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◆How to recognize an eel◆

Have you ever had the experience of buying eels, but they don't taste good or the skin is too tough?
It would be nice if you could tell the delicious eels from the ones in the store...
And here's how to tell the difference between good eels in the store.

There are soft-skinned and hard-skinned eels in the store.
Each eel is different even if they are from the same place of origin or manufacturer, so compare them carefully before buying.

Eels with soft skin are characterized by a thin piece of meat around the belly that is rolled upward.
The overall balance is a bit wide. This is the characteristic of soft-skinned eels.
Also, eels that are rough, wide and flattened on the surface are well-cooked and delicious.
Conversely, a hard eel is characterized by a thin piece of meat around the belly that is rolled downward.
And the meat looks long and slender and raised all over.
Other eels that are smooth and raised without any roughness on the surface have a fishy smell and are hard not only the skin but also the meat.



◆What is the slimy skin of an eel?◆

Do you know why the outer skin of an eel is slimy?
This is because eels have developed mucus cells and secrete a substance called mucin (a complex of protein and carbohydrate) on their body surface.
It helps retain water and helps the eel to breathe through its skin.
These mucous membrane cells are the reason why eel can survive on land and underground as long as they have a little water.
Also, the mucous membrane cells have the ability to regulate the osmotic pressure between inside and outside the body, which is why they can live in different environments, such as fresh water and seawater.
By the way, it may look like there are no scales on its slimy body surface, but there are tiny scales buried under its skin.


That's why I can do this.
◆When is the season for eels? ◆

Essentially, the best time to eat eels is in early autumn.
This is because they store plenty of nutrients before they go into hibernation.
On the other hand, February to March, when it wakes up from hibernation, is the time when all the nutrients are used up and the eels become thin. We call this condition "gara" in technical terms.
However, nowadays, the technology of aquaculture has advanced and the temperature control keeps the eels active at all times. You can now eat delicious eels throughout the four seasons.
Natural eels are "hibernating" in their natural habitat, so they taste differently in each season.