Season Brand Mackerel in Olive Oil: My New Favorite Tinned Fish

For my latest adventure in the world of conservas, I’m finally opening a tin of Season brand mackerel. Tins of mackerel, usually imported from Italy, were pretty common in our community. Everyone’s dad or grandfather had tins of various types of tinned seafood in the cupboard. Some of these tins could have been decades old, but the fish inside was always in perfect condition.

This box of Season Brand Mackerel in 100% Olive Oil has been sitting in my pantry for about a year. I don’t know why I kept putting it off. I guess I felt I needed to be in a mackerel kind of mood. I think when most people think of this particular fish, they think it will have a strong “fishy” flavor. Some fish are stronger in that flavor than others, but in my experience, sardines are far stronger in “fishy-ness” than mackerel. Now it’s time for this humble tin of fish to shine in the form of a lunch salad.

About Season Brand Tinned Fish


Season is a century-old American company that produces tinned and canned seafood in five categories, one of them being sardines. I’ve tried Season’s sardines and I was not a fan – of the sardines, not the brand. Mackerel on the other hand I do like, I just don’t eat it much these days.

The back of the box had the typical nutrition information along with data on the mackerel itself. Season is using chub mackerel also known as tinker, which is common in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. Mackerel are a very nutritious and lower mercury alternative to canned tuna and in my opinion, is a better tasting alternative to skipjack “chunk light” canned tuna.

Chub mackerel are an abundant species and the box of Season mackerel boasts a sustainability badge from Friends of the Sea. This tin of boneless skinless mackerel was produced in Morocco. I find it interesting that this product is skinless, when Moroccan sardines are often tinned with skin and scales. I’m not a big fan of seeing or eating tinned fish scales so I was happy this fishs get a little more attention than the sardines.

What’s Inside the Tin?

Season Mackerel fillets in oil

I was greeted with a well packed tin of boneless and skinless mackerel fillets under shimmering olive oil. They were slightly firm, and mostly held together when being removed. However they were also tender enough to break easily with a fork.

I took a sample bite and I realized that this tin of fish had not gotten the justice it deserved. It was absolutely delicious and I began to wonder why I’ve been buying canned tuna all this time! It was even tastier than some canned tuna in olive oil that I’ve tried. Talk about a pleasant surprise.

For lunch I placed the Season Brand mackerel fillets atop of a mix of arugula and tomato, both fresh from my garden. I only added a bit of red wine vinaigrette and some salt for a perfect salad.

The Verdict on Season Brand Mackerel in Olive Oil

Season Brand mackerel with arugula and tomato

I can’t praise this humble tin enough. It was cheap, delicious and surprisingly filling in that light salad. Even after sampling some other, higher priced versions of tinned mackerel, I think the Season’s version is the most consistent, and you get a good bang for your buck. I have recently tried their grilled variety. It’s pretty good, but I prefer the flavor and texture of the version above. These tins have now become part of my regular shopping list and I stock up anytime they are on sale. Now that I know how good they are I’m looking forward to trying the rest of Season Brand’s line of tinned seafood beyond their sardines.