How To Tell If Salmon Is Bad?
Salmon is one of the most delicious and healthy fish on the market. Many people love to eat it raw, but they are also popular canned or cooked. However, do you know how to tell if salmon is bad? How can you tell the fishy smell from the fishy smell?
These are essential questions to ask, especially if you plan to have Japanese-style raw salmon. Sure, you want to get the health benefits of this fish, but not the bacteria that start to grow once it’s left out of the freezer or refrigerator for a specific time.
Without a doubt, salmon have many valuable nutrients for human health. In fact, since prehistoric times, this type of seafood has been relied on to boost human life on this planet. If you love salmon like me or someone else by your side, there are a few things you should keep in mind, though.
Whether you want to eat it raw, canned, or cooked, with improper handling and storage, fish can quickly spoil. Salmon is always susceptible to pathogens, and that makes it vulnerable to premature deterioration. For this reason, it is still best to know how to tell if salmon is bad before buying or even cooking it.
Fortunately for you, there is absolutely no reason to play with your life. Here are some quick tips to keep an eye out for just to make sure the fish you’re about to feast on is good enough for your health.
How to tell if salmon is bad?
Be on the lookout for the fishy smell:
When it comes to food spoilage, the odor is often the first thing we check for. However, this approach is tricky when it comes to fish. How can you know if it is the natural aroma of fish or if it is fishy?
The safe, edible salmon smells fresh. They almost remind you of the sea and the salt due to its soft and delicate aroma. It really shouldn’t smell “fishy.”
The ones you need to throw away, on the other hand, are the ones that smell sour. They will remind you of ammonia and only on instinct, you will know that it is no longer good.
The cooked and canned salmon variety also has the same mild, neutral aroma. Smoked salmon, specifically, has a pleasant smoky aroma. Canned salmon sometimes looks good even if it has expired. That is why it is always important to check if the aroma is off.
Good salmon should smell fishy but not fishy. Sound confusing? Well, the difference is completely in the quality of the smell it produces. Good fish produces a fairly smooth and rich odor. Bad fish, on the other hand, tend to produce a terrible stench.
To give you an even clear assessment, fresh, safe fish tends to produce a wonderful smell that could easily remind you of sea and salt. It is a mild aroma that may not arouse suspicion.
Conversely, a fishy smell tends to be pungent. This is because as salmon decomposes, it also tends to produce an ammonia-like substance. This smell tends to be quite strong and, therefore, difficult to ignore.
Don’t confuse this fishy smell with the smoky aroma that is typical of some canned or smoked salmon variants. Simply put, the best way to tell a fishy smell from the ideal is to trust your nose and instincts. If the smell is too strong, you should probably avoid that salmon.
Always Trust Your Eyes When It Come’s To Check Salmon:
Sometimes visual signs of deterioration can take a long time to manifest. That is why you should not take it lightly when the fish looks acceptable, but the smell is bad. A fresh and safe salmon should be pink in color. There should be no signs of discoloration or dryness.
Watch out for signs like slimy residue or mold growth on the fish’s skin. Note milky white, sticky residue, especially near or around the gills. Check your eyes for signs of cloudiness. Fresh salmon should have clear eyes.
Another way to know for sure is to gently press down on the fish’s meat. If it is firm and recovers after pressing, it is still good for eating or cooking. However, if you leave a dimple or a mark where you pressed it, it’s a very good indication of deterioration.
Some salmon can be so bad that visual signs of deterioration eventually begin to show. However, these take a long time to show. So if your fish already has them, you may need to avoid it like a pest for its own sake.
One of the easiest ways to tell that your salmon is still fresh is to check its pink color. If this color is missing and replaced with something else, e.g., milky or anything else that seems suspicious, it’s about time to avoid that fish.
Similarly, you should stay away from any fish that indicates vivid signs of dryness or even discoloration.
It is also worth noting that any signs of milky white substances in fish, in addition to a viscous residue, may be indicative of spoilage. This viscous residue tends to adhere to the gills of fish. So if you see something like that, you may want to avoid salmon.
Still, there is another amazing method to determine if your salmon is gone or about to deteriorate, and that is by gently pressing it. Avoid anything that is wobbly for the press. Find something that is firm and sprouts when you press it.
Does your salmon leave a dimple after pressing it?
This is a sure sign that it has gone wrong. Avoid it like the plague.
You may not want to smell the fish or even touch it in any way, is there any other way to determine if it is safe to eat? Well, you just need to look into his eyes.
It turns out that the eyes are the natural window that you can use to find out if the fish is really fresh or not. Insist only on fish with bright, clear eyes. In fact, the eyes should protrude a bit.
As you do, keep in mind that some fish naturally come with smoky or cloudy eyes, although these are primarily from the walleye family. Therefore, salmon should always have clear, live eyes.
As such, black-eyed salmon is a big no-no. This is usually a clear indication that the fish has already exceeded its prime time, and it is a matter of time before it really gets bad.
