Imagine living in the forest, sensing the ice-cold water on your skin and breathing the fresh air, eating raw food, and having enormous strength. Imagine being a grizzly bear.
When my boys were around five years old, we were having a battle about eating fish. They simply didn’t like it. Then, like every mother who has to think of the most creative ways to convince her children to eat healthy food, I came up with a grizzly story.
I told them about grizzly bears living in Alaska, eating salmon straight out of the river with skin and bones and everything. We talked about the incredible strength that bears get from eating fish. Of course, every little boy would like to be as strong as a bear.
Then, I introduced them to the canned salmon. The same salmon grizzlies eat packed in a can, including bones and skin. I told them that bears are willing to share their source of strength with them. They were thrilled! Soon, the canned salmon became one of their favorite dishes.
A few days ago, we decided to revive the memory of those days when they were grizzly/salmon obsessed. Now we have a salmon day at least once a week!
Best Canned Salmon
One time I’ve bought a suspicious salmon, and it turned out to be a fluke. We had to throw it away and order from the near grill house. Getting a fine ingredient turns out to be quite a nuisance these days, so I’m going to share some tips on how to get the best canned salmon and review the popular products on the market for you.
What is Canned Salmon?
Salmon is the general name used for describing several species of ray-finned fish in the Salmonidae family. These fish are born in freshwater, but during their life, they migrate to the ocean and then return to freshwater in order to reproduce.
The most commonly canned salmons are Pink and Sockeye salmon.
Pink salmon is the smallest one of the Pacific species. It lives in the range of the Pacific and Arctic coastal water and rivers. You can find it in waters from Sacramento River in northern California to the Mackenzie River in Canada and from the Lena River in Siberia to Honshu in Japan.
Sockeye salmon or the red salmon is two to four times bigger than the previous species. You can find it south as far as the Klamath River in California in the eastern Pacific and northern HokkaidЕЌ Island in Japan in the western Pacific. Also, it can be found as far north as Bathurst Inlet in the Canadian Arctic in the east and the Anadyr River in Siberia in the west.
However, the canned salmon that comes to our homes is usually caught in Alaskan waters.
When it comes to the canning procedure, fish needs to be dressed and washed first. After washing, salmon is cut into pieces and filled in previously sterilized cans with saline.
All cans undergo the double steaming process in a vacuum-sealed environment. This is done using pressurized steam for 90 minutes at 121.1°C temperature. High temperatures and long steaming are necessary if manufacturers are determined to kill any harmful bacteria.
After the heating is done, cans are put under the cold running water to be chilled, dried, and stored at temperatures between 10-15.5°C.
Before leaving the canneries, every can is examined to ensure the safety of the fish and the can integrity. That way, you get the highest quality fish right on your table.
If you want to be sure that you are buying high-quality salmon, you should always check the label. These are the main things to look for:
- You want your salmon to be wild, not farmed. Farmed salmon raises concerns about polychlorinated biphenyls, so you should stay away from it. If the label says “Atlantic,” fish is farmed. However, Alaskan pink and sockeye salmon are usually wild-caught.
- You want your cans to be the product of the USA. Some companies send out their fish in Asian countries, such as Thailand, for processing. It’s a long way for salmon to travel, and it’s quality after all that back and forth transport is questionable. If you see “Product of Thailand” or something similar on the label, don’t buy it.
- You would like your salmon to be rich in Omega-3s. Health experts recommend from 250-500 milligrams of these fats per day for healthy people and up to 1000 milligrams for individuals who suffer from heart diseases. Look for the label to know how to align your daily intake with the expert’s recommendations. Be aware that boneless and skinless salmon has about three times less Omega-3s than the regular one.
- The same goes for calcium. Bones and skin will get you more calcium; four ounces of canned salmon will supply you with about 20% of the needed daily value. On the other hand, if you buy premium salmon without bones, you are losing on this. So, generally, if you want higher quality, always go with the regular salmon and not the premium one.
Is Canned Salmon Good for your Health?
