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Canned sardines for a long time is a tradition in Portugal that goes back many years. The method of storing fish in sea salt for long-term consumption originated in the Iberian Peninsula during the Iron Age, and was used by the Phoenicians, Greeks, and Carthaginians, and later by the Romans.
The origin of the word sardine comes from the Ancient Greek and Latin word sarda. It is derived from the word salted or smoked fish.
After Portugal’s first commercial canning factory was opened in Portugal’s Algarve region in 1853, many more factories were established. Conservas Pinhais, one of the most well-known and surviving of these, has been continuing the traditional canned production since 1920 and is known to produce 30,000 cans per day.
Colorful canned sardines, which have been transformed into exhibition and advertising spaces in recent years, are exhibited and sold in many varieties, especially in local markets, restaurants, souvenir shops, museums and art galleries in Lisbon.
On certain days, Conserva Pinhais organizes tours of its factory, 15 minutes from Porto.