Top Ten Things Canadians Don't Know about Aquaculture.
Recipes for the Holiday Season
This holiday season, Canadians will go through a familiar, turkey-and-gravy-fueled pattern: Gorge on traditional, high fat, high calorie food. Gain weight. Feel guilty.
But wait! Canadian fish and shellfish farmers want to send a message: Holiday eating doesn’t have to signal trouble for your waistline, or your heart.
"Canadian-grown seafood provides a healthy, delicious alternative to traditional holiday cooking,” says Ruth Salmon, Executive Director of the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance. “Our cultured salmon and mussels, for instance, are available fresh, year-round. Plus, they’re both excellent sources of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids."
Compliments of Canada’s aquaculture industry, these two holiday-themed seafood recipes will be sure to impress, and leave you feeling healthy for the New Year:
For more information about Canadian farmed seafood, or to arrange an interview with Ruth Salmon, please contact:
Shellfish: Nature's Superfood!
Everyone knows about the health benefits of eating fish, and fish consumption is on the rise in Canada. But a well-kept secret is that our farmed shellfish are equally packed full of vitamins, minerals and other goodies. They’re easier to prepare than people think and – since they’re farmed instead of plucked from the wild – sustainable.
Contrary to urban myth, shellfish are among the safest foods you can eat, since they’re subject to strict food safety standards. Mussels, clams, scallops and oysters are farmed in pristine Canadian waters and pass stringent testing before arriving at your local grocery store or fish monger.
Ruth Salmon, executive director of the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance, has the following insight on shellfish safety: “Because they are farmed under strict food safety regulations, and meet approved federal water quality criteria, you can trust Canadian farmed shellfish.”
So, what exactly makes shellfish so healthy? First off, they’re loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, just like salmon and most oily fish. They’ve got iodine, calcium and zinc (which provides ‘lead in the pencil’ for guys), plus an array of essential vitamins such as B12 – which is great for stress reduction.
Shellfish are also ‘net creators’ of fish habitat, meaning sea life thrives wherever they’re farmed. Environmentalists consider most shellfish to be ‘super green’, since their food is naturally abundant. Let’s take a look at oysters and mussels – the two most commonly grown shellfish in Canada.
Here are Ruth’s tips on buying shellfish: “Buy from a reputable retail store and do the ‘sniff test' to make sure they’re fresh! Oysters and mussels should smell like the ocean – fresh and salty. Then store in an unsealed container in the fridge, covered with damp paper towels for up to 5 days. Never store live shellfish in water and discard any shellfish that may appear cracked or opened.”
Okay, we all know three things about oysters: They grow pearls (if you’re lucky!), provide a boost in the bedroom department (Casanova ate a dozen every day), and taste great on the half-shell – plain or with a dab of hot sauce.
But you probably didn’t know that oysters:
- Have been farmed since the Roman Empire
- Help fight global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, since their shells are a made of carbon
- Can change sexes
- Filter up to 5 litres of ocean water every hour
The top oyster-producing province is BC, followed by PEI, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. They’re available fresh year-round.
Ever wondered how to shuck an oyster? Check out this video:
‘He was a bold man that first ate an oyster’
– Jonathan Swift, Irish poet
Feeling bold? Prepare oysters at home with this quick recipe for the grill!
Recipe: Bar-b-q oysters
- 6 – 12 farm-fresh oysters per person.
Cooking (check out this video)
- Toss oysters (in the shell) directly on the grill
- Cook on a low ‘easy’ heat
- When the juice starts to bubble from between the shells they’re done!
Use tongs to remove the oysters from the bar-b-q, and a regular kitchen knife to open the shells. You’ll notice a seductive aroma. Serve with garlic butter, hot sauce or salsa, or give black bean sauce a try.
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Recipe compliments of Fanny Bay Oysters, BC
Mussels have always been popular at restaurants, but sometimes people need a little help preparing them at home. Turns out, cooking up a batch of mussels is easy and quick.
Blue mussels are native to Atlantic Canada and British Columbia, and are farmed using ‘suspended culture’ – so there’s no sand or grit in the meat. They’re high in protein and low fat, and a plate of mussels gives you just as much omega-3 as a serving of fish.
But how do you know you’re buying fresh mussels? Buy from a fishmonger you trust. Ask to see the label, to see when they were harvested. Mussels should be eaten within 12 to 14 days after harvesting, and can be kept in the fridge. Tip: Smell the mussels. They shouldn’t smell fishy; they should smell like the ocean. For more mussel buying tips, check out this video: www.discovermussels.com/buying-mussels
Little known mussel facts:
- A study showed that kids who ate mussels, which are naturally rich in omega 3s, in their school lunch performed better in school.
- Omega-3 supplements are made from mussel extracts.
- ‘Byssal threads’, which mussels attach themselves to rocks with, were used in clothing for royalty.
- According to myth, the golden fleece of Jason was woven from the byssal threads of Mediterranean mussels.
- The first mussel farm was started in the 13th century by a shipwrecked Irish sailor who discovered mussels growing on wooden posts he planted in a failed attempt to catch birds.
The leading mussel-farming province is PEI, followed by Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Quebec.
Did you know? Mussels are one of the oldest species found on Earth today.
Recipe: Blue Mussels with Fennel (serves 4)
Courtesy: Starfish Oyster Bed & Grill, Ontario
- 5 lbs farm-fresh mussels
- 1 head fennel
- 2 oranges
- ½ litre orange juice
- ¼ cup sherry vinegar
- ¼ cup grape seed oil
- 5 shallots
- 5 cloves garlic
- Finely slice the shallots, garlic
- Sweat in a large pot until tender
- Deglaze with the sherry vinegar, and orange juice
- Bring to a boil and add the mussels
- Steam the mussels and once they’re open, refrigerate
- Strain the cold liquid and add the finely sliced fennel and grape seed oil
- Pour the liquid over the mussels and garnish with orange zest, orange segments & fennel fronds
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Recipe: Mussels in Mexican Beer, from Rachel Rae
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
- 4 cloves garlic, cracked away from skin and crushed
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
- A couple pinches salt
- 2 1/2 dozen mussels
- 1/2 bottle dark beer, such as Dos Equis (any dark beer will do nicely)
- 1 (15-ounces) diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley or cilantro, your preference
- Preheat deep skillet with a cover to medium-high
- Add oil, garlic, onion and jalapeno
- Season with salt
- Saute 2 minutes
- Arrange mussels in the pan, pour in beer and tomatoes and shake the pan to combine
- Cover pan and cook 3 minutes or until mussels open
- Remove from heat and spoon sauce down into shells
- Garnish with parsley or cilantro and serve from the pan
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To arrange an interview with industry representative Ruth Salmon about farmed Canadian shellfish, please contact Jeremy Twigg at 604-688-2505, or firstname.lastname@example.org.