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Petromyzontida:

CONSTITUENTS OF FLESH OF FISH.

Raiida:

119

Petromyzon marinus, Lamprey eel.

Raia sp., Skate.

Some of the scientific names in the above list have been modified by recent research, but it is advisable to present the above classification for purpose of reference. The variations from these names will be given in the part of the discussion relating to the food value of fish, in which the classification of Jordan and Evermann is followed.

Edible Portion of Fish.-As in the case of other animals large parts of fish as taken from the water are inedible. In the preparation of fish the head is usually removed, especially if the fish be of any size, and the entrails rejected. If the fish be scaly, the scales are also removed. The latter vary very greatly in different specimens according to species, size, etc. Usually the edible portion of the fish is larger in quantity than the inedible, though this is not by any means universally the case. Taking fish of all kinds together it may be said that from 55 to 60 percent of the total weight is edible. This, of course, excludes the bones as well as the other portions already referred to.

Principal Constituents of the Flesh of Fish.-In the flesh of cattle, swine, and other edible animals already mentioned it is seen that the protein is the principal part of the edible portion. In many kinds of meat, however, the fat is the principal portion, as in bacon. In the flesh of fish the albuminoids occupy a more prominent part than in the flesh of domesticated animals or game. In other words the proportion of fat, which is one of the principal ingredients of the flesh of other animals, is less than in the other kinds of flesh. The protein in the water-free substance often constitutes over 90 percent of the total matter, and rarely falls below 80 percent. The next most important constituent of the dry flesh of fish naturally is the fat. The average content of fat in the dry flesh of fish is under 10,-it rarely goes above 20 and sometimes falls as low as or 3 percent. The mineral content of the dry flesh of fish is quite constant. It rarely falls below 4 or goes above 8 percent; 5 percent may be regarded as a fair average content of mineral matter. The mineral matter consists chiefly of phosphate of potash and lime, together with some common salt. In the analyses made by Atwater, adopted in the following pages, he grouped together the fish analyzed in proportion to the quantity of the edible portion or flesh which they contained. Groupings were also made on account of the dry substance in the flesh and in proportion to the water and fat which they contained. These tables are of value showing in a general way the relative food importance of the different specimens of fish. This classification is given in the following table:

CLASSIFICATION OF FISHES BY PERCENTAGES OF FLESH, CHIEFLY MUSCULAR TISSUE

IN ENTIRE BODY.

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NO. OF
SPECIMENS
ANALYZED.

I

2

I

I

I

I

3

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WATER.

FLESH.

Per

cent.

65.4

64.7

60.0

58.1

57-3

57.3

57.2

56.4

76.7

76.2

54-5

54.2

54.0

52.9

52.7

52.3

51.9

50.8

50.5

CLASSIFICATION OF FISHES BY PROPORTIONS OF FAT IN THE FLESH OF SPECIMENS

ANALYZED.

Per- Percent. cent.

79.0

78.6

77-7

FATS.

63.6 17.9

71.4 14.4
63.6 13.4

71.1 13.3
69.1 11.4
70.0 11.0
69.0 11.0
70.6

68.1

9.5
9.4

71.6 9.I
72.8 7.6
73.4 7.1

69.8

6.5

75.4 5.2

75.0

5.1

74.4 4.9
4.6

74-9

75-7 4.I

75.6 3.7

3.6 1
3.5

78.5 3.0

2.8

2.5

2.4

2.4

2.4

2.1

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| Cusk

Pike (pickerel?)

Sea bass

Pike perch, wall-eyed pike.

Pickerel
Red bass.
Tomcod

Cod

Winter flounder

Haddock

No. of
SPECIMENS
ANALYZED.

2

No. of

SPECIMENS
ANALYZED.

I

I

I

2

I

I

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FLESH.

Per

cent.

79.2

76.0

49.9

48.1

47-5

46.5

46.4

45.I

44.0

43.9

43.8 43.7 43.4 42.8

42.1

40.I

40.0

39.9 37-5 37.3 36.8

36.5

34.0

33.2

84.4

81.7

82.0

Per- Per

cent. cent. 78.7 1.9 79.2 1.8 82.2 1.4 79.1 1.4

78.5 1.3

78.5

1.0

78.6

FATS.

1.0

1.0

0.8

79.3

08

80.9 0.8 83.1

84.2

0.7 0.7

79.4 0.6

79.8 0.6

79.3 0.5

79.7 0.5

79.7 0.5

81.6

0.5

81.6 0.4

82.6 0.4

0.4

0.3

0.2

CLASSIFICATION OF FISHES BY PROPORTIONS OF WATER-FREE SUBSTANCE IN THE FLESH OF SPECIMENS ANALYZED.

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ALEWIVES.

322

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121

2

WATER-FREE
SUBSTANCE.

