How do you catch White Tuna?

There are many ways of catching Tuna, but along the Cantabrian coast we still use the same traditional methods of our forefathers, something that ensures the preservation of the species.

Live bait and trolling are normally used to catch the highly valued White Tuna. With both techniques the fish are caught one by one.

What are belly fillets?

The belly fillets are the tenderest and most delicate parts of the White Tuna. They come from a triangular area on the bottom of the fish near the head. This part is different because its characteristic flavour and much subtler and more delicate flavour make it an exquisite delicacy.

We at Conservas Ortiz only use unbroken fillets. These are hand-packed with olive oil and sterilised.

Are Anchovies and “Boquerones” different species?

No, Anchovies and “Boquerones” are the same species (engraulis encrasicholus). Generally speaking, the terms “Anchovy” and “Bocarte” are used in northern Spain, while the term “Boqueron” or “European Sardine” is used in the south.

The term “Boquerón” is often used when the fish is fresh or marinated in vinegar, while it is known as anchovy or anchovy fillets when it has been salted.

What’s the difference between Preserves and Semipreserves?

Preserves are products that have been packaged in a hermetically sealed recipient and subjected to heat treatment (sterilisation) in order to destroy or disable any microorganisms present. This means that the product can be stored at room temperature for a long time. These products remain in perfect condition for several years. Canned and bottled fish are an example of this.

Semipreserves are products packed in watertight recipients and have undergone a treatment to stabilise them for a certain period of time. Examples of this are salted anchovies and salt-matured anchovy fillets in olive oil. They are packed in barrels separated by layers of salt, with a weight on top to ensure that it penetrates the fish well.

This causes the flesh to lose water and a series of changes to the aroma, texture and flavour of the fish take place over the six months until the fish mature. As they are not sterilised products, they should be stored in a cool place or refrigerator.

How do I clean salted anchovies?

They can be washed with water or wiped with a dry cloth (to preserve their flavour).

Once washed, the anchovies should be dried with a dry cloth. Use scissors to remove the tail and the stomach to give the fillets their shape.
Then open out the anchovy and remove the backbone.
Finally, place in a recipient and cover with oil, preferably olive oil.

Where and how should I store Semipreserves?

The tins and jars containing anchovy fillets and salted anchovies should be kept in a cool place or refrigerator. However, they should be eaten at room temperature and should be taken out of storage 2 hours before use, as cold temperatures make the oil viscous.

Once open, the tin or jars of anchovy fillets can be kept in the refrigerator for several days, as long as they are covered by the oil so as to retain all their flavour.

Salted anchovies too should be kept covered with brine in their recipients.

How can I tell that jars are hermetically sealed?

The lids of our jars have what is known as a “safety button” – the two embossed concentric circles that you can see in the centre of the lid. The contents of the jar are in good condition if the centre of the metal button (safety button) is not convex. If it’s “inflated” the contents shouldn’t be consumed, as air may have entered and the product could have deteriorated. You can detect this if, when you press the safety button gently, you hear a loud click-clack.

If you hear a “pop” when we open the jar, this means that the jar is no longer vacuum-sealed.

What‘s the difference between White Tuna and Yellowfin Tuna?

White Tuna (Thunnus Alalunga) stands out for its fine taste, silky texture and white flesh, qualities that have been appreciated along the Cantabrian Sea for centuries.

This blue fish inhabits temperate waters at medium depth and is caught along the Cantabrian coast during the summer campaign (July-October).

Yellowfin Tuna (Thunnus Albacares) is a large fish of the tuna family. It is of high quality, although not as high as the White Tuna. Its flesh is darker, tougher and more compact than that of the White Tuna.

Is it true that Preserves improve over time like wine?

Yes. The flavour of recently sterilised products undergoes changes, due to the interaction between the fish and the liquid covering it (oil or marinade).

The smoothness and flavour of White Tuna in oil or marinade improve over a period of months, meaning that tuna that has matured for a year is better than one that hasn’t.

The most significant changes occur in the month after sterilisation.

How can I use the tin or jar to tell if the product is in good condition?

You should take the following points into account to ensure that tinned products are in perfect condition:

– Reject any tin with a convex bottom.
– Reject any tin or jar with leaks or perforations.
– When you open them, check that the appearance, colour and smell of the canned/tinned product are as they should be.

What’s the difference between salted anchovies and anchovy fillets?

Salted anchovies are semi-prepared products. They are sold whole in recipients where they are arranged in layers separated by salt. A certain amount of work is required before they can be eaten, as they have to be cleaned (e.g. with water) and filleted. This is why they are more popular with gourmets and experts in anchovies, as they preserve 100% of their real flavour.

Anchovy fillets are ready to eat. They have already been cured and are sold filleted, usually bathed in olive oil.

What is the difference between the “sell-by date” and the “freshness date”?

The sell-by date appears on products with a very short life and must contain the month and day the product expires. From that day on the product cannot be sold and should not be consumed.

The freshness date is carried by medium to long life products such as preserves and semipreserves. The date indicates the time up to which all the properties or characteristics of the product can be guaranteed and should appear together with the instructions for conservation and storage.