Cooking with Canned Salmon

Canned salmon has a lot going for it! Wild-caught Alaskan Salmon is…

  • high in protein, omega-3 fats, and calcium
  • low in mercury
  • sustainably harvested (gets a “good” rating from Seafood Watch)
  • shelf-stable and lasts 4+ years unopened
  • shipped sustainably (unrefrigerated cargo containers on trains/ships)
  • currently half the price of grass-fed ground beef per pound
  • tasty hot or cold (you can eat it like canned tuna)

It does have one drawback, however: it’s canned with the bones and skin (unless you get boneless/skinless, which is far more expensive, and shipped first to China to be deboned by people working in questionable work conditions, and then packaged and shipped back). So I wanted to share some tips that got me past the initial squick factor and into loving this fish.

First of all, know that after going through the canning process, the bones are very soft and totally edible. The long, thin bones are so fragile at that point that you don’t even notice them. The vertebrae are larger and more noticeable. The skin is very fragile and disintegrates when you stir it in. So here are some ways of coping with them all.

  • Expend a little effort and take out the biggest bones and the skin. If you empty the can onto a plate (drain the liquid off first), you should be able to get the majority of the skin and large bones out in a couple minutes.
  • Stir the salmon thoroughly. If you’re making salmon burgers, you’ll do this in the course of cooking, anyway.
  • Mix it with ingredients that have some “bite” to them, like diced carrots and onions. If you bite into something a little firm, it’s probably just a carrot, right?

Ready to cook with canned salmon? Here are some recipe ideas:

Published by Emily

I'm an instructional designer and gardener based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Free moments find me in my garden or the forest, hugging trees and all that jazz.

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