Traditional and artisan preserves: Canned Serrats.-2ª part

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Traditional and artisan preserves: Canned Serrats. We begin the second part of this article on the exciting subject of canning.
On this occasion we will talk about Bonito and Anchovy, two star products of the entire canning industry.




Traditional and artisan preserves: Canned Serrats.-2nd part

A star called Bonito del Norte



Its canned Bonito del Norte and Anchovies, are prepared following a careful handmade process, learned and improved over five generations. This “know-how” together with a demanding selection of the best raw materials, ensure that our preserves, both from Bonito del Norte and Anchoa, have exceptional quality.

Selection and cleaning phase

The first phase of all is the selection at the foot of the port of the freshest and best specimens. Quickly, they move to the factory where, again, their freshness and quality are monitored and classified according to their size.
The guts and head are removed manually. Then they are cooked at an approximate temperature of 98º about three hours. They are then washed and allowed to cool.
The pretty ones are placed in trays and, one by one, the skin, thorns and fat are removed. A second cleaning removes any dark spots that may have remained. Next, the loins, the neck and the ventresca are separated.


This cleaning phase, absolutely manual, is very important. The skill and experience of our manipulators, plus a constant monitoring, manage to eliminate all the “waste” without damaging the fish and achieve complete and perfectly clean logs. This is, in part, what makes our Bonito preserves have that exceptional appearance, of white, tasty and appetizing meat that they show off.

Fish packaging

The fish is ready for professional hands to dull this delicious seafood product in cans or glass jars.
Once the loins are placed, cogote or ventresca, they are covered with specially selected olive oil or one of our sauces and they are closed tightly. The oil provides a soft and juicy texture to our canned Bonito.
Next, one of the most important phases of the process, sterilization, is carried out. The can or the bottle is subjected to temperatures of 118/121 ° for as long as the package size requires. The sterilization of the packages guarantees that the product will be kept in perfect condition and will maintain its nutritional values ​​with absolute purity. Finally, we proceed to the labeling, coding, packaging and palletizing phase.

Controls and traceability

It is important to note that each beautiful is subjected to strict quality controls and identified from its origin throughout the entire process. In this way we can identify every can or jar of our product at all times and make sure that all our canned products are of exceptional quality.

A steak called Anchoa

The elaboration of anchovy fillets for later conservation in a can is a delicate and careful craft, which guarantees the highest quality and flavor.
Anchovies begin the long elaboration process with salting and subsequent pressing. This process is called the salting process.
Its head is removed, it is classified according to size and they are placed in barrels concentrically and between layers of salt, superimposing some on top of others. Finally, it is pressed by placing some weights on top.
Once the pressing is done, they must be allowed to stand for five or six months at a temperature that ranges between 13 and 16 ° C, until they take the appropriate reddish color and aroma. After this time, we proceed to the cleaning, drying and packing phase.

The consumption of anchovy

To do this, the anchovies are washed to remove the outer salt and dried. Then, expert hands, one by one, open each anchovy in half and remove spines, tail and skin debris. The two fillets, perfectly clean, are dried again and also introduced manually, in the can or can of canning. It is a completely handmade process that requires careful care.
Anchovies already packaged are ready for later oiling, closing and case.
It is important to remember that anchovy fillets are a semi-preservation that, unlike other preserves, are not subjected to the sterilization process because the heat would spoil them. Therefore, it is necessary to store the cans in very cool places or in the refrigerator, between 5 and 15 degrees and consume them in a period not exceeding 12 months from the date of manufacture.

Selection of raw material.

For the preparation of their Canned Serrats, they use the best raw materials, fresh fish of the highest quality, specially selected, and always respecting the traditional fishing gear.
The careful and exhaustive selection of the beautiful ones, which is done individually when choosing this higher quality fish from the tuna family. It is characterized by its white flesh, and for having an exquisite flavor and a softer texture than the rest of its species. It is a migratory species that, during the summer months, approaches the Cantabrian in large groups.
Bonito’s body is stylized and protected by scales. The back has a characteristic dark blue color, with a greyish and bright belly. It is distinguished by its long pectoral fins. Its average size is 75 cm., Reaching a weight of 10 to 15 Kg.

The capture of Bonito.  Traditional and artisan preserves: Canned Serrats

Its capture takes place in the Bay of Biscay, between the months of June and October, in the so-called “coastal del bonito”. The Cantabrian coastal fleet catches it to sell it in the fish market and transfer it fresh to the markets, or process it in the canning industry.
Claro Tuna, also called Rabil or Yellowfin, whose scientific name is THUNNUS ALBACARES, is a migratory species that is caught mainly in tropical and equatorial waters. Its pectoral fins are much shorter than those of Bonito and the color of the dorsal and ventral fins is yellowish
It is a fish that can measure up to two meters and weigh 200 kg with a flaky and bulky body that is stylized towards the tail that, as we have said, is distinguished from other species of its same family by its peculiar yellow fins .

Tuna fishing locations.

Its fishing is done through large tuna vessels, mainly in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans, being quickly frozen on board in order to keep its quality intact until it reaches the factory where it will be processed and packaged. Normally it is the most fishy tuna and therefore it is, perhaps, the most used canned.
Light Tuna is highly valued by consumers, although its meat, consistent and more “pinkish”, is less delicate and not as precious as that of Bonito. Traditional and artisan preserves: Canned Serrats

The queen of canned

Cantabrian Anchovy is an emigrant fish. The Latin name is “Engraulis” and, depending on the capture area, its middle name and the quality of its meat change.
In “Canned Serrats”, they only use the highest quality anchovy, the “Engraulis Encrasicholus”, caught in the Bay of Biscay and in the Mediterranean and at its optimum time, between the months of April and June.
Physically, it is a small fish that can live around three or four years and reach a size close to 20 cm, with a silver belly and gray-blue back that moves in more or less numerous banks.
The best time for fishing on our coasts is from April to June.
Although they live more than 100 meters deep, in spring and summer they rise to the surface to reproduce giving rise to their fishing. It is at that time when its fat increases, as does its flavor.


In Canned Serrats use the best raw materials, Bonito del Norte and Anchovy of the highest quality. Specially selected fish and always respecting the traditional fishing gear.
The selection of the best raw materials, together with the “know-how” of more than five generations ago and a strict quality control system, make these preserves an exceptional product. The next time you take anchovies remember, canned and traditional preserves: Canned Serrats.

Article written by Ángel Marqués. Journalist.

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