There are numerous varieties of sardines and anchovies caught world wide—from the Engraulis encrasicolus anchovies of Europe and Africa to the Sardinops melanostictus sardines of Japan—and every has distinctive qualities. Normally, although, sardines (6-12 inches) are bigger than anchovies (4-10 inches). Additionally they are typically lighter silver in coloration, whereas anchovies can have darker scales tinged with blue or inexperienced.
Each fish have a light fishy taste and agency texture when eaten recent. Nonetheless, “as quickly as you may them, they change into totally different merchandise,” Bart van Olphen, the co-founder of Sea Tales and writer of The Tinned Fish Cookbook, tells mindbodygreen.
That is as a result of whereas sardines are calmly smoked or cooked earlier than going within the can, anchovies are cured in salt for months. This salt curing is what offers canned anchovies their brown look and salty chunk: When eaten recent from the water, they’re really extra corresponding to sardines.
You will discover anchovies and sardines canned in water or oil (most frequently olive oil or vegetable oil), served entire or as boneless, skinless filets—generally with added flavorings like garlic or chili.
Canned sardines have a shelf lifetime of upward of 4 to 5 years, whereas cured anchovies are inclined to final a few yr. Due to their curing course of, van Olphen notes that anchovies needs to be saved within the fridge, not the pantry.
Here is a deeper dive into every fish and the best way to use it.