Are eels safe to eat?

In this brief guide, we will discuss the question “are eels safe to eat?”. As well, we will discuss what are eels, why is the toxin from eel blood so lethal, can I fish eels and eat them, what parts of the eel are edible and other concerns about eels.  

Are eels safe to eat?

Yes, it’s safe to eat eels and is a common dish in Asia. However, you cannot eat raw eel because the eel blood is toxic and also can be lethal for humans.  

What are eels?

Eels are fish that can live in marine or freshwater, they have an elongated body of about 5 centimeters to 4 meters. Eels have the costume of burrowing into the mud, sand, or amidst rocks. Almost all the species of eels are nocturnal.  

Why is the toxin from eel blood so lethal?

Eels’ blood contains a toxic protein that is toxic to humans and other mammals. This protein cramps muscles, including the heart. This toxin is so concentrated in eels’ blood, that just the smallest quantity can kill someone.   

Can I fish eels and eat them?

If you are not an expert in eels, it’s not recommended even to fish them, as the small amount of blood can cause much risk for humans. Also, it is necessary to know how to clean and prepare the eel for eating. So, it’s recommended to buy a clean eel or eat them in a restaurant.  

What parts of the eel are edible?

Normally, the part of the eel served as food is the filet deboned, but some species can remain some tiny bones in the flesh, like the unagi. These tiny bones can be a risk if ingested, like all tiny bones from other fishes.  

What are the common edible eel dishes?

You will have eels from marine or freshwater. Eels are more common in Japan, Belgium, England, Korea, Vietnam, and Italy, but are also widespread worldwide. The most common eel dishes are Jellied eel, kabayaki, unadon, smoked eel, grilled eel, and others.  

Is there an eels farm?

Yes, you can find eel farms in different countries and Japan is the biggest one. If you click here, you will find a Scandinavian farm of eels. 

How regulates the eels farm?

Each country will have a federal agency that rules the industries ensuring that they control all hazards to guarantee a food with no risk for human consumption, a safe food. 

What are the nutrients from eels?

Eel is a fish and contains a low-fat value source of high-quality protein. Serve as the font of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins (D and B2-riboflavin), and minerals, mainly calcium and phosphorus, but also contain iron, iodine, zinc, potassium, and magnesium. 

What are the health benefits of fish?

The nutrients of fish can assist in lowering blood pressure and decreasing the chance of stroke or heart attack, but also helps to maintain the brain healthy. The omega-3 fatty acids can be found just in fish, this nutrient is not produced by our organism. Below are some other health benefits of this nutrient. 

  • Can lower the chance of ADHD, depression, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes;
  • Can avoid inflammation and lower the chance of arthritis; 
  • Help the infant grow vision and nerves as the fetus is developing inside the mother. 

What do I need to know when buying eels?

It’s difficult to find eels in supermarkets, but you may find drained eels of their blood in seafood commerce. According to the FDA, you can check some suggestions in the list below. 

  • Just choose an eel that is refrigerated or exhibited on a wide bed of fresh ice;
  • The eel can never smell ammonia or sour;
  • The smell coming from the eel needs to be mild and fresh;
  • The entire flesh of the eel needs to be firm, and when pressed should spring back;
  • If you choose eels filets, they need to exhibit no discoloration, blackness, or dry edges.  

What do I need to know if I will buy frozen eels?

When you are going to buy frozen eels, you need to pay attention if the package is not damaged or kneaded. Take care of signs of crystals or frost ice, which indicates the eels were defrosted and refrozen.

How can I store eels? 

If the eel will be consumed within 2 days after being bought, you can keep it in a clean refrigerator (40°F or below). If you know that you are not using the eel, it’s better to freeze it as soon as possible. To know more safety tips about it, click here.  

How can I prepare eels?

The eel needs to be fully cooked as will ensure the destruction of the toxins in the flesh. If you click here, you will find an Italian recipe for fried or grilled eel. 

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we have discussed the question “are eels safe to eat?”. As well, we have discussed what are eels, why is the toxin from eel blood so lethal, can I fish eels and eat them, what parts of the eel are edible and other concerns about eels. 

References 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eel_as_food Accessed: 04/29/2022

https://fishmasters.com/can-you-eat-eel/ Accessed: 04/29/2022

https://ovenvia.com/what-part-of-the-eel-do-you-eat/ Accessed: 04/29/2022

https://thefishsite.com/articles/a-guide-to-eel-farming Accessed: 04/29/2022

https://www.fda.gov/food/buy-store-serve-safe-food/selecting-and-serving-fresh-and-frozen-seafood-safely Accessed: 04/29/2022

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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.