Canned salmon is much cheaper than fresh one, but it doesn’t mean it lacks healthy nutrients. It may even provide certain health benefits because it contains around 25 grams of proteins and a little above 2 grams of unsaturated fats.
But, let’s review what are the benefits which are supposed to give you promised incredible strength?
- Vitamin B12 – Canned salmon is rich in this vitamin; it covers more than you need on a daily basis. B12 promotes the production of red blood cells, and that way helps the transportation of oxygen through your body. It encourages healthy brain function and may have a protective role when it comes to heart diseases.
- Niacin – This is a B vitamin that supports skin and nerve health. It provides the normal function of your digestive system and may lower your cholesterol levels.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids – the fresh salmon produces twice as much of these acids, but the canned one still provides an impressive amount. Omega-3 fatty acids will potentially lower your triglyceride levels and support healthy neurological and retinal development. Also, canned salmon contains more of these acids in comparison to other canned fish (tuna and mackerel).
- Calcium – bones contain calcium, and canned salmon has soft bones that are safe and easy to eat. Calcium intake is essential for the formation of the bones, blood clotting, and muscle contraction.
- Low Mercury Levels – As mercury is a toxic substance, it’s good to know that salmon by itself contains less mercury than other fish. Additionally, canned salmon contains less of this substance than canned tuna or canned mackerel.
How to use Canned Salmon?
I’ve taught my boys to eat the canned salmon straight out of the can, but there are many ways you can use it for preparing other dishes. However, let’s explore the simplest ways first:
- You can eat it straight out of the can, as I said. The only thing you need to do is to open the can, squeeze in some lemon juice if you like, get your fork (or using chopsticks) and go for it.
- Another way is basically the same as the first version, just add some chopped celery and as much cocktail sauce as you like, and you are ready to go.
- If you are up for some Mediterranean flavors, get your canned salmon, drain a little of its juice, pour on some olive oil, and add chopped onions. This will get you a very rich flavor.
I just assumed you know how to open a can, with or without a can opener.
But, if that’s not the case, I’m sharing with you these two videos on can-opening. The can opener is just one option, but if it breaks, you lose it, or you just don’t have it on yourself, you can use a spoon too!
Currently Best Canned Salmon on the Market: Detailed Reviews 2021
If you plan on buying this product, prepare a little more money than usual. It is a wild Alaskan canned pink salmon, and it comes in a pack of twelve cans.
It is boneless and skinless, so it doesn’t have as much calcium in it!
Another good thing is that it doesn’t have a strong smell, which was very important to my boys, especially when they were younger. It’s not an easy job; making a little boy eat something that has a funny smell.
If you are expecting it to be rich in color, you’ll probably end up disappointed because it is more grayish than pink.
What I really appreciated is that the product is BPA-free. It is not marked on the can because the company adopted this policy less than a year ago, but if you contact them, they will gladly offer you an explanation.
Also, fish is sustainably caught, which means that the manufacturer cares about the species and its environment. This is valuable information for me because I sincerely care about animals.
Things we liked
- BPA free.
- It has a great taste, and it seems to be fresh.
- Fish is sustainably caught.
- It doesn’t have a strong smell.
- It can be stored for next day use.
Things we didn’t like
- A bit dry.
- It has a strange color.
- It has less Omega-3 oils than advertised.
You should know this is the most expensive product we’ve tried in this round. It comes from Wild Alaska with only three cans in one package.
In comparison to the previous one, this is the boneless and skinless Sockeye salmon, which means red, not pink, and it has a stronger taste.
It is very easy to prepare, and because of its unique flavor, you won’t be regretting if you eat it straight out of the can, without any other side dishes.
The good thing to know is that this product has a high amount of sodium. This means it will be pretty salty, and eating it in large quantities may lead to high blood pressure.
However, just remember to pour out the liquid from the can so you could get rid of all that sodium. If you don’t do this, probably the only thing you’ll taste is salt. Don’t expect much liquid but still drain it.
One of the cons is that the can it comes in requires a can opener. I did show you how to open a can if you don’t have a can opener on your hand, but it is much more practical when it has a pull-off top.
Things we liked
- Easy to prepare.
- It is red.
