I go to Trader Joe’s about once a month. From a paleo perspective, Trader Joe’s is a mixed bag. They sell a lot of processed frozen foods and grain heavy snacks, but among the junk there are a lot of hidden gens at great prices. Organic avocados, Kerry Gold Butter, a variety of frozen veggies, coconut oil, and uncured, irregular cut bacon are just a few of the budget friendly paleo foods you’ll find at TJ’s. They also have a small canned fish section, and this week I finally got around to trying their lightly smoked sardine in Olive Oil. At $1.69 per tin, they are among the cheapest sardines you can find. In my experience, Sardines that are sold that cheaply in individual tins are almost universally bad. Will Trader Joe’s be an exception to the rule?
Opening the can, I found three plump, nicely colored sardines with a pleasant smell. Piercing them with a fork revealed a surprisingly firm texture. I don’t know whether these Sardines were frozen prior to cooking, but it certainly tastes that way as they are excessively dry and hard. The taste is very neutral, almost flat. If you aren’t somebody who particularly likes sardines, and are just wolfing them down for health reasons, Trader Joe’s Lightly Smoked Sardines in Olive Oil might not be that bad of an option. They certainly aren’t terrible, and in the sub $2 class of Sardines available at mainstream supermarkets these were by far the best. But they are no where near the same class as King Oscar or Wild Planet (which can be bought in bulk at Costco for a price per can that is just as cheap).
Overall Grade: OK
Previously Frozen Taste
Perhaps too Mild Tasting