Market Name: Carp
Scientific Name: Cyprinus carpio
Common Name: Common carp, German carp, European carp, mirror carp, leather carp, koi
Flavor: Mild
Texture: Medium/Firm

Sustainability is certainly not an issue with the common carp, which is farmed and fished in freshwater worldwide. Native to Asia, the species eventually made its way into Europe and was introduced in the 1800s to the United States, where it’s now considered an invasive species. Processing entrepreneurs in the Midwest are working to expand the market — and fishing effort — for the fish, which is in demand in restaurants and shops in urban Asian communities. The hardy carp was one of the world’s original farmed fish, raised as early as 500 B.C. in China, which still accounts for the lion’s share of farmed production. While not widely consumed in this country, the fish is popular in Asia and Europe, home to many strains of common carps. The main varieties include: 

• Leather carp, which was bred to have no scales 
• Mirror carp, which has scales only near the fins 
• The fully scaled common carp 
Market size for whole carp ranges from 2 to 3 pounds, though they can reach more than 50 pounds.

Product Profile:
Carp meat is white but has a strip of tough, fatty dark meat running through it. When using fillets, the dark meat can be removed before cooking for a more appetizing finished preparation. The flesh is meaty and firm, with moderate oil content and a mild flavor. As with all farmed fish, the quality of the water in which the carp was raised determines the taste.

You Should Know:
Carp can develop an earthy flavor, which is often more pronounced during the warm season. For best taste, buy fish harvested from cold water.

Cooking Tips:
Carp is traditionally used in making gefilte fish, in which grinding and long cooking renders the many bones in the meat less of a problem. If you’re working with a full-scaled carp variety, know that the scales are difficult to remove, so this is best done before purchasing. Also, the tough skin is often removed before cooking. Carp is popular in Asian cuisine. It can be baked, pickled, smoked, steamed, fried or used in chowder.

Cooking Methods: Bake,Fry,Poach,Smoke,Steam

Substitutions: Striped bass, Catfish, Tilapia

Primary Product Forms:
Fresh: Whole, gutted, Headless, Fillets, Steaks
Frozen: Whole, gutted, Headless, Minced
Value-Added: Salted roe, Gefilte fish

Global Supply: