Does Canned Salmon Always Come Cooked?

Canned salmon in a bowl
Canned salmon in a bowl - A-lesa/Getty Images

Tinned fish has become ultra trendy in recent years, which is good news even for less glamorous options like supermarket canned salmon. Although it might not come in aesthetic packaging — nor will it look as gorgeous as fresh filets — canned salmon does have its perks. For starters, it's just as nutritious and delicious as the catch of the day. It's also cheaper, convenient, and more accessible thanks to its lengthier shelf life. Sold as a ready-to-eat product, you might assume that all canned salmon is cooked, but is that always the case?

The short answer is yes; regardless of the brand, canned salmon is completely cooked. The reason why is due to how the fish is processed. Essentially, salmon typically arrives at a cannery in a fresh or frozen state. After being prepped, it's placed into cans that are hermetically sealed. These tins of raw salmon are then thermally processed under pressure to ensure safe and sterile preservation. As a result of being exposed to the extremely high temperatures reached during the canning process, the pieces of salmon are able to fully cook, which is what allows the fish to be eaten right out of the can.

Since canned salmon doesn't require further processing, it can easily be added to leafy salads and creamy dips as is. But, that doesn't mean it should only be reserved for no-cook recipes, either. In fact, tinned salmon fares well in baked casseroles, stuffed pastas, or fried croquettes. The key, however, is working with a quality can.

Read more: 16 Worst Canned Foods You Can Buy

Not All Canned Salmon Is Created Equal

Canned salmon
Canned salmon - OlegD/Shutterstock

It's true that all tinned salmon will be processed in a similar way. However, they can vary vastly in terms of taste, texture, and appearance. From pink to sockeye and chinook to chum, each variety of salmon offers its own unique flavors and level of intensity. Additionally, some may be packed in water, others in oil. Certain cans might even be smoked or laden with seasonings. Not to mention that tinned salmon may or may not include skin and bones.

With so many canned salmon brands to choose from, it can be especially challenging to know which tin is best. That said, there are a few factors to consider when shopping for cans. For instance, price can play a huge role in how you make your decision, much like preference. But, it's also important to look for certifications or labels — namely: Wild, pole, or troll-caught — that indicate that the salmon has been responsibly sourced.

Despite that there are many high-quality cans to choose from, sometimes fully cooked salmon isn't ideal in recipes where fish is meant to be served whole rather than chunked. In this case, pay your local fishmonger a visit for raw, unadulterated filets. Better yet, stop by your nearest wholesale retailer for a cost-effective haul. Of course, if visual appeal isn't at risk, know that fully cooked, canned salmon can be an equally tasty option.

Read the original article on Tasting Table