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Salmon is perhaps the most incredible fish in many ways – both from a nutritional perspective and as simply a marvel of nature. Although born in freshwater, salmon spend a good portion of their lives in the open sea, only to swim back hundreds of miles to return to their birth place in order to spawn. There’s a reason why these intelligent, intuitive fish are considered a “brain food.”
Salmon varieties are usually classified by the ocean in which they are located. In the Pacific they are considered part of the genus Oncorhynchus, and in the Atlantic they belong to the genus Salmo. There are five species of Pacific salmon, including Chinook (or king), Sockeye (or red), Coho (or silver), Pink, and Chum, and only one Atlantic species - Norwegian salmon, a popular type of salmon often offered on American East Coast restaurant menus, is actually Atlantic salmon that is farm raised in Norway. Much of the salmon available in today’s market comes from the waters of Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, eastern Canada, Norway, and Greenland.
Salmon characteristics vary with the species. The colors of these fish range from pink to red to orange. In addition, some salmon are richer and contain more fat than others. Some are considered to be richer in flavor. The Chinook and Sockeye varieties are fattier than Pink and Chum, while Coho falls somewhere in the middle. Not surprisingly, the Chinook, Sockeye, and Coho are favorite for steaks and fillets. Pink salmon is usually used primarily for canned food. Chum is generally reserved for processed food production. Chinook salmon are the largest, with a maximum length of 55 inches and a weight of 80 pounds. Sockeye is the smallest salmon, growing to only 15 pounds. Due to the various species parameters, cuts and fillet sizes are variable.
Like other fish, salmon have been enjoyed since time immemorial. In addition to eating fresh fish, techniques such as smoking and salting have been used to preserve salmon. To this day, smoked salmon is enjoyed as traditional fair in the cuisines of the Russian federation and Scandinavia.
Salmon is an excellent source of protein, potassium, selenium, and B12. In addition it is a very good source of niacin and phosphorus. Wild salmon has more calories than leaner fish, such as mahi-mahi, because of its fatty acid content.
FDA statistics on the nutritional content (protein and fat ratios) of farmed versus wild salmon show that wild salmon have a 20% higher protein content and a 20% lower fat content than farmed salmon. And while farmed salmon also provide high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, the benefits of these fats are offset by the higher content of omega six fatty acids and high levels of antibiotic and pesticide contamination.
Fish, particularly cold water fish such as salmon, have been shown to be very beneficial for protecting against heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and many forms of cancer. In terms of health benefits salmon is one of the most highly valued fish because of its exceptionally high content of omega-3 fatty acid. Wild Alaskan salmon also tends to be one of the cleanest sources of fish, as it typically contains the lowest levels of heavy metals and pesticide residues.
SELECTION & STORAGE
When you’re buying fresh salmon, first consider how the salmon looks. It should be light pink if it’s farmed salmon and dark pink if it’s wild-caught salmon (that is, if it's wild king salmon, aka Chinook, or Sockeye salmon, the two most popular species; other wild salmon species are lighter pink). It shouldn’t have any gray areas or brown blemishes. It should look moist and firm. But you should use your instincts: if it looks bad, it probably is bad.
When you’ve made your selection, smell the salmon if possible before you commit to buying it. It shouldn’t smell fishy even when your nose is next to it. It should have a mild, seabreeze scent, but you should have to put effort into smelling it to get a reading. Again, use your instincts: if it smells bad, it probably is bad.
Salmon and other fish and seafood do not keep for very long — at most, fresh, raw salmon will last two days in your refrigerator. To be safe, if you buy fresh salmon, plan to cook it the same night. Frozen fish should be thawed and cooked the same day. You can keep fish in the freezer indefinitely and safety won’t be an issue, but quality will diminish over time.
You can get, in my opinion, the best salmon from the Let’s Truck store!
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