Every home cook knows it, fresh fish is the way to go. Fresh salmon has many fantastic health benefits, including being a rich source of lean protein and amino-3 fatty acids. Fresh salmon can aid with weight loss and reduces the risk of heart disease. How fresh your salmon is truly matters for nutrition and flavor. Protein and amino-3 fatty acids can easily be damaged and go to waste if the fish is refrigerated for too long. These two components are key nutrients so it’s in your best interest to make sure they remain optimal for consumption.
If your salmon is not fresh, it will lose its flavor over time and start to look gray and dull. Not only does it not taste good or provide its full nutritional potential, but gone-to-waste salmon can cause food poisoning and lead to dramatic fevers or gastrointestinal symptoms. You’ll definitely want to avoid this at all costs!
Yet buying fresh salmon can be tricky! It’s not abnormal to see many different brands and species of this fish available at grocery stores, such as Atlantic salmon, Pacific salmon, Copper River salmon, Chinook, Sockeye, or Coho. There are also frozen salmon, farmed salmon, and fresh salmon to choose from. That is quite a lot to take into account when shopping for your next salmon-based meal!
If you want to know how to choose the freshest, nutritious salmon you’re in the right place. Today’s post is all about how to pick fresh salmon and spot fish that may have spoiled or sat for too long. Buying salmon doesn’t have to be confusing anymore. Keep reading to find out all about our best tips.
How to Pick Fresh Salmon
Choose a trusted salmon brand.
The more guesswork you can take out of the entire process of choosing fresh salmon, the better. We always recommend Oshēn salmon because it’s ocean raised, ocean loved, sustainable, and shipped straight to your door. It really is the best salmon delivery service out there. There is no middle man. The salmon goes directly from the ocean to your doorstep. It’s the freshest, healthiest, and most sustainable way to get high-quality salmon.
Fresh salmon looks a certain way.
Let’s face it: if it looks bad, then it’s probably gone bad. Fresh farmed salmon should have a link pink color to it, while wild-caught salmon should be dark pink. If the fish has any gray blemishes or brown areas, then it’s not that fresh. And if you’re buying the whole salmon, the eyes should look plump, shiny, and clear. Trust your instincts on this one!
Fresh salmon smells more like the ocean than a strong pungent fish smell. So if the stench of fish is overwhelming, it might be a good idea to pass. Fresh salmon should smell fresh and clean, that’s not to say it won’t smell a little fishy, like salmon. However, if the smell is a gross fish smell, it could be spoiled.
Beware of frozen salmon at the grocery store.
Frozen fish can be difficult to buy. A frozen salmon fillet should not look thawed or have freezer burn. If there are ice crystals stuck to the wrapping of the fish, it means that it has been warmed up in between freezing times. You don’t want to choose salmon that has been thawed because it would have lost a lot of moisture and nutrients. Freezer burn (which comes from the fish being flash-frozen) is the other detail to avoid. Frozen salmon that has suffered from it will have its flesh around the edges visibly dry and a lighter color than usual.
Follow the Seafood Watch guidelines and advice.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program will help you and other consumers make better choices for the benefit of a healthy ocean. It has guides and resources to support local and sustainable seafood, allowing you to make smarter decisions when buying salmon. This includes getting fresher fish too!
Be on the lookout for salmon with colored flesh.
Some salmon farming companies add colorant to their salmon in order to make it have a more attractive, classic, pink look instead of the grayer tone that some of them would have. Why? Because a lot of farmed salmon actually have grayish meat, thanks to being fed with oil content, soybeans, corn gluten, ground-up feathers, and chicken fat. This type of salmon is usually not of premium quality, so if the label indicates that the fish has been colored, give it a pass and look for another one.
Don’t let your salmon spoil on the way home.
Now that you’ve chosen the freshest salmon out there, it’s time to learn how to store it properly! That starts with your ride home. So bring a cooler with ice to the grocery store. You might be lucky enough to live super close to your grocery store, but if not, the ride home can make your fish less fresh. If you have a busy ride home or expect some heavy traffic, it’s a cooler can be your best friend. Bring the cooler in your trunk to the store. After you’re done shopping, just place the fresh salmon inside. This will prevent it from spoiling or losing moisture on the way back home. Also, keep in mind, it doesn’t have to be a large cooler. A simple lunch box-style cooler will do!
Never leave salmon unrefrigerated for more than two hours.
Salmon can only last up to two hours at room temperature before it starts spoiling. Make sure to keep it refrigerated at all times for it to retain all moisture!
If you do decide to freeze your salmon follow these tips:
If you do decide to freeze your salmon and store it for longer periods of time, it’s important to know both how long it can be frozen for and how to thaw frozen salmon. You can read the full guide on how long to keep frozen salmon for HERE.
Where do you buy fresh salmon?
We hope that these tips prepared you for buying the freshest salmon ever! And if you have a great source of fresh salmon, we would love to hear about it! Remember that if you don’t feel like going to any grocery stores, you can always buy from Oshēn Salmon to get your fish delivered straight to your door. Now go ahead and enjoy your delicious fresh salmon!