Also, watch for fish with sunken eyes. Simply put, any eye that seems unnatural or has a strange color should always prompt you to do a closer inspection of the fish before cooking.
High-quality salmon should always shine. In fact, your cut should be clean and metallic from the first time you see it. If you discover clear signs of discoloration or opacity, you may need to investigate the fish further.
Please note that some fish may still be fresh but still have some discolored patches due to mishandling during transportation. Such fish can still be fresh and good to eat. So once again, the best way to judge by looking at the eyes and the color of the fish tissue to avoid doubts.
That said, a strange-looking body of fish should never, ever be taken lightly. More often than not, it tends to convey a deeper message regarding the freshness of fish.
Still unsure how to tell if salmon is bad? The gills can hardly confuse you. You just need to look under the gills, and if the color is different from the bright pink, you should avoid the fish.
In fact, in addition to color, salmon can always be said to be bad or about to deteriorate if it experiences resistance while looking under the gills.
The perfect color to wait under the gills is actually ruby red. If it’s not ruby red, then the least you need to settle for is pink. Usually, from there, the color tends to change to brown, gray, and eventually.
As a general rule, the redder the gills, the fresher the salmon.
Examine the edges of the fish :
Right now, you should have a rough idea of how to tell if salmon is about to deteriorate in 99 percent of cases. But if you are an enthusiastic buyer, adding an additional QA suggestion to your wish list would not be detrimental. Right?
So here it is. The next time you go to your fishmonger, take a look at the edges of the salmon. Can you notice any color change from brown to yellowish or something similar? So, you need to avoid that salmon.
The edges of the fish provide the first signs you can use to tell if the fish is not fresh. Of course, sometimes, the discoloration extends only to the skin, but the fact that it appears should be enough to warn you that the salmon is not fresh.
The queue check :
If you’re looking for a bright fall Chinook, there is an additional step you can take to gather a little more data before you take it home. Tell your fishmonger to make an incision near the tail of the fish.
If it’s a bright fall Chinook (a new one), this will reveal rich red meat. On the other hand, if it is a Steelok or Chinook tule, this will reveal pink meat.
Store Raw Salmon To Keep It Fresh
To prevent bacteria growth, you should store the salmon in the refrigerator within two hours from the time you purchased it. This will delay the growth of bacteria and prevent the rapid deterioration of the fish.
When stored in the refrigerator below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, raw salmon remains good for up to two days. You can also wrap raw salmon in plastic wrap or foil and wait up to nine months.
Know that salmon that was left at room temperature between 40 and 140 degrees grows bacteria in just one hour. It will remain in poor condition even if it is frozen or refrigerated afterward.
Cooked and Canned Salmon Storage:
Once opened, canned or smoked salmon can last up to six days in the refrigerator. Cooked salmon should not last more than three days. It is best to throw it away after this time, as it is probably not safe to eat.
However, when you’ve brought salmon home from the restaurant, you may have no idea how fresh the fish was before you cooked it. At the same time, you do not know how long it has been out or stored before being treated.
In this case, it is highly recommended to consume the food in two days. Allowing it to stay longer may not be a safe option.
Another option is to freeze the cooked salmon if there is too much leftover. Cooked salmon can last up to two months in the freezer. However, you will need to pack it well, as not doing so will have an effect on the taste of the delicious dish.
What you can do is cut the salmon scraps into smaller pieces before putting them in the freezer to make them easier to defrost. This way, you don’t have to take out all the rest if you don’t plan to eat it all at once.
First, wrap these smaller pieces in parchment paper. Then, place the wrapped fish in an airtight container or sealed freezer bag.
Finally, be sure to write down the date you started freezing the leftovers. This would come in handy since you will most likely forget it when you pack it.
Take a look at everything before you buy – stay tuned
Saying whether the fish is fresh or not can always be a simple and straightforward task. Therefore, it is always important to ensure that whenever you get a high-quality, fresh piece of fish, you store it accordingly.
Try to keep it in the refrigerator as much as possible within two hours of buying it. Good salmon can last up to 48 hours when stored at temperature levels of less than 40 degrees.
Do you want it to last longer? Just cook smoke, or can. That can only increase its storage life to 6 days or more (under refrigeration).
For longer storage, nine months, or more, you can place the salmon in aluminum foil or plastic with the fish frozen at 0 degrees. This would work quite well as long as the can is not open.
By the time the can is opened, this fish should cook in less than 48 hours.
Salmon that is kept at room temperature can quickly develop bacteria, and this can lead to premature deterioration. This applies even if you refrigerate the fish immediately after that.
So, once you confirm that your salmon is good, be sure to rush home and put it in the fridge. The sooner you do that, the better.
Final thoughts on Salmon
Although prepackaged fish can always come with details that indicate its shelf life, you better trust your instincts. Do not choose canned fish whose manufacturing data indicates that it was presented more than nine months ago.
Whenever you buy fresh fish in the market, be on the lookout for discoloration, among other symptoms that may show signs of bacterial infection. Most importantly, prevention is better than cure. Avoid any salmon you have doubts about.
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