AskDefine | Define pilchard

Dictionary Definition



1 small fatty fish usually canned [syn: sardine]
2 small fishes found in great schools along coasts of Europe; smaller and rounder than herring [syn: sardine, Sardina pilchardus]

User Contributed Dictionary



pilchard (plural pilchards)
  1. Any of various small oily fish related to herrings, family Clupeidae.

See also

Extensive Definition

For the hide and seek-like game, see Hide and seek.
Sardines, or pilchards, are a group of several types of small, oily fish related to herrings, family Clupeidae. Sardines were named after the island of Sardinia, where they were once in abundance.
The terms are not precise, and the usual meanings vary by region; for instance, to many people a sardine is a young, European pilchard. A generalisation is that if the fish is under 4" long (10 cm) it is classed as a sardine, and if larger than 4 inches it is classed as a pilchard. The FAO/WHO Codex standard for canned sardines cites 21 species that may be classed as sardines; They may also be eviscerated before packing (typically the larger varieties), or not; if not eviscerated they should be free of undigested or partially digested food or feces. The close packing of sardines in the can has led to their being used metaphorically for any situation where people or objects are crowded together; for instance, in a bus or subway car.

Kerala, India

Sardines (Sardinella longiceps), locally called maththi or chala, is a favourite of Keralites. However, the fish is typically used fresh and canned sardines are not popular. Fried sardines are a much sought after delicacy. Keralites regard 'mathi' as an intelligence-boosting supplement. Chala is cheaper in Kerala (compared to larger fish like the Seer or Pomfret) making it a common man's delicacy. Chala, along with tapioca, is a favourite food of Keralites. It is a pelagic fish, caught in fairly large quantities using a purse seine or a ring seine.

United Kingdom (Cornwall)

Pilchard fishing and processing was a thriving industry in Cornwall from around 1750 to around 1880, after which it went into an almost terminal decline. However, as of 2007, stocks are improving (q.v. River Cottage: Gone Fishing 22/11/08).
The industry has featured in numerous works of art, particularly by Stanhope Forbes and other Newlyn School artists.
A traditional Cornish pilchard dish is stargazy pie or starry gazy pie.

Spain (Canary Islands)

In the Timanfaya Volcanic National Park on Lanzarote, a popular tourist menu is to eat sardines, freshly caught that morning, grilled over the heat from a volcanic vent.


Sardines play an important role in Portuguese culture. Having been a people who depended heavily on the sea for food and commerce, the Portuguese have a predilection for fish in their popular festivities. The most important is Saint Anthony's day, 13th June, when the biggest popular festival takes place in Lisbon, taking the people to the streets where grilled sardines are the snack of choice. Almost every place in Portugal, from Figueira da Foz to Portalegre, or from Póvoa de Varzim to Olhão has the summertime popular tradition of eating grilled sardines (sardinhas assadas).


Fishing for sardela or sardina (Sardina pilchardus) on the Croatian Adriatic coasts of Dalmatia and Istria is an ongoing activity tracing its roots back thousands of years. The region was part of the Roman Empire, then largely a Venetian dominion, and has always been sustained through fishing mainly sardines. All along the coast there are many towns that promote the age-old practice of fishing by lateen sail boats for tourism and on festival occasions. Today this tradition is also continued by many producers.

Healthy Food

Sardines are also healthy and considered a "brain food." These fish are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which can help maintain a healthy heart. Recent studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids slow the progression of mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. These fatty acids can also help control blood sugar level. Not only are sardines packed with omega-3 fatty acids, but they are also a good source of vitamin D, calcium and B12.


pilchard in Asturian: Parrocha
pilchard in Bulgarian: Сардина
pilchard in Catalan: Sardina
pilchard in Welsh: Sardîn
pilchard in German: Sardine
pilchard in Spanish: Sardina pilchardus
pilchard in Basque: Sardina
pilchard in Persian: ساردین
pilchard in French: Sardine
pilchard in Galician: Sardiña
pilchard in Ido: Sardino
pilchard in Indonesian: Sarden
pilchard in Italian: Sardina pilchardus
pilchard in Hebrew: סרדין
pilchard in Haitian: Sadin
pilchard in Luxembourgish: Sardinn
pilchard in Hungarian: Szardínia (hal)
pilchard in Malayalam: മത്തി
pilchard in Dutch: Sardine
pilchard in Japanese: イワシ
pilchard in Norwegian: Sardin
pilchard in Norwegian Nynorsk: Sardin
pilchard in Occitan (post 1500): Sarda
pilchard in Polish: Sardynka
pilchard in Portuguese: Sardinha
pilchard in Quechua: Sardina
pilchard in Russian: Сардина
pilchard in Sicilian: Palamita
pilchard in Simple English: Sardine
pilchard in Finnish: Sardiinit
pilchard in Swedish: Sardin
pilchard in Turkish: Sardalya
pilchard in Chinese: 沙丁魚
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