Scout is the First and Last Word in Canadian Conservas

The tinned fish craze is still going strong and who knows? Maybe this newfound love for high quality preserved seafood won’t flame out. I have to admit things got a little crazy on social media, but here in the real world, there is a lot to like about all the delicious varieties that are now more available. Most of the high-end tinned seafood comes from the Old World: Spain, Portugal and Italy especially. However, a new entry, this time from Canada, has entered the fray. I recently tried my first product from Scout and was impressed with the quality and commitment to artisanal canning.

About Scout

According to their website, Scout is the brainchild of Charlotte Langley, a chef from Prince Edward Island, Canada. She was inspired to revive the dying art of seafood canning after finding an antique canning machine. This certainly was a worthwhile endeavor in my opinion, especially in today’s world of conservation and sustainability. I have even toyed around with the idea of starting a small canning operation.

PEI was once the spring mackerel grounds of the Gloucester fishermen during the 19th century. The “mackerel jiggers” of the old days preserved the catch in barrels of salt brine. Nothing went to waste and all edible fish were utilized in some way. Our American coasts were once lined with canneries – from the “sardine land” of the Maine coast, to the famous “Cannery Row” immortalized by Steinbeck.

The canneries are now gone for the most part, but the spark remains in spots along both coasts. Small artisanal canning operations are thankfully getting more market share due to the rising popularity of tinned fish. Social media is allowing even the smallest “mom and pop” operation to get a presence online and showcase their talents.

Chef Langley could not have picked a more opportune time to start her canning operation. She started out in 2014 to bring some of this traditional canning back to North America. She teamed up with Adam Bent and Nate Dunn in 2018 to establish Scout and by 2020, their “Craft Can” line was already making waves.

Scout’s Product Lines and Sourcing

scout canned trout

The company has made a name for itself in a relatively short time thanks to a line of unique and innovative seafood products. Their Craft Cans feature a delicious trinity of Canadian classics: lobster, mussels, and trout. Other varieties like their pink salmon and albacore tuna, but I have only seen these cans available online. This line has very nice box art that gives off a real Canadian vibe and the small square boxes stand out on the shelf. Scout cans using small, circular tins of good quality that are not flimsy at all.

Scout has recently introduced a line of Seafood Snacks for those of us on-the-go. These handy snacks feature yellowfin tuna and a variety of crunchy and zesty mix-ins like za’atar and chilies. They sound like they are loaded with flavor but are not FODMAP friendly. I might be able to tolerate the za’atar variety and that one sounds the best to me anyway.

Scout is committed to sustainability. They are transparent about their sources of lobster, mussels, salmon, tuna, and trout. They use certified (MSC) wild caught Canadian lobster, Alaskan pink salmon, Pacific yellowfin and albacore tuna. ASC certified trout from Idaho’s Riverence Provisions is used for the can I chose to review: Scout’s trout with dill.

Review of Scout’s Ontario Trout with Dill

Scout trout with dill in can

I found the product unique and definitely of high quality. Upon opening the can I was met with slivers of skin-on trout in just enough sunflower oil, loaded with dill. Straight from the can I found it very tasty, and the fatty skin adds a little silky flavor as well.

Scout was very nice to suggest some serving suggestions, but I decided that for this can, I would make a quick lunch. I toasted slices of Virgilio’s Italian bread (Bread of the Fishermen) and spread some cream cheese on some and left the other plain. Both options were pretty good, but I really liked how the cream cheese blended with the fish and the dill.

A yummy swerve on the standard lox and bagel – just different enough to open some eyes and excite some taste buds. I plan to warm up the can in some hot water before opening next time I make this. I remember seeing this in Spanish bars before I was brave enough to try them. It should make the flavors pop and will have a nice aroma.

Trou appetizers

Final Thoughts on Scout’s Canned Seafood

From the single can I have sampled thus far; it is easy to see the quality Scout puts into their products. The trout was carefully put into the can, which by the way, is one of the easiest round pull-tops I’ve dealt with. I wasn’t stuck “fishing” around the can trying to get the last bits out. When you pay that much attention to the can itself, I trust you are filling it with nothing but the best.

Scout’s price point place them in the mid-range, making them fairly affordable. The limited availability of each variety also ensures quality and more value for your buck. My can of trout cost $9 online, not exactly a can of tuna fish, but not as expensive of some of the fancy European conservas.

Scout’s line of canned seafood would be a welcome addition to a Seacuterie board or part of a tapas party. The tinned fish snobs will love the unique variety of flavors and you can feel good about sourcing your conservas closer to home.