This fish is called differently in different countries. Among the English-speaking population, it is known as the silver carp, and in China it was called the water goat. You do not know what kind of fish will be discussed next? About silver carp. But where did such strange names come from and why is this fish so popular all over the world? Now let's try to figure it out.
Silver carp is a commercial flocking fish from the cyprinid family. And although it outwardly resembles its carp relatives, there are certain differences between them. In particular, as is already clear from the name of the fish, it is recognized by its rather wide convex forehead, which hangs over the eyes of the fish. By the way, the eyes of this fish are shifted down, from which the forehead looks even more powerful and wider.
Silver carp is a freshwater fish whose natural habitat is water bodies in the Amur region and China. In the European part of Russia, this fish appeared only in the middle of the last century - it was brought specifically for artificial breeding. As it turned out, the silver carp liked the local ponds and he took root perfectly in the new place. Although I must say, this fish prefers warm ponds without a strong current, and her appetite wakes up only when the water warms up to 25 degrees. But in autumn, silver carp almost never eat.
This amazing fish serves as a living filter for the reservoirs in which it lives. It feeds on phytoplankton, and requires a lot of it. To understand how much, it’s enough to say that to increase the weight per 1 kg, silver carp needs to pass through about three dozen kilograms of phytoplankton. The specificity of the "diet" of this fish determines its lifestyle. All summers, silver carp live in river beds, and then migrate to floodplain lakes.
Another feature of the life cycle of silver carp is spawning migration. As a rule, for spawning, fish choose muddy waters near small sandy islands, where their caviar becomes almost invisible. Compared with other representatives of cyprinids, silver carp is not marked by high fecundity. During the spawning period, the female gives no more than 500 eggs.
Varieties of silver carp
It was the Chinese who, for more than two millennia, bred silver carp and observed their behavior, called the fish a "water goat." And all because this inhabitant of the reservoirs, like the grass carp, by the way, feeds on colonies of the smallest algae, the very ones that create the effect of "blooming" water. And thanks to such food preferences, silver carp is often specially launched into ponds for filtration.
All silver carp are usually divided into 3 groups:
- silver carp is white, it is ordinary or a mob;
- colorful silver carp, or asp;
- hybrid (a mixture of two types).
White carp are usually found in the rivers of East Asia, Thailand and the USA. Representatives of this species are recognized by their elongated, light torso with silver scales. By the way, precisely because of this color, in English-speaking countries, fish is called silver carp. Many note the similarity of white silver carp with grass carp. But experienced fishers know how to distinguish between both fish: silver carp on the belly have a distinguishing feature - a sharp keel bone.
This rather large fish can weigh up to 16 kg. By the way, watching this species of freshwater inhabitants, you can see something very unusual. It’s enough to break the silence in any way (even just tap the oars on the water), so that the silver carp literally begin to jump out of the reservoir. It is not uncommon when massive carcasses jump at high speed right into the boat, sometimes even injuring people. It is interesting that in such a jump the silver carp can rise more than 3 meters above the water. That is why in the USA it is customary to go to a silver carp not with a fishing rod, but with a crossbow.
Representatives of variegated, or southern, silver carp significantly exceed their size of white. Some adult carcasses can reach one and a half meters in length and weigh about 40-50 kg. Variegated representatives from silver carp can be distinguished by larger head sizes, which in some individuals can be almost half of the whole carcass, and wider eyes. And also, as the name implies, motley silver carp are “marked” with a darker spotted color (especially pronounced on the sides). Most often, large-headed (another name for motley thick-headed) is found in the rivers of the Far East, which flow into the Pacific Ocean. But in the last century, large heads were brought to Uzbekistan, and from there they already spread to the basins of the Azov, Caspian, Aral and Black Seas.
In dietetics, the carcass of a silver carp is primarily regarded as a source of fish oil and valuable protein. By the way, silver carp is the only representative of freshwater fish. Young carcasses are about 13 percent fat, but this indicator increases with age. However, this should not be scary. The meat of silver carp belongs to the category of dietary food. In 100 g of raw fillet there is no more than 90 kcal, and fat reserves do not reach up to 1 gram. There is almost no carbohydrate in fish, but there are more than 19 proteins per 100 g of product. By the way, the quality of the proteins contained in the meat of this fish even exceeds the value of milk protein. Speaking of proteins, one cannot but mention amino acids, and there are also a lot of them in fish meat. For example, 100 g of fillet contains 9 g of lysine, which is most beneficial for humans, more than 3 g of methionine and a little more than 1 g of tryptophan. This makes the product valuable in the diet of bodybuilders.
|Calorie content||86 kcal|
|Vitamin A||34 mcg|
|Vitamin E||2.65 mg|
|Vitamin B1||0.04 mg|
|Vitamin B2||0.11 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (PP)||2.8 mg|
Benefits for the human body
Many will probably be surprised, but there are special diets, the main product of which is silver carp meat (during the week you need to eat 1 kg of meat of this fish). And the reason for this is not even proteins, of which there are extremely many in the product, but fat. This substance in its biochemical characteristics resembles fish oil contained in marine fish. So, it helps to reduce blood pressure, strengthen blood vessels, regulate cholesterol in the bloodstream.
