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Ways to Tell If Salmon Is Bad?

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There is no doubt salmon is one of the tastiest fish in the world. Salmon is the star ingredient of many world-famous dishes. The taste and freshness of salmon cannot be replaced by any other fish. Because of its taste and flavor, salmon has become one of the bestsellers around the world.

Not only the taste but the nutritional value of salmon is what makes it the king of seafood. The vitamins and minerals found in salmon are the reason many nutritionists want us to incorporate salmon into our diet. 

But this taste and freshness do not last long and salmon has to be monitored to make sure it’s still good for eating. Eating spoiled food, especially seafood. can make you very sick. Because of this, it is important to check the freshness of fish before eating.

There are different indicators for raw, cooked, cured, and canned salmon.

It is important to know these indicators and check whether the salmon we are consuming is fit for eating or not. Here we are going to tell you a few tips and tricks to determine if salmon is fit for eating or not.

1. Raw Salmon

Fresh raw salmon with leaves on chopping board

Under normal conditions, raw salmon must be rosy and pink. It should also have visible fine white lines. These white lines are fat which is extremely good for human health. If the fish has a dull and grey appearance it shows that salmon has turned bad.

If the salmon has white eyes with a dark pupil it is completely fresh. A fish having sunken or filmy eyes shows it is not fresh at all. Having white and sticky gills is also an indication of bad salmon. Having any dark spots on the skin is also a sign of bad salmon.

You can also judge the freshness of salmon by smelling it. If it smells like fish with a salty and fishy scent, the salmon is perfectly fine.

But as the salmon goes bad, different bacteria, molds, and parasites start developing which will give a bad odor. If your salmon smells like ammonia it is not fit to eat.

When pressed with fingers, if the fish is slimy and sticky it should not be eaten at all. You should also track time to know when the salmon will go bad.

Raw salmon has a shelf life of around 2 hours outside of the refrigerator. When refrigerated it can be eaten for 1-2 days. And frozen raw salmon can stay good for 3 months.

2. Cooked Salmon

Grilled salmon with vegetables on pan

Just like raw salmon, there are some rules to check if the leftover cooked salmon is fine to eat or not.

First of all, trust your sense of smell. If you smell a foul or sour odor that means the fish has rotted. A freshly cooked salmon should smell appetizing.

But if it smells sour or foul then this is a clear indication that the cooked salmon is ready to be tossed in the trash. Next, you have to check the texture of the cooked salmon. Having a slimy texture is a clear foul indication. Salmon having a thick and flaky texture is fit for eating.

But the cooked salmon that has lost its firm texture and turned slimy needs to be thrown away immediately. If you still can’t judge from the smell or taste of the salmon then taste a small piece. If it tastes sour and foul then you know what to do with it—throw it in the trash.

Even when cooked, salmon does not have a very long shelf life.

You should never leave cooked salmon at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

After sitting for two hours, bacteria start growing, which will quickly turn the cooked salmon unfit for eating.

Cooked salmon can be refrigerated for 3-4 days but still needs to be checked before eating. You can even freeze cooked salmon but only for 3-4 days.

3. Cured Salmon

Salmon Gravlax cured with dill and pink salt on rustic plate

Starting from the visual clues: if the cured salmon is moldy, do not consume it. If you find discoloration or the fish is turning greenish then it should not be consumed. Such indications usually appear after being opened and stored for more than 8-10 days.

The next step is to smell and check the fish. Cured salmon should smell like cured salmon. But if it smells sour it should be thrown away immediately. Sight and smell are the basic steps to check if salmon is fit for eating or not.

But if you are still confused, you may taste a little bite. And if it does not taste like cured salmon at all then you should definitely throw it away.

When packaged, cured salmon can do well for 2-3 weeks. Always check the packaging date and follow it strictly. Once open, cured salmon can only last for around 3-5 days.

After the packaging is opened do not take to risk of storing it outside but tend to keep it refrigerated. Another good option is freezing cured salmon, which will last for 2-3 months easily.

4. Canned Salmon

open canned salmon on black background

The first indicators you can check are the visual ones. If you find any mold or fungal growth on your canned salmon then it needs to be tossed in the trash.

You also need to check the color of canned salmon. Fresh canned salmon should be pinkish. If you observe any discoloration, you must avoid eating it.

Next, you should feel the texture of canned salmon. If it feels slimy or gooey it must be thrown out immediately. Never try to wash rotten canned salmon thinking you might get rid of the bacteria.

This practice will only lead to cross-contamination. Smelling the fish can also be a way of checking canned salmon. Be careful because sniffing bacteria-laden fish can cause the bacteria to enter your body through inhalation.

Unopened canned salmon has a very long storage life. It can last more than a year if stored in a cool and dry place. While opened canned salmon can only last for 1-2 hours. You may freeze opened canned salmon in a plastic bag which can last up to 9-10 months.