About 350 years ago, a way of slaughtering fish specially designed to preserve its quality was developed in Japan. In the Western world we are just beginning to learn about this technique, which has only been used since the beginning of this millennium on fish consumed in the best restaurants around the world. Surely the recent growth of the gourmet world has a lot to do with why now and not before. But the truth is that Ikejime or Ike Jime, which is how this Japanese slaughter technique for fish and shellfish is known, is increasingly becoming a claim among the best restaurants in the world.
Why sacrifice with the Ike Jime method?

As soon as a fish is caught, the quality of its meat begins to deteriorate, but if we handle it quickly we can preserve its maximum quality for longer. More and more chefs and consumers know that the quality of a fish is not only measured by how fresh it is. As with livestock animals, the way in which they have been slaughtered also determines the quality of their meat.

Do you know how the last fish you ate died? If you don't know, I'm sorry to tell you that the most likely answer is that he died of suffocation. This is how most of the fish we eat die. An agonizing and long and unpleasant way of dying that is at the opposite pole of a quick painless death. The fish is removed from the water and left to die gasping for breath. That is the fate of the vast majority of the fish that end up on our plates.

The death of fish by suffocation has only one advantage: it does not require any effort, the fisherman takes the fish out of the water and chimpún, leaves it to die while doing other things. The problem is that this is a productive advantage and a huge qualitative disadvantage. Not only is it that the fish suffers in the same way that a cow would suffer if we drown it in a pool, another added problem is that when it suffers an agonizing stress and makes intense physical efforts, the fish release lactic acid in its muscles that causes a hardening of the skin. meat and an unpleasant texture on the palate. In addition, this traditional way of slaughtering the fish that we eat is associated with the lack of complete bleeding of the fish. Blood is the organic matter that rots first and therefore a fish that has not been bled immediately after its capture lasts fresh much less time.

But let's stop talking about the problems and talk about the solutions, since there is an alternative to slaughtering the fish that we eat that is not death by suffocation. A much better alternative, both for fish and for those of us who are going to eat it.

Japan is the country that consumes the most fish in the world, and as experts on the subject, it is normal for them to dedicate time and resources to improve any aspect of the fish they consume. Do you know which is the second country that consumes fish? Indeed, Spain. Perhaps that is why we are so interested in everything related to Japan and fish. Luckily more and more fish and shellfish are sacrificed with this Japanese technique. We at JC Mackinotsh have been doing it since 2012. It was love at first sight, a door that opened for us and we only saw advantages.
Ikejime significantly improves the quality of the fish

We have already talked briefly about the levels of suffering that we put fish through during slaughter using the conventional method of death by suffocation, but before going into the Ikejime procedure I am going to tell you another curious fact.

The Ikejime is directly responsible for the development of umami in fish. For Western culture there are four basic tastes: sweet, salty, bitter and sour. In Hindu culture there are six, the previous four, the spicy and the astringent. In Japanese culture there are five basic flavors, the four Western ones and umami, which is a subtle flavor but with a long aftertaste and difficult to describe. It induces salivation and a velvety sensation on the tongue that stimulates the throat, palate and back of the mouth.

Foods such as mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, ripe tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, green tea, anchovies, dried bonito, cheeses (especially Parmesan), soy sauce, bok choy, spinach, the asparagus or the Iberian ham, stand out for being of this fifth flavor. A fish that has not been slaughtered using the ikejime method does not have umami flavor properties. If you want to know more about umami, I leave you this link, which is one of the best pages I have found on the subject (go to link).
The process

Ikejime is one of the best ways to stop the progress of stress in the body and stop the effect of lactic acid. The main elements of this process consist of de-stressing the fish, bleeding it, and chilling its meat. To do this, a wire is inserted through the spine that damages the nervous system and stops the survival message going through the body. This is a quick method to paralyze the fish and stop their fighting and consequent stress.

For small fish at the industrial level, Ikejime mechanized processes have been invented, but in the case of large fish such as bluefin tuna, it has to be done by hand, one by one, and requires a high level of precision and expertise to its correct practice. This implies that it is not practical to carry it out in large volume productions of bluefin tuna. We at JC Mackintosh fish to order, so our production volume is ideal for practicing Ikejime on all of our bluefin tuna catches.

This is one of the reasons why our customers continue to demand our tunas, the quality of the meat is appreciable and it lasts longer in the chamber.

We use our own and third party cookies.Read cookie policy.