Due to the polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6) found in silver carp fillet, this fish is considered an excellent product for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. German researchers based on the results of the experiment confirmed the effectiveness of the product in lowering blood pressure. Before the start of the 2-week experiment in the participants in the experiment, blood pressure was usually kept within 150/95. After 2 weeks of daily fish consumption, rates dropped to 135/85.
Omega-substances are also considered useful for preventing cell mutations and for normalizing the functioning of the nervous system (central and peripheral).
The silver carp is definitely useful for people with diabetes, gout, or rheumatism. This diet product is advised to include in the diet of people with digestive diseases, metabolic disorders. Despite the fact that silver carp is a rather oily fish, it is perfectly digested by the human body. And for those suffering from gastritis with low acidity, this filet can play the role of a natural medicine.
Another advantage of fish is the ability to activate the production of hemoglobin in the body. And the silver carp received these amazing properties due to its special mineral and vitamin composition.
Silver carp dishes should regularly appear on the table of everyone who cares about their appearance. The rich composition of this product promotes the regeneration of aging skin. And collagen was found in the skin of silver carp, the very high molecular weight protein substance without which the skin begins to become wrinkled and sag. Therefore, in some anti-wrinkle cosmetics, you can see a more surprising component - collagen, taken from the skin of silver carp. Such products are useful for smoothing wrinkles and moisturizing the skin, while peeling.
Possible hazards and contraindications
Undoubtedly, silver carp belongs to useful products. But still there are some categories of people who should not get too carried away with this fish or even better to refrain from fish dishes. We are talking about people with allergies to fish or with protein intolerance. People with diseases of the digestive organs are not advised to eat silver carp in smoked form or in hot sauces. Such meals can aggravate the disease.
How to choose and store a carcass
If the silver carp is not caught as a trophy when fishing, it is important to know how to choose the right fish in a store or market.
The best choice would be a carcass weighing 2-4 kg - there are already not so many bones in it, to the best of fat, and the meat is tender. If the choice fell on chilled fish, then you must definitely check its smell. In a fresh carcass, it should resemble the aroma of a river and algae. At the next stage of the "inspection" you will have to pay attention to the eyes (should be shiny), gills (pure pink), tail (elasticity of a recently caught carcass), scales (shiny, silver). And do not be afraid to press your finger on the carcass: if it is fresh, then the dent will quickly recover.
Fresh chilled fish carcass cannot be stored in the refrigerator for longer than a day. For another 2-3 days, prolonging the freshness of the fish will help pickling. Depending on the method of smoking, the silver carp will remain suitable for consumption from 1 to 2 weeks. The most reliable way to store fish for a long time is freezing. A well-cleaned, washed and paper towel dried carcass can be stored in the freezer for up to 4 months. But after defrosting it must be immediately prepared and eaten. Re-freezing is strictly prohibited.
How to cook
The fillets of silver carp are appreciated by culinary experts all over the world. The meat of this fish has an extremely delicate texture and high taste characteristics. Like other representatives of cyprinids, in the carcass of a silver carp there are a lot of small bones, which, it seems, never get rid of completely. Although in the culinary world one can often hear that only skilled Chinese chefs can completely clean the fillet. But there is a little secret: the smaller the fish, the more bones in its meat. Therefore, cooks prefer to work with carcasses, not less than 2 kg.
The meat of silver carp lends itself well to cooking, frying, baking. It makes excellent fillings, delicious ear and many other dishes. They go well with silver carp squash, eggplant, beets, carrots, celery (root), parsley and onions. You can emphasize the taste of fish with coriander, fennel, black pepper, turmeric, garlic, paprika, mustard and lemon juice.
Chowder is the most popular silver carp dish. It is not difficult to cook it, and the taste of the dish is divine. In addition, this fish produces a very nutritious, rich broth.
Rinse the cleaned carcass of a silver carp, cut into portions and pour cold water for an hour. In no case should you throw the head and tail of the fish. But you need to carefully clean the gills of algae and mucus.
Meanwhile, put the diced potatoes, carrot rings, a whole head of onion, parsley root and a few peppercorns in a pan. Pour everything in water and bring to a boil. After 15 minutes of cooking, add fish, a couple of cloves of garlic, bay leaf to the pan. After boiling, cook for another 15-20 minutes over very low heat. Add finely chopped greens at the end.
Baked in the oven
Clean the carcass (about 2 kilograms) from the scales, gut, rinse in cold water. Cut the prepared fish in portioned steaks (2.5 cm wide) and grate with a mixture of salt, pepper and your favorite spices. In this form, steaks marinate for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, on a baking sheet, greased with olive oil, chop potatoes, tomatoes, onions, carrots or any other vegetables. Between the vegetables place the steaks, which are sprinkled on top with a few drops of oil. Bake for about 40 minutes. To make the dish more juicy, lay a foil at the bottom of the form, with the ends of which cover the fish-vegetable mixture. Toward the end of cooking, unfold the foil and let the fish brown. On a side dish for such a dish are suitable vegetables with which silver carp was baked. As an option - separately cooked broccoli or cauliflower.
Fishermen adore this "thick-billed" freshwater inhabitant. Probably, many dream of breaking a world record and catch a silver carp more than 51 kg. Indeed, it was precisely such a carcass that was caught in 1996 in the Kakhovskoye reservoir and today it remains the largest silver carp caught. But only the most experienced fishermen dream of it, and beginners are eager to catch at least the smallest silver carp, since this fish is not as easy to fish as other freshwater ones.