Salmon is a delicious fish that’s full of vitamin D, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, and a ton of other nutrients. It’s also full of bacteria and parasites.
So we should wash our salmon to rid it of all the nastiness, right? Not according to the USDA. The government organization in charge of food safety says no. Raw salmon and all other seafood should NOT be washed or rinsed before being cooked.
The reason being, that harmful bacteria can be spread or splashed onto other items, surfaces, and food. Then there’s the fact that washing the outside will do nothing about the bacteria lurking internally. Proper cooking of the salmon will destroy the bacteria.
However, some folks are convinced that fish needs to be washed. If you’re one of them, and just won’t sleep until your salmon is washed, do it as safely as possible.
Place the fish in a container in an empty sink. Turn the cold water on a low flow (to avoid splashing) and let the salmon soak for a minute.
How Do You Remove Bacteria From Salmon?
Raw salmon (any fish for that matter) can contain parasites and bacteria. Some of these develop naturally within the fish’s environment.
Others can come from anywhere, from the fishing boat and packing plant to the supermarket.
The best way to kill pathogens is to fully cook the salmon. It should have an internal temperature of 145 degrees. This can be checked with a simple meat thermometer.
What Can Happen If You Eat Raw Or Undercooked Salmon?
Eating raw or undercooked salmon can ruin your week. Salmon can contain tapeworms. If your fish is not cooked through, these worms can take up residence in the digestive system.
Tapeworms will cause extreme intestinal distress and can even cause malnutrition. Undercooked salmon can also cause bacterial infections and viruses including:
Salmon can also be contaminated by things in the environment, like pesticides and heavy metals.
Undercooked salmon is particularly dangerous if you:
- are pregnant
- undergoing chemotherapy
- have diabetes
- are immunocompromised
Do All Salmon Have Worms?
We hate to break it to you, but yes, over 90% of salmon (and other fish too) do indeed have worms. Salmon are more seemingly wormy because they can be seen more easily due to the pink hue.
Don’t panic though, they are a perfectly normal part of the fish. Just as normal as finding a bug on a freshly picked piece of fruit. The worms are totally harmless once the salmon is cooked.
How Is It Safe To Eat Sushi?
You may be confused by being told not to eat undercooked or raw salmon, when people eat sushi all the time.
Well, there are guidelines in place for restaurants and places that sell raw fish as sushi.
The salmon must be frozen at at least -4 degrees for 7 days. This will kill all parasites and bacteria.
This is why it’s vital to research your sushi restaurants. Make sure they are clean, pass all inspections, and follow the guidelines.
What Are The White Stringy Things On My Salmon?
The white “strings” that are often attached to salmon are called albumin. It’s a protein that is fluid before cooking.
Once put on the fire, it becomes congealed or solid. It’s perfectly harmless. In fact, it’s loaded with nutrients.
If you feel it may throw off a pretty presentation of your fish, you can lower the heat or find alternative cooking methods. It seems the harsher the heat, the more albumin that oozes from the salmon.
How Do You Know If Salmon Has Gone Bad?
Bad fish is like bad chicken, it usually needs no introduction. As soon as you open the package you’ll be met with an odor that will let you know it has to go.
Ironically, if your fish smells “fishy”, it’s no good. Additionally, if it’s musty or smells like ammonia, it’s no good. Fish should have a sweet, brine aroma, like the water from which it comes.
If you have trouble with your olfactory senses, other tell-tale signs of bad salmon are:
- gray or blue in color
- flesh is squishy, separated, or falling apart
How Long Will Salmon Last In The Refrigerator/Freezer?
Raw salmon will last 1-2 days in the fridge after purchase. Cooked salmon will last about 3-4 days.
If you want to keep your cooked salmon longer, you can place it in the freezer. Here, it will last about 2-3 months. Raw salmon may also be frozen for up to 8 months. However, it’s suggested you use it within the first 3-4 for the best taste.
If you are thawing out frozen salmon in the refrigerator, it should be cooked within 2 days.
Can I Eat Salmon Skin?
Yes, salmon skin is edible and generally safe to eat. It also has the same vitamins and minerals that the meat does. So it can provide you with extra nutrients.
Some people find the skin delicious, especially when crispy. Others are repulsed by the scaly appearance. It’s really just a matter of personal taste.
However, it’s always good to buy your salmon from reputable fish sellers and know where it comes from. Some water is contaminated with chemicals like mercury and lead. These chemicals can build up in the fish and over time they tend to concentrate in the skin.
So, while the skin itself is fine, the water may not be.