Sainsbury’s smoked haddock – is it really smoked?

I’ve written here before about the absurd wetness of Sainsbury’s smoked haddock, a fish that has supposedly gone through two processes – brining, then smoking – which would naturally reduce the moisture content, not increase it (fish, despite its environment, is not actually waterlogged).

Then, today, for reasons which still elude me, I bought more of the bloody flabby, wet, stuff.

Among all the info on the label, there is no mention of a smokery or even smoking. It does, though, contain the colouring agents curcumin (gives turmeric its yellow colour), and paprika, neither are traditionally used in smoking, where the normal dye is annatto. Makes me wonder, though, if it’s soaked in a solution containing smoked paprika – it would explain the wetness.

So I ran a small experiment in the kitchen. A strong solution of blood-red smoked paprika and water, left to stand for 5 minutes then filtered, yielded an intensely smoky liquid that was yellow-brown in colour – a sheet of kitchen paper dipped into it was dyed a nice, if pale, yellow. Mix the smoked paprika solution with a solution of yellow curcumin, dunk your haddock fillets for as long as it takes to colour up – there’s your wet “smoked” fish.

One last point. I bought skinless fillets. When conventionally dyed and smoked haddock fillets are skinned, the fish beneath the skin is normal fish colour, fish skin being impermeable. Sainsbury’s fish, where the skin has been, is bright yellow, meaning that it was subjected to whatever process they used after it was skinned.

I don’t think the bloody stuff is smoked at all.

Got anything to say, Sainsbury’s? Can you show me I’m wrong? And if I am wrong, kindly explain what other process makes your smoked haddock unfeasibly wet – I’d love to know.

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2 thoughts on “Sainsbury’s smoked haddock – is it really smoked?

  1. saw a program about “smoked” products where, in accordance with EC directives it is INJECTED with a smoked, coloured liquid. I’ll see if i can find the program again online.

    • Yep, that happens with meat products, mainly ham, which lends itself to the process, or sausages, where it can be added as a powder. Pretty sure it has to be declared, though, either by its trade name, like “Liquid Smoke,” or whatever product they use.

      Mind you, now I know I can get a smoke flavour my way, I might try it for myself. “Smoked” sausages anyone? Though if I’m buying a smoked product, I expect it to have had at least a passing acquaintance with a smokehouse.

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