Salmon as food

Salmon is a common food fish classified as an oily fish[1] with a rich content of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.[2] In Norway a major producer of farmed and wild salmon farmed and wild salmon differ only slightly in terms of food quality and safety, with farmed salmon having lower content of environmental contaminants, and wild salmon having higher content of omega-3 fatty acids.[2]

Salmon sashimi


Raw wild Atlantic salmon
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy142 kcal (590 kJ)
6.34 g
Saturated1.0 g
Monounsaturated2.1 g
Polyunsaturated2.5 g
2018 mg
172 mg
19.84 g
Vitamin A40 IU
Thiamine (B1)
0.226 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.380 mg
Niacin (B3)
7.860 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
1.164 mg
Vitamin B6
0.818 mg
Folate (B9)
25 μg
Vitamin B12
3.2 μg
12 mg
0.3 mg
0.80 mg
29 mg
200 mg
490 mg
36.5 μg
44 mg
0.64 mg
Other constituentsQuantity
Water68.50 g

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA FoodData Central
Still Life with Salmon, 1866-1869, by Édouard Manet, shows a white-fleshed salmon
Salmon flesh is generally orange to red, although there are some examples of white-fleshed wild salmon. The natural color of salmon results from carotenoid pigments, largely astaxanthin and canthaxanthin in the flesh.[3] Wild salmon get these carotenoids from eating krill and other tiny shellfish. The concentration of carotenoids (mainly canthaxanthin and astaxanthin) exceeds 8 mg/kg of flesh, and all fish producers try to reach a level that represents a value of 16 on the "Roche Colour Card", a colour card used to show how pink the fish will appear at specific doses. This scale is specific for measuring the pink colour due to astaxanthin and is not for the orange hue obtained with canthaxanthin. The development of processing and storage operations, which can be detrimental on canthaxanthin flesh concentration, has led to an increased quantity of pigments added to the diet to compensate for the degrading effects of the processing. In wild fish, carotenoid levels of up to 25 mg are present, but levels of canthaxanthin are, in contrast, minor.[3]


Raw wild salmon is 70% water, 20% protein, 6% fat, and contains no carbohydrates (table). In a 100 gram reference amount, raw salmon supplies 142 calories, and is a rich source (20% or more of the Daily Value, DV) of several B vitamins, especially vitamin B12 at 133% DV, selenium (52% DV), and phosphorus (29% DV). Dietary minerals in moderate content are copper (15% DV) and potassium (10% DV).


PCBs, metformin, and mercury are some of the pollutants found in wild salmon,[4] caught close to wastewater treatment plants of major metropolitan areas in the United States’ Pacific Northwest. [5]

Impact on wild populations

Some environmental groups have advocated favoring certain salmon catches over others.[6]


Salmon steak (left) and fillets (right) in a market

Most Atlantic salmon available on the world market are farmed, whereas the majority of Pacific salmon are wild-caught.

Canned salmon in the U.S. is usually wild from the Pacific Ocean, though some farmed salmon is available in cans. Smoked salmon is another preparation method, and can either be hot- or cold-smoked. Lox can refer either to cold-smoked salmon or to salmon cured in a brine solution (also called gravlax). Traditional canned salmon includes some skin (which is harmless) and bone (which adds calcium). Skinless and boneless canned salmon is also available.

Raw salmon flesh may contain Anisakis nematodes, marine parasites that cause anisakiasis. Before the availability of refrigeration, Japan did not consume raw salmon. Salmon and salmon roe have only recently come into use in making sashimi (raw fish) and sushi, with the introduction of parasite-free Norwegian salmon in the late 1980s.[7]

Ordinary types of cooked salmon contain 500–1,500 mg DHA and 300–1,000 mg EPA (two similar species of fatty acids) per 100 grams[8]