- It has a mild flavor.
- Less liquid in a can.
Things we didn’t like
- It requires a can opener.
- Really expensive.
- A lot of sodium, so it’s salty.
This product is special because it has larger cans in comparison to others and you’ll get twelve of them, which is good when you have a big family with a good appetite.
The huge advantage for me is that it has bones and skin! Which means more flavor and, of course, more healthy nutrients and, most importantly – calcium.
For your money, you’ll get tasteful, fresh, bright in color Sockeye salmon in a can. Of course, it is not as good as fresh salmon or smoked one, but it’s the closest thing you can get.
Paying the price will provide you with the kosher certified and sustainably harvested fish. If you are planning on making dinner for your friends and some of them are Jewish, you can safely use this product and not worry about offending anyone.
On the other hand, meat is too salty, which means pouring out the liquid before eating or cooking is probably a good idea.
The texture is a bit mushy, but it doesn’t affect the taste, and it’s a common case in cans that include skin and bones.
Things we liked
- It has larger portions.
- Sustainably harvested.
- Kosher certified.
- Fresh, bright in color.
- It has bones and skin.
Things we didn’t like
- It is a bit mushy.
- Very salty.
The Rubenstein canned salmon is made of the delicious and wonderfully red and orange colored “Blueback” Sockeye Salmon harvested sustainably in Alaska.
The pack includes 6 7.5 ounce cans, each of which is filled with a nutritious and mouthwatering salmon, ready to be consumed directly, added to a salad, to pasta, or on a piece of toast or a cracker.
The canned salmon comes with the soft and edible or easy to remove bones and the omega-3 rich skin of the fish.
Each serving has 310g of sodium added, which you can reduce if you strain the fish from the water it is conserved in.
The Rubensteins Salmon Red Sockeye canned fish is a delicacy that all salmon lovers will appreciate and is also a way to add healthy fish to your diet, even if you are not traditionally a fish or seafood fan.
It tastes fresh, delicious, and has a perfect texture, so it will become the ideal addition to any sandwich, salad, or pasta dish.
Things we liked:
- It is reasonably priced for the value and quality offered
- Made of premium quality, sustainable wild Alaskan Sockeye salmon
- Perfect for direct consumption out of the can
- It has the added spine bones and skin to add to the unmistakable fresh salmon flavor
Things we didn’t like:
- Some of the times, the cans came dented, so the overall packaging can be improved
Buying this canned Pink Salmon will save you money. It has the top deal in comparison to other products we’ve tried.
Also, it has the biggest portions; a few people can eat from one can. If you are buying only for yourself, this may be too big, but you can always store it in the fridge for later use.
These cans contain bones and skin, which is a plus, but they also contain a lot of water. Which means you may get less meat than you’ve expected.
If you only want to eat the salmon caught in the wild and not one from the farm, you should do a further check on this one. They haven’t written anywhere explicitly if it’s a wild or farmed fish.
Also, all of their salmon comes from the Pacific Ocean, but not all of it is canned and packed in the USA. Part of the canning and packing is done in Thailand, and the salmon done there has a different taste and probably poorer quality. So, I don’t recommend buying this online if you can’t check the label first.
Things we liked
- Biggest portions.
- Cheapest option.
- It has bones and skin.
- Cans open easily.
Things we didn’t like
- You may end up with a product made in Thailand.
- A lot of water inside of cans.
The Perfect Canned Salmon By My Choice
From my point of view, the choice is very obvious. Do you see it too?
The winner is the Rubinsteins Salmon Red Sockeye!
The most important factor was that it is not boneless and skinless. We were recreating childhood dinner for my sons, so the whole grizzly experience was an absolute necessity.
Other things that played a great role in my decision were price and sustainable harvesting.
Also, the Sockeye salmon has better quality and stronger taste than the Pink salmon, no matter the company that produces it.
If my choice wasn’t that obvious to you and if you are not looking for grizzly spirit or you simply find skin and bones repelling, I recommend you to try out any other option I’ve offered you.
They all have a pretty good taste, and if you haven’t tried canned salmon by now, their deliciousness may surprise you!