A quick look at supermarket aisles should be enough to tell you that Filipinos love sardines. This popular type of fish is found in large schools in the open seas, with the smallest being 5-7 inches in length. Sardines often come bottled, canned immersed in tomato sauce, etc. but the one variant that has deep roots in our country is the Spanish-style sardines — flavored with ingredients, such as carrots, oil, and peppercorn.
Bottled Spanish-style sardines are versatile viands, as they make for a delicious, quick meal, or can be given as nicely-wrapped gift set. Sardines are rich in calcium, and the homemade kind will surely be a hit with the health-conscious because they do not contain the preservatives that canned varieties have. This incredibly flavorful item is simple to make — using just a handful of wholesome ingredients — and can be enjoyed at any time and occasion.
Start-up capital is P400 for 4 bottles and time to finish is 1 to 2 hours per batch.
- 8 oz sterilized glass bottles with cap, P300 to P500
- Box cartons, P200
- Pressure cooker, P1,000
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Chopping board
- 1/2 kilo sardines (tamban), cleaned without head and tail, P30 to P50
- 1 medium sized carrot (cut thickly), P7
- 3 pcs of pickled cucumber (cut thickly), P50
- 2 bay leaves, P4
- Peppercorn, P3
- Red pepper, P15
- Salt solution (1 part salt to 4 parts water)
- 1/2 cup of corn or olive oil, P10
- Chili (optional), P10
- Cut each fish to fit the size of the glass bottle, and wash thoroughly to remove blood vessels and other foreign matter.
- Soak fish in salt solution for 30 minutes to wash out the fishy odor, then drain.
- Put fish in a glass bottle, together with carrots, pickled cucumber, bay leaves, peppercorn, chili.
- Pour in enough corn or olive oil to cover all ingredients — leaving about 1 inch of empty space on top.
- Place them inside the pressure cooker.
- Cook in pressure cooker for 1 hour at 121° C (or 1.5 hours at 116° C).
- When finished, use potholders to take out the bottles.
- Cool jars under running water, making sure to also rinse off any adhering oil. Allow them to cool and dry in an inverted position. This is to make sure the caps are not leaking.
- Label and store at room temperature. The longer you leave them out, the more they will cure and increase in flavor.
The sardines need not be skinned, but de-scaling and the removal of other hard to eat pieces is recommended if the particular fish is very coarse and/or large.
How Much Will You Make
Standard Spanish sardines in oil can be sold for P50 to P80 per bottle, which is about a 50% to 70% markup from the total production cost. You may start by selling them as gift packs to cater to a smaller market, but you can mark this up by 100% because of packaging cost.
source: Katrina Tan, www.entrepreneur.com.ph, photos by Ocs Alvarez