How to Pick Good Salmon

Salmon is a heart healthy natural food that is easy to prepare on the stovetop or in the oven.  It is a favorite of many.  It has plenty of healthy orega 3 fatty acids and protein.  Alaskan salmon is the best to purchase because of the contaminates in other waters.  Salmon is best prepared the bay you buy it, but can be frozen in the package also.  Salmon can be baked, broiled, smoked, poached or put in stews.  It can be pan fried with a salmon rub.  You can make it into burgers or fish cakes, and added to salads or dips and spreads.  Buying salmon can be intimidating. What should the fish look like?  Why are there different kinds?  What is the difference between farmed and wild caught?

Sight and Smell
Fresh Salmon should never smell fishy.  A customer should be looking for 'ocean breeze' smell.  Eyes are just as important as smell. A customer also needs to look for 'vibrantly colored' fish.  Pale fish is the enemy, to pick a good fish you want bright and vibrant hues.  It should be bright and moist and not discolored.  If you buy the whole fish, eyes should be clear and bright.  Skin should be silvery, shiny, and resilient to touch.  You are lloking for moist and not dried out, since moisture indicates freshness and how the fish was handled.  Look for if the flakes at the cut edges are seperating from each other.

Fresh vs. Frozen
However, fresh may not always be best because it is unknow how it has been handled.  Frozen fish were immediancly but on ice in the boats to preserve freshness.  Advancements in vacuum-packing has increased the quality of frozen fish as well.  So, don't fear frozen fish if you trust the source.

Farmed Fish
Farmed fish are not necessarily bad.  There are many cautionaly and questionable stories out there, and so there are many questions. Genetically modified, overcrowded breeding.  Thts true.  There are many questionable fish farms in the works.  But, if produced under responsible circunstance farmed salmon can be a low cost alternative to wild caught salmon.  Again, if you trust the source, go ahead and buy.  It really comes down to the sourcin standards of the company or farm.  High quality grocery stors have stricted guidelines about what they will buy and sell.  Evaluate the source.

You need an understandin go the variety of salmon that is available.  That will give a better idea of what to expect in the grocery store.

King:  Rich, buttery flavor and the most expensive.  Think Rolls-Royce.

Sockeye:  Expect deep red color, and the skin is supposed to be light grey (comes from cold waters).  Plenty of rich fat as they are generally caught on a 'run" to another location and gorge in advance.

Coho: Widely available and freeze well.  Avoid Coho at the beginning of July-its the beginning of the season-because they need a little more time to bulk up than other varieties.

Mild in flavor and fragile.  Optimal flavor the day it is caught.  Does not freeze or age well.  You will mostly find it in cans, and not in the display window.

Chum:  Also called Dogfish or Keta.  They breed at the mouth of righers and streams, and are lower in fat.  Good for smoking.  Chum from te Yukon or Johnstone Strait are meatier and great for grilling or smoking.


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