Anchovies vs Sardines

By | September 25, 2018

Both anchovies vs sardines are small silvery fish. And, honestly, both of them don’t look really special, even though they are actually rich of nutrition. Still, anchovies and sardines are two different kinds of fish, and they offer different flavors, nutritional values, and uses. Below, we will discuss the differences between these two kinds of fish.

What we will discuss in this article include:
– Where anchovies and sardines live
– The physical features of each fish
– The flavor of anchovies vs sardines
– The suitable uses of anchovies and sardines
– The nutrition and health benefits of each fish
– Which fish that is generally more recommended for you

Anchovies can be found year-round in most of Europe. You can still find them in the north area, including Norway, but they are more commonly found in the Mediterranean area and off the Atlantic coast of France, Spain, and Portugal. There are about 140 species that belong to this group of fish. See also: Fish Sauce vs Soy Sauce.

According to Wikipedia, sardines are possibly named after the Sardinia island of Italy. However, this name is quite an imprecise term, because it can be used for any small silvery saltwater fish that is related to herring. Yes, sardines are a type of herring; they are entirely different, unrelated to anchovies. Sardines are usually found in the Mediterranean area and in the northeastern Atlantic water. People usually catch them between June and November.

Physical Features
Although anchovies vs sardines look similar, at least in the first glance, you need to know that there are severable notable distinctive physical features that set them apart. Knowing these differences can help you a lot when shopping in the local market or when trying to decide what fish to top your pizza.

Anchovies are typically small. Usually, they don’t get any larger than just 5 centimeters long. An anchovy tends to have large eyes with a protruding snout, but the jaw isn’t protruded. Furthermore, an anchovy tends to have a grayish, blue, or green hue on its back. The flesh of anchovies has a much darker color compared to sardines.

Sardines are relatively small compared to most other types of fish, but they can be quite larger than anchovies. Sardines can be as long as 20 centimeters. Sardines tend to have protruded jaws. The scales are typically silver but with dark round spots on them. The flesh of sardines has a lighter color.

Flavors and Uses
How do anchovies vs sardines taste? Are they similar? No, they aren’t really similar. They both may have strong fishiness, but they still have very distinct flavors.

Keep in mind that both anchovies and sardines will deliver a strong fishy taste right on the first bite. This is quite a turn off for some people. When serving anchovies or sardines for other people, it is a good idea to add some lemon or citrus juice during the cooking in order to reduce the fishiness.

Anchovies usually have a stronger, more intense flavor than sardines. It is a little bit salty. It is an aggressive umami-rich flavor. This distinct flavor actually comes from the curing process, in which anchovies are dried in salt before they are packaged with olive oil in tin sheets.

When used in a dish, the flavor of anchovies will easily stand out over the other ingredients. This is one reason why anchovies are more frequently used in food recipes and for toppings. You only need a small amount of it to add some flavor into your dish. If you are looking for the right topping for your pizza marinara, go with anchovies.

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Sardines usually have a milder, less intense flavor compared to anchovies, and it is not exactly salty – unless you buy canned sardines that have been preserved with salt. That said, the flavor of sardines is still fairly strong. Sardines are more widely used in appetizers as well as main meals. No, you should not use sardines as a topping for your pizza.

We all know that fish is an excellent source of proteins. It also provides great omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. So, do anchovies and sardines provide similar nutrition? Not really. While they are both rich in proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, and omega-6 fatty acids, there are still notable differences in the vitamins and minerals.

Each 100g serving of anchovies provides approximately 210 calories. It contains about 28.9 grams of protein, 9.7 grams of fat, 85 mg of cholesterol, 40 IU vitamin A, 382 mg of calcium, and 4.6 mg of iron.

Each 100g serving of sardines provides approximately 208 calories. It contains about 24.6 grams of protein, 11.5 grams of fat, 142 mg of cholesterol, 108 IU vitamin A, 232 mg of calcium, and 2.9 mg of iron.

As you can see, anchovies are generally a little bit better because it has more protein, more calcium, more iron, and less cholesterol. Sardines provide more fat and vitamin A. But, in the end, both types of fish are healthy and nutritious for your body.

Health Benefits
Both anchovies and sardines are beneficial for your cardiovascular health because they provide omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to prevent artery blockage and heart disease. Sardines are a bit better in this aspect because sardines are richer in omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, they provide iron, which is needed for making new red blood cells and for aiding white blood cells in killing pathogens.

Both anchovies and sardines are also highly beneficial for your bones and teeth because they provide calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. In addition, sardines also contain some vitamin D to support your bones and teeth further. Finally, both anchovies and sardines are rich in vitamin B12. They can support your cognitive functions and the health of the nervous system.

Anchovies vs Sardines

- Can be fished all year long- Usually caught between June and November
- Smaller, the length doesn’t go pass 5 centimeters- Larger, can be as long as 20 centimeters
- Has a gray, blue, or green hue on the back; darker flesh color- Silvery scales with dark spots; lighter flesh color
- Stronger, more intense flavor- Milder, less intense flavor
- Often used in food recipes and toppings- Commonly used for appetizers and main meals

Anchovies are typically smaller with a stronger, more intense flavor. Hence, anchovies are often used in food recipes and as a topping. Sardines come in larger sizes, and with a relatively milder and less intense flavor. Sardines are more commonly used for appetizers and main meals. Both types of fish are rich in nutrition and provide plenty of health benefits.

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