the cardiovascular system.
Finally, we leave you a link to a video that we have recorded during this mackerel season, so you can see how we work in ASTURPESCA.