These are the cheapest seasonal fish on the market

Canned tuna is the fish with the highest consumption per capita in Spain, followed, in that order, by hake and whiting and fresh salmon.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
31 March 2024 Sunday 10:34
7 Reads
These are the cheapest seasonal fish on the market

Canned tuna is the fish with the highest consumption per capita in Spain, followed, in that order, by hake and whiting and fresh salmon. This is revealed by the Food Consumption Report in Spain 2022, prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, which also indicates that fish consumption is declining in homes and that the sector accumulated a loss of 15.6%. , both fresh and frozen, in fiscal year 2022.

Although these are the latest official data available to the Ministry, everything indicates that these figures have continued to decline in subsequent years, due to the strong inflation that directly impacts the shopping basket.

This is why administrations have launched all kinds of campaigns to support the fishing sector and try to alleviate the impact of the crisis while improving the health of the population. This is the case of the Generalitat of Catalonia, which has recently launched Pim Pam Peix, a campaign aimed at promoting the consumption of fish in the population without necessarily affecting the pocketbook.

Through this initiative, the Generalitat remembers that there are economical and seasonal fish, many of them at affordable prices, which in many cases are not usually consumed due to a mix between ignorance and a kind of stage fright when cooking them on the part of many. consumers.

This is corroborated by Javier Martín, co-owner of La Peixateria de Montse, with several establishments in the towns of Gavà and Viladecans (Barcelona) and the e-commerce “When buying fish, it is important to keep in mind that, in the end, they are all cooked in the same way: grilled, baked, battered... For some reason we get it into our heads that there are fish that we do not know how to cook and We don't buy them, but it's a false idea. A San Pedro fish is cooked exactly the same as a sea bass or a sea bream,” explains the fishmonger.

Martín also points out that “having a trusted professional who prepares the fish to taste, making sure to remove all the bones and customize the thickness and size, also makes it easier for the consumer to approach fish that they do not normally consume.” .

In the case of La peixateria de Montse and, the most consumed fish are, in this order, salmon, sea bream, sea bass and hake, “which are bought indiscriminately throughout the year, regardless of the season, because the cooking is simple and people have them very internalized.” Thus, salmon is generally prepared grilled, sea bream and sea bass baked, and hake floured and fried.

Martín remembers, however, that there are numerous fish on the market at affordable, seasonal and local prices, which can easily replace the most in demand, some of them with skyrocketing prices recently. This is the case of salmon. “It is still the star fish, but now it is through the roof due to high global demand. The main producers are Norway and Chile, but since Chile is not producing the entire population of the United States buys from Europe, which means an increase in prices.

Therefore, given the situation, it seems like a good idea to rescue some cookbooks, refresh certain tricks that we had forgotten and learn how to cook these seasonal fish:

Mackerel is one of the economical and nutritious fish par excellence (in season its price can be around €3/kg), very interesting in a balanced diet thanks to its numerous nutritional properties. It has fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D and E, as well as omega-3 fatty acids and a good amount of minerals. Although it has multiple possibilities, a good way to cook it is grilled, ideally accompanied by a vegetable garnish.

“It is important to include a part of protein in each meal, approximately 25% of the plate, as well as a part of carbohydrates, which should be another 25%, and the remaining 50% should correspond to fruits, vegetables and greens,” explains the nutritionist Susana León. The expert insists that it is not necessary to obsess over ensuring that all the dishes of the day have exactly these proportions, but to ensure “that at the end of the day, the total intake corresponds to these quantities.”

It is an economical, healthy and accessible oily fish, since it can also be consumed canned to take advantage of all its properties without having to turn on the kitchen. “Both the sardine and the rest of the blue fish – says Martín – are at their best when the good weather arrives, which does not mean that we cannot find them the rest of the year. But it is now, in spring and summer, when they eat better because the weather is better, therefore they have more fat and more omega-3, in addition to the fact that we find more individuals.”

Both sardines and other oily fish such as tuna, salmon or mackerel are rich in omega-3 unsaturated fatty acids, a type of essential fatty acid that must be obtained through diet, since the body does not manufacture it by itself. If only. Having a correct supply of omega-3 has been linked to the prevention of numerous diseases, so it is essential to include this type of fish in your diet. Omega-3 is also found in other foods such as nuts, olive oil or avocado, among others.

The season for this fish begins at the end of February and lasts until approximately May, months in which it can be purchased for between €6 and €9/kg. Although cod has traditionally been a commonly consumed fish among the popular classes, given that it is economical and easy to preserve, in recent times it has also been affected by the general increase in prices.

The pout season, a very economical fish whose price can be around €5/kg, begins at the end of winter, has its maximum splendor in spring and lasts until the end of September. It is a white fish with tender and soft meat, but sometimes it generates rejection in some consumers because it has many bones.

Its price is also around €5/kg and its season runs from March to June. It is fished in Atlantic and Mediterranean waters and has multiple possibilities in the kitchen. As with other small fish, it is important to head and scale it correctly, as well as remove the guts well. "It is best to leave this process in the hands of a trusted fishmonger, because many times the reason people stop consuming this type of fish is that they either try to clean it themselves at home or buy it already packaged in large stores, where on many occasions a thorn may remain, since the cleaning and preparation process is not so precise,” says Martín.

"Although you can have them all year round, since in winter they arrive from the north of France, it is now with the good weather when they are tastiest and fleshiest and are at their maximum splendor," explains Martín. Therefore, it is best to buy anchovies in season, not only because they are tasty but because they are also cheaper.

If we want to save even a little more, it is best to purchase both this fish and others on Wednesday and Thursday, since their price is lower. This happens – explains Martín – because “on Tuesdays there is an avalanche of consumption, as there is no fish on Monday, therefore prices increase with the increase in demand. On Wednesday and Thursday there is less demand, so prices go down, and for the weekend they go up again.” Martín denounces, however, that "some fishmongers raise prices by system and, on other occasions, what they try to do is average so that consumers do not notice these oscillations."

The optimal season for hake is from April to July, although “it is sold all year round,” explains Martín. Despite everything, the majority of what is consumed in Spain is not caught in national waters. According to a study published in the Journal of Cleaner Production, only 8% of the hake consumed in Spain is caught in national waters, while the rest comes from community or international fisheries.

Being a white fish, its fat content is less than that of oily fish, which makes hake an essential food for a balanced diet. Thus, white fish provides 2% fat compared to 5-10% for blue fish, so it is less caloric but equally rich in proteins and vitamins, although with less omega-3. “The ideal thing for a healthy diet is for white and blue fish to coexist in proportion,” recommends Susana León.

Crabs, crabs, sea crabs and other crustaceans “tend to be fuller when the good weather begins, therefore spring and summer are the best times to consume them, even though they are available all year round,” says Martín. The same does not happen, however, with another typical food of spring vermouths such as mussels. “Spring is not the best time to eat mussels, since they are smaller because they have been spawning for a month. This happens because the energy that the mussel has is used for spawning,” explains the fishmonger, so it is much better to consume this bivalve mollusk in winter, undoubtedly its best season.