I came across some nice vintage 1968 Yugoslavian sardines a while back. Naturally, I was told these were not for consumption. Where most people would put them on a shelf for display, trying them out was my first instinct. Seeing only the occasional rust spots on the can with no signs of leakage or can swelling, I knew I would have to try these.
|Josip Broz Tito by Yousuf Karsh
After unwrapping the tin, I discovered that no key was included. I broke out my sardine server that also doubles as a tin key. The smell of metal from the can was very noticeable.
Rolling down the lid I expected to find dry prune-like fish, a can of fish mush, or just an aroma of decaying fish that was 47 years old.
To my surprise, a nice aroma escaped from the tin, a faint sardine and oil aroma. I was impressed with the appearance of the fish, an oil-filled, tightly packed tin of fish. It looked better than most tins I get today.
Removing the fish from the tin, I was surprised to discover how firm the fish was and how well it held its shape. On first bite, the fish possessed a good texture, salt is noticeable, and then... the taste of metal stormed my mouth as if I were eating the tin instead of the fish. The after taste was pure metal. My tongue felt as if it had suddenly grown fur. After three pints, the taste remained in my mouth. After 6, it was not as bad. My tongue felt fake for several hours and more pints later. I did not finish the tin. One plump fish was enough. I suffered no ill affects, except for drinking all my beer, from the sardines.
I love aged sardines. I keep several cases on hand that I'm always aging. And while these may not have been ideal, in a survival situation, the shelf life of tinned sardines is hard to beat!