Name Image Origin Description
Gravlax Nordic Raw salmon cured in salt, sugar, and dill. Usually served as an appetiser, sliced thinly and accompanied by hovmästarsås (also known as gravlaxsås), a dill and mustard sauce, either on bread of some kind, or with boiled potatoes.
Lohikeitto Nordic A creamy salmon soup consisting of salmon fillets, boiled potatoes and leeks,[9][10] served hot with some dill.
Lomi salmon Polynesian A side dish consisting of fresh tomato and salmon salad. It was introduced to Hawaiians by early western sailors.[11] It is typically prepared by mixing raw salted, diced salmon with tomatoes, sweet gentle Maui onions (or sometimes green onion), and occasionally flakes of hot red chili pepper, or crushed ice. It is always served cold. Other variations include salmon, diced tomato, diced cucumber, and chopped sweet onion.
Lox European (Ashkenazi) Jewish A fillet that has been cured. In its most popular form, it is thinly slicedless than 5 millimetres (0.2 in) in thicknessand, typically (in North America), served on a bagel, often with cream cheese, onion, tomato, cucumber and capers. Lox in small pieces is also often added and cooked into scrambled eggs, sometimes with chopped onion.
Rui-be Japan Salmon that is frozen outdoors, sliced like sashimi, and served with soy sauce and water peppers.[12]
Salmon burger A type of fishcake made mostly from salmon in the style of a hamburger. It is challenging to make and cook as the salmon requires a binder to make it stick together and is easy to overcook which makes it too dry.[13] Salmon burgers are especially common in Alaska where they are routinely offered as an alternative to beef hamburgers.[14]
Salmon tartare Appetiser prepared with fresh raw salmon and seasonings, commonly spread on a cracker or artisan style bread
Smoked salmon A preparation of salmon, typically a fillet that has been cured and then hot or cold smoked. Due to its moderately high price, smoked salmon is considered a delicacy. Although the term lox is sometimes applied to smoked salmon, they are different products.[15]
Salmon sashimi Japan Sliced raw salmon served with garnishes. Usually eaten by dipping in soy sauce and wasabi.
Salmon sushi Norway[16] Sliced raw salmon rolled with rice and sometimes nori (seaweed) as makizushi or placed on top of rice as nigiri sushi, served with garnishes. Usually eaten by dipping in soy sauce and wasabi.
Kippered salmon Hupa, Karuk, Yurok Salmon smoked using fruitwood until cooked on the outside but raw on the inside, then canned and pressure cooked. Can be seasoned with red pepper and other seasonings.
          Further images                                            

See also


  1. "What's an oily fish?". Food Standards Agency. 24 June 2004. Archived from the original on 18 December 2010.
  2. Elise Kjørstad (English translation by Ingrid P. Nuse) (22 December 2017). "How healthy is farmed salmon?". Retrieved 19 November 2022.
  3. "Opinion of the Scientific Committee on Animal Nutrition on the use of canthaxanthin in feedingstuffs for salmon and trout, laying hens, and other poultry" (PDF). European Commission — Health & Consumer Protection Directorate. pp. 6–7. Retrieved 19 November 2022.
  4. Anne-Katrine Lundebye (24 March 2017). "More environmental pollutants in wild salmon than in farmed salmon". Institute of Marine Research, Norway. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  5. Meador, James P.; Yeh, Andrew; Young, Graham; Gallagher, Evan P. (2016). "Contaminants of emerging concern in a large temperate estuary". Environmental Pollution. 213: 254–267. doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2016.01.088. ISSN 0269-7491. PMC 5509463. PMID 26907702.
  6. Click on View details for wild impacts "Salmon: All Recommendations for Salmon". Seafood Watch, Monterey Bay Aquarium, California. 2019. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  7. Jiang, Jess (18 September 2015). "How The Desperate Norwegian Salmon Industry Created A Sushi Staple". National Public Radio. Archived from the original on 24 April 2019. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  8. "Addendum A: EPA and DHA Content of Fish Species". Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. USDA. Archived from the original on 8 April 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  9. Ojakangas, Beatrice A (1992). Scandinavian feasts: celebrating traditions throughout the year. U. of Minnesota Press. p. 220.
  10. Davidson, Alan. North Atlantic Seafood: A Comprehensive Guide with Recipes. Ten Speed Press. p. 360.
  11. "Polynesian Cultural Center: Hawaiian Luau Food". Archived from the original on 16 December 2009. Retrieved 19 July 2009.
  12. Chris Rowthorn (1 October 2009). Japan. Lonely Planet. pp. 582–. ISBN 978-1-74179-042-9. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  13. Mark Bittman (10 June 1998). "The Minimalist; Burger With No Need of Ketchup". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 11 May 2009.
  14. Jim DuFresne; Greg Benchwick; Catherine Bodry (2009), Alaska, ISBN 978-1-74104-762-2
  15. Kinetz, Erika (22 September 2002). "So Pink, So New York". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 4 October 2010. Retrieved 9 December 2007.
  16. "Norway's Introduction of Salmon Sushi to Japan". Archived from the original on 30 March 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2017.

Further reading

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