Per

cent. 22.3 21.5 21.5

21.5

21.4

21.4

21.3

21.0

20.9

20.8

20.8

20.8

20.7

20.6

20.3

20.3

20.2

19.2

18.5

18.4

18.3

18.0

17.9

17.4

16.9

15.8

15.7

In the scientific names of the food fishes described in the following pages and in the description of their habits, methods of spawning, geographic distribution, etc., the classification of Jordan and Evermann* has been followed. Alewives.-A fish belonging to a genus very close to that to which the herring belongs is known as alewife. The name of the genus is Pomolobus. It is commonly known as a herring. For instance, the fresh-water skipjack or blue herring, the tailor herring or hickory shad, and the real alewife or branch herring are all common species of this genus. One specimen of this genus is the fresh-water skipjack or blue herring (Pomolobus chrysochloris) found in the larger streams in the Mississippi valley and also in Lake Erie and Lake Michigan. It is strictly a fresh-water fish, but has also been found in salt water on the Gulf coast. The tailor herring is found along the Atlantic coast from Cape Cod to Florida. In the Potomac river it is known as tailor shad or "fresh-water tailor," and is highly esteemed as a food fish in Washington and vicinity. Their value is found rather in their coming earlier than the

*"American Food and Game Fishes," by Jordan and Evermann, 1 vol., large 8vo, pp. i to 1+1 to 572. Twelve colored plates and several hundred full-page plates from photographs from life and text-figures. Doubleday, Page & Co., New York.

shad than in their true value, for as soon as the shad come in great abundance there is no longer any market for the alewife.

Composition of Alewife.—

Water,...

Protein,.

Fat,..
Ash,.

FRESH.

74.41 percent
19.17

66

4.92

1.47

Water,...

Protein,.

Fat,.....

Ash (principally salt),

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DRY.

"6

75.87 percent
19.08
5.78

This fish, it is seen, has very much less oil fact, only a little more than one-half as much. ingly larger percentage of protein.

The tailor herring and hickory shad are distributed along the coast from Cape Cod to Florida. The branch herring (Pomolobus pseudoharengus) is found along the Atlantic coast as far south as Charleston, entering fresh-water streams to spawn, usually two or three weeks ahead of the shad. It occurs also in Lake Ontario and in several of the small lakes in northern New York in which it is land-locked. The summer herring (Pomolobus æstivalis) also occurs along the Atlantic coast.

in it than the true herring,—in It, however, has a correspond

66

Anchovy. The anchovy is a small fish which is eaten more as a relish. in the pickled state than in the fresh state, and is highly prized by many connoisseurs. Anchovies of various species are found on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, on the Atlantic coast from Cape Cod to Brazil and on the western coast from southern California southward. These fish reach a length of from 2 to 7 inches. The very small ones are sometimes known as "whitebait." Those that are pickled and used for food are usually from 3 to 6 inches in length.

Composition of Preserved Anchovies.

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Black Bass. Two species of black bass are well known to the American fisherman and to the American cuisine. The one is called the small-mouth black bass (Micropterus dolomieu) and the other the large-mouth black bass (Micropterus salmoides). These fishes are found in the fresh waters of the United States, especially in the northern portion, almost everywhere. Both species have been propagated both by the National and State Fish Commissions. Especially have they been introduced into the northeastern waters where they originally did not occur, or only in small numbers.

Bluefish. The bluefish (family Pomatomida) is one of the valuable food fishes of our Atlantic coast. It is a voracious, carnivorous fish, and apparently loves to destroy as well as to eat. It is stated that the bluefish copies after the style which was once said to be in vogue in Rome, viz., when its stomach is

123

filled it disgorges it for the purpose of eating a new ration. The size of the bluefish runs from 3 to 5 pounds, though occasionally very much larger examples are taken. As a food fish it is said to rank in the estimation of the connoisseur with pompano and Spanish mackerel. The bluefish is one of the popular fishes in all the large markets of the Atlantic coast. The flesh has a fine flavor, but, like the pompano, it does not keep well. Composition.

Water,..

Protein,.

Fat,

Ash,

CATFISH.

FRESH.

78.46 percent

""

. 19.02

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DRY.

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A comparison of the flesh of this fish with the pompano shows that it is particularly a protein food, the fat being even less abundant than the mineral matter. It, therefore, is not so well balanced a ration as the flesh of the pompano and other fish in which the fat forms a considerable portion of the edible

matter.

Carp. The carp is a fish used very largely for food purposes, but it has not the fine flavor and character of most fishes. The carp cultivated in America is known as the German carp (Cyprinus carpio).

The carp belongs to the large family of fishes known as the minnows or Cyprinidæ. This family is a large one, having about 200 genera and more than 1000 species, all of which are inhabitants of fresh water in North America and Eurasia. None of this family is highly regarded as food in the sense of flavor and aroma, except, perhaps, some of the smaller species. The nutritive value of the carp, however, is probably as great as that of any, but it is coarser and less attractive to the taste. Some of the most common species of this family are the dace, fallfish, river chub, creek chub, squaw-fish, and roach.

Catfish. Catfish, of which there are many species, belong to the family of Siluridæ,and are among the most common fresh-water fishes found in the United States. They occur in small as well as large fresh-water streams and lakes, and it is one of the species which the American boy most delights in catching with hook and line. The catfish is most conveniently taken after night, and the smouldering fire and small boy on the bank of a stream is a frequent picture of American country life. There are more than 100 genera of the catfish family and about 1000 species. Only about one-third of the species inhabit salt water. The North American fresh-water species are confined particularly to the Atlantic coast, the Mississippi valley, and the Gulf states. There are no native species of the catfish in the fresh waters of the Pacific coast. The blue catfish, known as the Mississippi catfish, is the most prominent species (Ictalurus furcatus). It is found particularly in the Mississippi river and its large tributaries. Sometimes it grows to an immense size, individuals having been found reaching 150 pounds in weight. If the stream

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