Did you know that there are over 3000 species of catfish around the world? Catfish are very easily recognized by the whiskers by their mouth. If it does not have whiskers, it is not a catfish. The whiskers of the catfish are very sensitive; they use them to feel around in their immediate environment, making everyday life a little bit easier for them.
Some species of catfish can live for up to 20 years, which means you can keep it as a pet or simply just eat it like everyone else. Catfish is readily available and used in various cuisines and dishes around the world. The process of cooking is not elaborate, so you will find them a lot in homemade meals.
What does catfish taste like? Generally speaking, there are two types of catfish and they do not taste the same. Farmed catfish have a subtly sweet taste and a mild flavor. After cooking them, their flesh becomes moist and takes on a dense texture. Wild catfish have a muddy fishy flavor. They are almost blind, so they eat anything including mud. For wild catfish, how they taste is mainly impacted by their habitat.
Many people will not like the taste of wild catfish. When they are freshly caught and you cut them open, you get a glimpse of all the mud and trash they have eaten. Farmed catfish generally have a better taste and are the more preferred fish.
Nutritional Benefits of Catfish
Catfish is delicious, if you can get rid of the muddy flavor of the wild ones, you would enjoy the taste. But the taste isn’t all that catfish has up its sleeves, like many fishes, it has a lot of nutritional benefits. Catfish is very common and one of the most widespread fishes in the world and it has an awesome nutritional profile.
In a 100 gram serving of catfish, you get 105 calories, 24 percent of the daily value of Cholesterol, about 3 grams of fat, almost 20 grams of protein, a significant amount of sodium, more than enough vitamin B12; 121 percent of the daily value, omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, and minerals like selenium, thiamine, potassium, and phosphorus.
Protein is a good source of energy for the body, and catfish are a lean source of quality protein. Eating catfish can help to rebuild muscles and tissues in the body. Protein also serves as the building block for many enzymes and hormones in the body. Because catfish is nutrient-dense, it can aid weight loss, it helps you feel full during a meal so you don’t have to eat as much as you would. If you want to watch your weight, eating catfish is a way to get more nutrition without increasing your calorie count.
Omega-3 fatty acids are important for brain health, scientific studies speculate that they might be able to help with mental conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), memory loss, and depression. Omega-3 fatty has also been linked to being responsible for a good skeletal structure and a healthy heart. They can also help the production of healthy bacteria in our mouths, increasing our overall well-being.
Many people are deficient in vitamin B12, but they don’t know. Catfish is a very good source of this vitamin which is linked to many health benefits. It can help with Anemia, improve heart health and boost cognitive function. The nutritional makeup of catfish can also be affected by their habitat. Some scientific studies have shown that farmed and wild catfish do not give the same nutritional value.
Culinary Uses of Catfish
Catfish is very easy to cook, it doesn’t dry out or overcook easily like other fishes, so it can be handled by anyone who knows their way around a kitchen. Almost all cooking options are suitable for catfish, and there is no exact cooking time attached to it. Just use your discretion and keep it from getting burnt or overcooked. The most popular method of enjoying catfish is by frying, after which they make perfect sense for integration into soups, stews, and pepper soups.
The best flavors for catfish are parsley, cajun, black pepper, thyme, garlic, oregano, basil, and celery seed. It goes along with side dishes like potatoes, asparagus, coleslaw, mac and cheese, hush puppies, cornbread, green beans, rice, salt and pepper chips, and potato salad.
Origin of Catfish? Where to Procure them?
The whiskers on the catfish are called barbels and not every species of catfish has very prominent whiskers. They are characterized by slimy skin with an absence of scales. In many parts of the world, they are considered of economic importance and are being regulated by several food agencies.
Catfish live in the coastal waters of every continent apart from Antarctica where the temperature is too cold. More than half of catfish species can be found in the American continents. They thrive in a freshwater habitat and can be found where you have shallow, running inland water.
There are at least eight species of catfish that live underground and another three species that live in caves. In the southern part of the United States, they go by different names; mudcats, chuckleheads, and many more. These nicknames are not standardized and cannot apply to a particular species of catfish. You can walk into any store and buy a catfish of your choice or fish for them yourself.
Does Catfish Taste Like Tilapia?
Catfish is a white fish, it has a mild flavor and firm texture just like the tilapia does, so there are some similarities in how they taste. But farmed catfish tend to have a milder, cleaner, and less fishy flavor when compared to tilapia.
Facts You Don’t Know About Catfish
- Catfish come from the order of Siluriformes, there are so many families, with the Andinichthyidae family extinct.
- There is National Catfish Day, a day set aside to acknowledge the importance of farmed catfish in the United States.
- During summer, the muddy flavor of wild catfish increases, because the fish spends more time in the cool mud trying to get away from the heat.