Salted sardine, salted sardine, salted sardine sarda sutta sali.
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Salted sardine, salted sardine, salted sardine sarda sutta sali.

Product included in the national list of traditional agri-food products (PAT)


Typology PAT : Preparation of fish, molluscs and crustaceans

Production area: Sciacca (AG) and the province of Palermo

Technical data sheet of the traditional agri-food product (PAT)


Area of ​​production: Fishing area within 40 nautical miles of the Southern Tyrrhenian Sea coast line, Southern Sicily, Gulf of Hammamet. Salted sardines are mainly produced in Sciacca (AG) and in the province of Palermo.

Brief description of the product: Fishery product represented by the fish species pilchardus sardina with a tapered and slightly compressed body covered with thin blue-green scales on the back, silvery on the sides and belly, presence of radial stripes on the operculum; total length between 12 and 15 cm.

In the Mediterranean Sea it reaches maximum lengths of around 24 cm.

Description of the processing and maturing methods: The sardines must arrive in the processing plants within 24 hours of being caught. The washing takes place with a bath of max 2 hours in saturated brine, then the product is decapitated, eviscerated, selected and washed with clean saturated brine; then it is placed in tinplate metal containers according to the "head-tail" technique, alternating a layer of sea salt from Trapani saltpans and a layer of fish. A plastic collar with a diameter smaller than that of the container is used to prevent the product from overflowing. The last layer of fish is covered with a sheet of food paper and a lid of natural fir wood called "press".

The "pressing" phase begins in two stages: in the first, the cans are subjected to pressure from the wooden cap so that the product returns to the container itself and the plastic collar is removed within 24 hours, then a layer of “Groundbait”, made up of sea salt and brine which is covered with a wooden plug; in the second, the containers are stacked and weights are placed on each stack, changing the arrangement of the containers after 7-8 days, from bottom to top and vice versa. This period is called "maturation", it lasts from 30 to 60 days depending on the ambient temperature and during which, every week, the "face washing" is carried out which consists in removing the layer of salt at the top of the container and in its replacement with a new mixture of salt and saturated brine.

Specific materials and equipment used for preparation and conditioning: Containers in tinplate sheet metal. Traditionally chestnut wood barrels or barrels are used.

Lid made of wood and weight made of a block of stone, replaced by a block of concrete in modern processing industries. All processing steps are carried out manually with the sole aid of sealing hooks.

Description of the processing, storage and maturing rooms: In the past, fish were processed in warehouses in the ports and caves carved into the limestone rock; today we work in establishments recognized pursuant to Reg. CE n. 853/2004 located in the provinces of Palermo and Agrigento.

Elements proving that the methodologies have been practiced in a homogeneous way and according to traditional rules for a period of not less than 25 years: The production of salted fish products has been documented since the times of the Roman Empire, but it developed concretely from the XNUMXth century thanks to the increasing importance that Sicilian ports had acquired as a landing and boarding point for sailing ships dedicated to the transport of various merchandise. , at that time there was no vessel in which at least one barrel of salted sardines was not on board. Over time, the purely artisanal activity has been replaced by the industrial one in establishments adapted to hygienic-sanitary standards, while the salting always takes place according to traditional rules.

Source Pat Cards: Sicily Region 

Card insertion: Ignazio Caloggero

Information contributions: Web, Region of Sicily

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