This week, we're going to dive into seafood certifications. (ICYMI: you can read part one here and part two here of our month-long series on sustainable seafood).
There are a number of seafood certifications out there so we're here to tell you what they mean and what to look for during your next trip to the store. We are highlighting what you, the individual customer, may visibly see at the supermarket or restaurant.
It's important to note that all major retailers have a sustainability statement in place, most post it on their website, offering information about how they source seafood. So, do your research before you go to the store. Once you're at the store, ask your fishmonger any sustainability questions you have. They are there to be a resource for you and make your shopping experience easier!
There are many organizations working on sustainable and responsible seafood behind the scenes. To learn more see here for a list of SNP's partner organizations. Up next, part 4 in our series will bring it all together: the ultimate guide to shopping for sustainable seafood.
By Barton Seaver
After a hectic day, I enjoy having an unhurried conversation with my wife over a glass of wine. Slow roasting a piece of fish while enjoying that ritual means we get to eat a healthy dinner while we continue our conversation.
Cooks tell me they shy away from cooking fish at home because they worry about overcooking it. To that, I recommend roasting fish at a lower temperature, say 300, even as low as 275, degrees Fahrenheit. This method, much like broiling, is a perfect technique to pull off in a toaster oven. The smaller space gives cooks better control of the ambient temperature so the fillets roast evenly.
The gentle heat gives the finished fish a delicate texture full of natural juices and healthy oils. Using a lower heat technique dictates that it takes longer for the seafood to go from raw to cooked, but by that same principle, it also takes more time to go from cooked perfectly to positively over-cooked.
This method is applicable to all sorts of fish, from softly-flaked flounder to perennial favorite: salmon. And it yields custard-like halibut. To prepare any seafood for slow roasting, simply season it with salt, drizzle it with olive oil and arrange it on a pan with a good amount of space between each piece of fish so it will all cook evenly. In a 275 to 300-degree oven, the rule of thumb is 20 minutes roasting time per inch of thickness. If your fish is ½-inch or ¾-inch thick, check after 10 and 15 minutes, respectively.
The fish is done when it flakes apart under gentle pressure of your thumb. The color does not change drastically, but be confident that if it flakes, it is done. The texture is soft due to the retained moisture, so pair the roasted fish with something crunchy – an herb salad, raw cucumber relish, or a garden pico de gallo for a delicious, texturally interesting meal.
This flexible technique helps cooks get more healthy seafood on the table more often. Seafood is a clean and lean protein that provides a variety of nutrients proven to be beneficial to heart and brain health. Eating it can boost your energy, make you feel better, and help you live longer.
Please take the Seafood Nutrition Partnership’s Pledge to Eat #Seafood2xWk as a positive commitment to eat the USDA’s recommendation of eating two servings of seafood per week. For more information about the pledge, go to www.seafoodnutrition.org.
Part two of our sustainable seafood series is all about wild and farmed fish -- what that means, how to know what you're buying was caught or farmed responsibly, and more. (Check out Part 1 on defining seafood sustainability.)
Americans would be in better health if we ate more seafood, but the only way to achieve that is through a combination of the wild population and farmed fish (also referred to as aquaculture). Sustainable seafood relies on both types.
There are good wild and farmed sustainable seafood options, and many many benefits to farmed fish beyond just providing a healthy meal. Farmed fish can help with the recovery of natural fish populations, improve indigenous food supplies, increase the diversity of available seafood products, and provide a healthier alternative to land-based animal protein.
In the U.S., some of our favorite and most popular seafood options are farmed, such as oysters, clams, mussels, shrimp, catfish, trout, salmon and black sea bass. Farming fish, shellfish and even seaweed helps produce food while restoring habitats, replenishing wild stocks, and rebuilding populations of threatened and endangered species.
Wild fish can also be sustainable, as long as they are not overfished. There are many excellent seafood guides available (see here for a list of SNP's partner organizations). A place to start is NOAA's FishWatch.gov, where there is good information and resources for consumers on its website to learn about different species – both wild and farmed.
In the U.S., the retailers and restaurants have really stepped up and put practices in place to ensure the seafood at grocery stores or on menus is sustainable and safe. We encourage you purchase fish from trusted sources and always ask questions.
