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Salmon: Inside America's Favorite Fish

by Berkeley Wellness

Succulent, delicious, and highly nutritious, salmon is one of America’s most popular fish. Salmon live in the ocean except during the spawning season, when they return to the coastal rivers and streams where they were born. Some types of salmon travel thousands of miles between the time they leave the rivers as juveniles until they return as adults. Farmed salmon are raised in salt water. Their flesh doesn’t have the same rich nuances in flavor and texture as that of their wild ocean-roaming counterparts, although some people prefer the mild flavor of farmed salmon.

Types of Salmon

Several varieties of salmon are sold commercially, including chinook, sockeye, coho, and pink. Here's a quick look at what differentiates them.

Salmon: nutrition

The tender, rich meat of salmon provides substantial benefits, including protein, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin D, potassium, selenium, and an impressive amount of vitamin B12. Canned salmon that contain the soft edible bones will also provide a respectable amount of calcium.

One of salmon’s principal nutritional attributes, however, is its valuable omega-3 fatty acids, notably eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are found in its rich oil. In fact, salmon is one of the top sources of these healthy fats. Omega-3s make platelets in the blood less likely to stick together and may reduce the inflammatory processes in blood vessels, thus reducing blood clotting and lessening the chance of a heart attack. They may also make the heart less susceptible to dangerous rhythm abnormalities. The American Heart Association advises eating at least two servings of fish a week, and emphasizes fatty fish such as salmon.

For a full listing of nutrients, see the National Nutrient Database:

How to Choose the Best Salmon

Look for salmon that is firm enough that it springs back when you touch the flesh. It should be translucent and moist, and should smell sweet, not fishy.

How to store salmon

Whole salmon will keep better than steaks or fillets. As soon as you get salmon home, rinse it, place it on paper towels, seal it in a clean plastic bag, and store in the coldest part of the refrigerator or in a pan of ice.

To freeze fresh salmon, you need a freezer set at 0° or colder. Be sure to thaw frozen salmon in the refrigerator, not at room temperature. Cut large pieces (2 pounds or more) into steaks or fillets so they will freeze quickly. Rinse and pat dry, then tightly wrap individual pieces in heavy-duty freezer paper. Overwrap with foil or a freezer bag. Frozen salmon keeps about three months.

Smoked salmon keeps for up to three days wrapped tightly in the refrigerator. For vacuum-packed smoked salmon, check the label for storage instructions.

9 Salmon Recipe Ideas and Cooking Tips

Salmon is a versatile, nutritious fish that can be prepared in many ways, and served hot or cold. Here are some delicious and healthy preparation ideas.

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