Eels may not be visually appealing to you as they look more like black snakes, but they are nutritious, healthy, and taste great, and you don’t have to take my word for it! I love them and did not have to acquire a taste for them. I probably ate enough of the plastic cups filled with jellied eels before I realized what I was eating. My grandfather adored them and that was good enough for me. They are a meaty and fishy thing when it comes to texture, but since they were in a jelly they were slippery too.
The East End of London is famous for its cake, puree and liqueur, and its jellies or stewed eels. The working classes ate them with enthusiasm in the 19th century and the tradition continues today. Tourists and locals alike can be found in cake shops sampling local ‘delicacies’ if you can call it mashed potatoes and a meatloaf topped with pea sauce that may have been made from water left over from cooking the eels.
Eels are good for you as they contain Omega-6 fatty acids, so they have all the benefits of other fatty fish like mackerel and salmon. They contain the minerals calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, selenium (the feel-good mineral as I like to think of it), manganese, zinc, and iron. As for minerals, they are a very good source of vitamins A and B12 and also a very good source of protein. They do not contain carbohydrates, but they do have 18 amino acids and vitamins A, C, E (in the form of alpha-tocopherol) k, the complex vitamins B, B1, B2, B3, B6, folic acid, B5, B12 and choline. This means that they are healthy for the heart, protect the central nervous system, help vision, promote hair growth and help rejuvenate the skin and of course there is selenium, good for the brain and a mood enhancer.
This year, the price of eels and baby eels (baby eels) has skyrocketed, partly because populations in the Thames have declined and partly because people have found that eels are healthy and tasty too. In April 2012, American fishermen in Portland, Maine, said that a pound of eels could cost more than $ 2,000. The season for elvers is short, from February to May.
I will never forget the first time I saw these squirming, see-through little creatures crawling over prawns and fish at the Swansea market. However, I got over it and ate them when we got home. You can still buy them there with the fresh cockles and Laverbread (cooked seaweed). Jellied eels can be prepared at home, they are boiled in water and spices and the water is allowed to cool and then made into jelly since the eel is greasy, as I mentioned above. You can eat them hot or cold, and if you are in London’s East End, they will be served in a bowl, and they will be given to you already minced as you traditionally eat them with a fork and spoon, without a knife.
It seems that they are not as cheap as they used to be, but they are just as tasty, so forget your prejudices and give them a try. They are good for you.