Up next, we’ll share a comprehensive guide to all things seafood certifications. Stay tuned and enjoy your #Seafood2xWk!
April is Earth Month, which means we should all be thinking a little bit more about the world around us. As we celebrate Earth Month, we’ll be taking a deep dive into seafood sustainability in a four-part series. Up first, what is sustainable seafood? Earth Month is a great opportunity to learn about a sustainable food supply and preserving our waters for future generations.
Seventy percent of the Earth's surface is covered by water, yet only 2 percent of the world’s food supply comes from the ocean. Seafood is one of the most sustainable proteins on the planet if sourced responsibly, so we should be looking to the waters to help feed the planet.
Sustainable seafood means that it has been caught or farmed with minimal impact to the wild population or the environment. To be responsible stewards to the ocean, we need to make sure we are harvesting what we need today but that it will also be available in the future. It’s important to know where seafood comes from – whether from a wild fishery or farm – and it should only be coming from those that are utilizing thoughtful, science-based approaches to their management practices.
NOAA's FishWatch.gov provides easy-to-understand facts about the science and management behind U.S. seafood and tips on how to make educated seafood choices. To learn about more organizations helping to improve the standards of responsible fishing and farming, click here.
Additionally, most grocery stores have a quality and sustainability practice in place to guarantee that seafood comes from responsibly harvested sources, ensuring long-term sustainability of our oceans for generations to come.
WHAT CAN YOU DO? Consumers are encouraged to try something new to help alleviate the potential of overfishing. Shrimp, salmon and tuna make up more than 50 percent of what we eat in America, but there are hundreds of other species commercially available.
In fact, as the month continues, we’ll take a look at the difference between farmed and wild seafood, which trusted certifications to look for in the store, and how to shop for sustainable seafood.
March is National Nutrition Month, a nutrition education and information campaign created annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits -- and for this year, the campaign theme is "Go Further with Food."
Whether it's starting the day off right with a healthy breakfast or fueling before an athletic event, the foods you choose can make a difference to your health and the planet's health.
Later in the month (on March 14), we will celebrate National Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day, which is meant to increase awareness of RDNs as the indispensable providers of food and nutrition services. Here at SNP, we recognize and appreciate the commitment that RDNs make to help people enjoy healthy, balanced lifestyles.
As you celebrate with seafood this month (and all year long), be sure to thank a dietitian for helping make us all healthier and consider taking the pledge to eat #Seafood2xWk.
Eating seafood regularly can save lives and significantly improve overall health. Consuming two servings each week, as recommended by leading health organizations - including the American Heart Association and World Health Organization - is an easy way to make a positive commitment to your health and the health of those around you. Click here to learn more.
By Barton Seaver
In New England cookbooks, I often see recipes that call for coating fish in mayonnaise before broiling it. The process struck me as old-fashioned and a bit boring, until I tried it. For so little effort, you reap really great taste results. This technique serves up a moist, flavorful piece of fish every time. By cutting the mayonnaise with Greek yogurt, you also cut the fat and boost the protein in this already protein-rich seafood dish.
Oh, and did I mention you can make all kinds of broiled flaky white fish in 10 minutes flat, in a toaster oven? The toaster oven works better, actually, than using a larger oven’s broiler because the smaller compartment helps a cook efficiently manage the overall temperature inside it and the fish cooks faster.
Broiling, applying high heat from above, adds flavor because some charring and caramelization graces the top of the fish while the tender flesh stays moist. Broiling fish in the colder months brings that rustic taste of summertime fish cooked outside on the grill into the kitchen.
Broiling, like grilling, is a technique typically applied to richer fish with more luxurious and healthy fats like salmon or swordfish. However, when broiling is combined with a brightly flavored accompaniment like mayonnaise, yogurt, sherry vinegar and tarragon or mayonnaise, yogurt, soy sauce and ginger, the method adds succulence to leaner seafood like tilapia, catfish, haddock and flounder.
Using this quick technique helps any cook get more healthy seafood on the table more often. Eating seafood is one of the best, easiest ways to improve overall health. Seafood is a clean and lean protein that provides a variety of nutrients proven to be beneficial to heart and brain health. Eating seafood can boosts your energy, make you feel better, and help you live longer.
