Have you ever bought salmon at the wet market or local grocery store only to find out after cooking that it’s not even edible? Stale salmon is not just a disappointment; they can also pose serious health risks when eaten.
In this article, we listed down some of the tips on how to tell if salmon is bad and unfit for consumption.
Here are nine common signs I usually look after to determine if a salmon is stale:
9 Signs that Will Surely Surprise You!
How to Know If Salmon Is Bad?
1. Noticeable Dark Spots on the Flesh
We often buy Salmon in stores where they are already filleted or cut into regular portions. Visually, you can already tell if it is fresh or not just by looking for dark spots on the flesh of the salmon.
These spots are an immediate red flag because they are molds that have formed in the salmon’s meat. Immediately turn away from this kind of expired salmon because you risk the chance of food poisoning.
2. Color of the Gill is Dark Red
Just like in other types of fish, the gills of a salmon are also a barometer of its freshness. For starters, if the gills are colored dark red instead of bright ruby red, it means the salmon has been stored for a very long time.
The gills should also be whole and wet, not dry. Also, it shouldn’t have any slime, which could potentially be a breeding ground for bacteria.
3. Eyes are Dull
They say eyes are the windows to the soul, but I say they are the windows to a fish’s freshness. An expired salmon usually has dry, not transparent eyes which are sometimes bulging and nearly falling out of its sockets. Use this tip when you are buying a whole salmon with its head still attached.
Sushi is one of the dishes that uses salmon as its main component. I recently found out this video by a sushi chef and how they choose fresh salmon:
4. Flesh Lacks Vibrant Color
A fresh salmon is brimming with vibrant color and its scales are glistening. Usually, a wild salmon has a dark red or pinkish color than farmed salmon that is closer to red-orange.
If you notice that the salmon’s fillet seems to be yellowish, then it’s a good indicator that its freshness has declined. Although, you can still consume them you can rest assure that it will not taste as great as the fresh ones.
I always preferred salmon that is wild rather than commercial varieties because they are juicier and tenderer. Here is a video explaining why this is so:
5. Unpleasant Fishy Smell
When I go shopping for salmon, I always follow my nose. What I mean by that is you should also smell your salmon even if it has passed the initial visual test. Stale salmon has an overwhelming unpleasant odor, often smelling like ammonia.
A fresh salmon has the fragrant of briny or of clean water with just a hint of “fishy” smell. If you happen to take out your stored food and it already smells foul, I suggest you to throw it away unless you want to risk food poisoning.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also compiled some pointers on how you can choose fresh and safe to eat seafoods, which will be helpful for your next trip to the seafood section of the supermarket.
6. Meat Appears to Separate
Fresh salmon meat is supple and doesn’t seem to fall apart when you hold them. The white strands are what keep the salmon meat together, but over time those lines degrade and lose their properties.
As such, when the salmon reaches the point of spoilage they become less firm. Whether you are buying fillet or the whole salmon remember to ask the fish vendor or a supermarket staff if you can perform such test.
7. Flesh has Lost its Elasticity
Whenever I go shopping for salmon, I always ask the vendor or staff if I can slightly poke the salmon, whether it’s whole or fillet.
The meat of flesh salmon is springy and will retain its original shape fast after you put a bit of pressure on them. In contrast, a salmon that is past its raw state has lost its flesh’s elasticity.
8. The Salmon Bends a Lot
If you are buying a salmon whole, one of the tests you can do (especially if the fishmonger allows it) is to try and bend the salmon while letting it sit on one of your hand.
A fresh salmon will turn less compared to a not so fresh one that will bend a lot more. This behavior occurs because as time passes salmon’s meat tends to lose their firmness because the binding, white lines between the flesh is slowly losing their property.
9. Way Past its Consumption Date
Whenever you buy frozen salmon from the supermarket, they usually have a sell-by date or expiration date in the package.
The general rule is to consume the product before the listed date. Consuming it after the specified period is a no-no for me. After all, even in food, looks can also be deceiving, and I’d rather play it safe.
If you cannot find a fresh salmon that fits your standard of freshness, you can always try buying canned or packaged salmon. Some of the best salmon products in the market retain the flavor of freshly caught salmon, and you can store them longer.
Some of the items I have experience using are:
I hope you learned something useful and are now able to tell if a salmon is bad and inconsumable. As always, we appreciate if you can share your thoughts by writing a comment below.