Debunking Myths About Tilapia
Mild, tender and easy to prepare tilapia is widely loved even by people who rarely enjoy seafood. It is becoming one of the most popular fish in the United States. The almost universal appeal of tilapia has made some people believe it is too good to be true. You may have heard some of the common myths about tilapia. We want to set the record straight and tell you the truth about this beloved white-meat fish.
Myth # 1: Farm Raised Tilapia Isn’t a Healthy Option
Truth: Though farm raised tilapia have a more muted flavor than their wild counterparts, they are just as healthy to eat. All tilapias are low in mercury. It is a good source of potassium, iron, lean protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. If you are striving to eat a heart-healthy diet that is rich in nutrients and low in saturated fats, farm raised tilapia is a great choice to put on the menu.
Myth #2: Scientists Created Tilapia
Truth: Tilapia have been around for a long time. Nile tilapias, which are native to African waters, are depicted in paintings within Egyptian tombs that date back 3,000 to 4,000 years. References to these fish appear in Biblical passages as well. Blue tilapia, blackfin tilapia and redbelly tilapia—the other three most common sub-species—may not be as famous as the Nile sub-species but they are all natural species that have been populous in Africa, the Middle East and parts of Europe for millenniums. They have spread to other parts of the globe over the last few centuries.
Myth #3: Tilapia Wasn’t Considered Edible Until Now
Truth: Americans may only have begun eating tilapia relatively recently but it has been enjoyed in parts of Africa, the Middle East and parts of Europe since ancient times. There is evidence that ancient Egyptians, including Pharaohs, regularly ate these mild white-meat fish. Ancient Greeks also ate tilapia. The name Tilapia Niloticus, or fish of the Nile, that was given to these fish is commonly attributed to the Greek philosopher Aristotle. The popularity of tilapia in these parts of the world didn’t stop when those old empires fell. Tilapia has continued to be a regular part of the diet in those parts of the world and has grown in popularity around the world as more people have discovered the versatility of this fish.
Myth #4: Tilapia Farming is a Recent Addition to Aquaculture
Truth: Tilapia is in fact believed to be the oldest farm-raised fish. Depictions of tilapia raised in ponds are in ancient Egyptian tombs dating back approximately 4,000 years. The practice of raising tilapia in enclosed fish systems has continued since then in Africa and the Middle East eventually spreading throughout the globe. Today, tilapias are raised in self-enclosed hydroponic systems in the United States, Canada, China, Ecuador and Taiwan.
If you are a fan of this delicious ancient fish, stop by our seafood counter in Wethersfield, CT. Our knowledgeable seafood experts can offer you ideas on how to enjoy this sustainably raised, clean water fish.