I urge you to take the Seafood Nutrition Partnership’s Pledge to Eat #Seafood2xWk as a positive commitment to eat the USDA’s recommendation of eating two servings of seafood per week. For more information about the pledge, go to www.seafoodnutrition.org.
We're excited to be teaming up with Barton Seaver to bring you a series of seafood cooking technique videos and recipes. Stay tuned each month this year for a new method to help you and your families at #Seafood2xWk.
About Barton Seaver
Barton began his career as an executive chef in Washington DC. He opened seven restaurants awarded both for their cuisine and as environmentally-conscious businesses. Highlights of his culinary career include three Rising Culinary Star awards, twice earning Best New Restaurant awards, and being honored in 2009 by Esquire magazine as Chef of the Year. His restaurant, Hook, was named by Bon Appétit magazine as one of the top ten eco-friendly restaurants in America, serving nearly 100 unique species of seafood in it's first year.
Upon leaving the restaurant world, Barton became involved with a number of local and international initiatives. In 2012, he was named by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the United States Culinary Ambassador Corp. He uses this designation to curate international conversations on sustainability and the role of food in resource management and public health. He took on the role of Director of the Sustainable Seafood and Health Initiative at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In this role, Barton launched initiatives to inform consumers and institutions about how our choices for diet and menus can promote healthier people, more secure food supplies, and thriving communities. He also served as a Senior Advisor in Sustainable Seafood Innovations at the University of New England..
Learn more at www.bartonseaver.com.
Have seafood questions? Ask the Seavant! A seavant is a learned person who is an expert in seafood and shellfish, including the health benefits, ease of preparation and deliciousness.
You asked and our seavant, Scott Nichols, answered!
On average, what is a good amount of fish to eat on a weekly basis?
Every five years the USDA and HHS issue food recommendations called the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The 2015 version recommends we eat 8 ounces of seafood weekly.
The minimum needed for a proper diet, however, isn’t how I make my seafood choices. I like fish. A lot. I love the enormous variety of flavors and textures. Plus fish is easier to cook than just about anything else which is nice. So, either lunch or dinner at my house is fish.
Which fish is most abundant in omega-3s?
If there were a single champion of champions, it would be red or black caviar. Nothing else comes close.
But it doesn’t have to be the champion to be great. I divided my choices into two groups—those with strong flavors and those with mild flavors. In the strong category are: mackerel, anchovy, sardine, shad and oysters (Pacific oysters have higher omega 3s than Atlantic oysters but both are great sources). In the mild category are: salmon (all are good) halibut, sablefish (which also goes by black cod), pompano, trout and striped bass.
Curious about other types of seafood? Check out this chart.
Every time I cook fish it falls apart. I usually use olive oil in a pan, heat it up and then add fish (usually cod or salmon). The cod falls apart and the salmon sticks most of the time. What am I doing wrong? Help please!
Cod in a frying pan is going vex you every time. How about this? You could cook it in a parchment or foil pouch. That way you don’t touch it and, when it’s done, you can slide it onto the plate. This won’t give you a browned caramelize surface but if that’s your target you could cook it on a cookie sheet in the oven. Rub the fish with your olive oil, put it on the pan and cook it in a hot oven (475 degrees).
The salmon should behave better for you than it is. Try this—preheat your pan over high heat. Your experience will depend on your pan. I use either cast iron or All Clad pans and I heat them for 90 seconds over the highest heat. Pour in the olive oil and immediately put the fish on it. Turn the heat down to medium high and don’t touch it! At first it will stick to the pan but after four or so minutes it will release and be easy to flip. Rub some olive oil on the top of the fish, flip it and cook it until it has the doneness you want. It may take a couple of tries to get this right but you’ll develop the specific technique for your kitchen and it’ll be great.
Does seafood cause blood pressure to rise?
Nope. In fact, omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood have been shown to reduce inflammation and triglycerides, and in turn reduce blood pressure,
How much sodium should I consume from eating seafood?
