There are at least 48 different types of mackerel. The average length is 18.5 inches (47 cm) and the average weight is 3 pounds (1.3 kg.) They will
start to get sexually mature at 2 years old, and can live up to 20 years.
The female mackerel can release about half a million eggs that float on the top of the water, that will hatch in about a week.
Fast swimmers, mackerel live in schools, and spend most of their time near the surface of water looking for food, often making the water appear to boil. Mackerel have green skin with dark stripes on their back. They have no scales on their heads.
They eat small fish such as sardines and anchovies, and small crustaceans such as shrimp, and are in turn eaten by dolphins, sharks and tuna.
Mackerel can be bought canned, fresh, frozen, salted or smoked. Mackerel can be hot or cold smoked; if they have been hot-smoked, they need no further cooking.
With mackerel, freshness really is important. The flesh should be firm and the scales really, really shiny.
Mackerel is good with other bold tastes that can counter and complement its own: cumin, lemon, ginger, fresh coriander. In Scandinavia, accompanied by sour cream or crème fraîche. In Britain, it is served with a fruit sauce made of tart fruits such as gooseberries, rhubarb or cranberries. The tartness helps to cut through the oily taste.
To fry, try rolling cleaned mackerel in oats and then frying in butter.
The Romans loved mackerel; it was one of the fishes they would use in making their fish sauce called “Garum”.
Henry, Diana. Diana Henry does mackerel. London: Daily Telegraph. 19 March 2010.