While there is no specific amount of sodium recommended per meal, a healthy person should aim to get less than 1,700-2,000 mg per day - and less is even better. Saltwater fish - which most wild fish we eat are - spend their life in salt, so naturally their flesh picks up a bit more sodium than land-based animals. That being said, most seafood options are still well under recommended limits. Of the high omega 3 species I mentioned above, halibut, salmon, sablefish, striped bass, and shad all have less than 90 mg of sodium in a four-ounce serving. Anchovies, mackerel and oysters are below 120 mg and sardines bump up to 500 mg.
I love seafood! My family does too. Our question is why so much of what's available at the grocery store is a product of China? We try to watch the country of origin on food and other products and are disappointed there is limited availability of US seafood products. What can we do to have more choices?
According to NOAA, we in the US import more than 90% of the seafood we eat. So, although domestic choices are limited that doesn’t mean choice is limited. The array of seafood choices we have is stunning.
In aquaculture as in any business there are those who practice well and those who practice poorly. The key here is to figure out who practices well. There are many groups that rate or certify fish production practices such as Aquaculture Stewardship Council, Marine Stewardship Council, Best Aquaculture Practices, FishWise, National Aquarium, Aquarium of the Pacific and Seafood Watch. Additionally, many grocers are deeply and broadly knowledgeable about seafood; engage your retailer in a discussion.
About Scott Nichols
Scott Nichols is the founder and principal of Food’s Future, LLC and works to accelerate aquaculture’s contribution to our future food supply. Prior to founding Food's Future, Scott was co-founder and managing director at Verlasso Harmoniously Raised Fish.
To learn more, visit foodsfuture.org and follow Scott on Twitter.
With people across the country observing Lent, a religious tradition observed during the 40 days before Easter, it’s time to rethink the standard family meal menu.
Seafood Nutrition Partnership (SNP) encourages eating two servings of seafood per week – as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans – to make a positive commitment to your and your family’s health during Lent and throughout the year.
This nearly eight-week period typically calls for a special diet. Specifically, red meat is cut out on Fridays for some and for the entirety of Lent for others. According to Datassential, 26 percent of consumers observe lent and of those, 41 percent said they eat fish on Fridays instead of meat.
“Research from the Journal of the American Medical Association shows eating seafood two to three times per week reduces the risk of death from any health-related cause,” said Linda Cornish, president of SNP. “As a lean protein, seafood is a quality source for omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to human health and development.”
With so many seafood options available, including Alaska pollock, snapper, salmon and more, it can be easy to incorporate this nutritious lean protein into your diet.
During Lent, a number of places offer specials and promotions. Below is a list we've compiled to help you navigate stores and restaurants, while observing the holiday:
For more information about observing Lent and seafood consumption, click here.
What do salmon, walnuts, avocados, and extra virgin olive oil have in common?
They’re all sources of good fats, of course!
Fats play an essential role in human health from head (brain) to toe (joints), and every cell in between, according to Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, RD. Fats also help us feel full and ensure healthy communication between nerve impulses and the transfer of nutrients through the bloodstream. But not all fats are these “good fats.”
Embrace unsaturated fats found in foods such as walnuts, seeds, plant oils, avocados, and fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, trout, sardines, mackerel and herring. In particular, seafood is a good-fat food that supplies the best source of essential omega-3s DHA and EPA, which are polyunsaturated fatty acids that may help lower the risk of heart disease, depression, dementia, and arthritis. They are essential because your body can't make them.
Top 5 Reasons to Be on #TeamGoodFat
To combat body fat and live a longer, healthier life, you have to eat fat – the right kind of fat.
Seafood & Healthy Fats
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that we shift from a diet high in saturated fats (like those found in meat) to a diet rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fats (like those found in seafood, walnuts and avocados). For seafood lovers, that’s no problem! To keep it simple, incorporate a variety of seafood into your meal plan – striving for at least 2-3 servings per week to help ensure that you are meeting your needs for heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. There are so many choices with seafood that you will never get bored – and you may find another favorite fish.
The staff, Board of Directors, and chef ambassadors of the Seafood Nutrition Partnership invite the public to join us in sharing the health impacts they have achieved through the Healthy Heart Pledge. We invite you to share your story!
Seafood Nutrition Partnership is a 501(c)3 with a mission to inspire a healthier America through partnerships and outreach to raise awareness about the essential nutritional benefits of eating seafood.
© 2018 Seafood Nutrition Partnership. All Rights Reserved.