How to Determine Salmon Freshness

August 21, 2019

How to Determine Salmon Freshness


Salmon is, by far, North America’s most popular seafood. This great-tasting, fatty fish is chockful of nutrients and can reduce risk factors for several diseases. We trust that you’re familiar with the sight of the pretty pink fish that occasionally sits atop your dinner plate; but here’s the real question: how can you tell if the salmon you’ve bought is fresh?

Recipe By Seafood Crate

Well, you don’t have to be a seafood expert – it all begins with 3 of your primary senses – sight, smell, and touch.


Do not even think about getting that dreary-looking slab of salmon! The first indicator of fresh salmon is its colour: it should always be a lovely, bright pinkish-orange hue. While colours can vary slightly according to salmon species, the key is the brightness of the meat. If your salmon looks dull, pale or discolored, it is not fresh at all and could be spoiled.

But colour can be misleading as some grocery store salmon is treated with tasteless smoke which chemically makes it look fresh even if it’s been sitting on the shelf for days.

Now look a little closer. The white lines on fresh salmon are another sign of freshness. If you need to squint before you can make them out, put the salmon back – it’s no longer fresh.

If you’re purchasing a whole salmon, you have one other way to check for freshness – its eyes. It should have bright, clear eyes that feature a dark pupil. The eyes should also be bulging slightly; steer clear of cloudy and sunken eyes.


Take a good whiff of the salmon. What do you smell? Fresh salmon should have nothing more than a subtle “fishy” scent. If the smell of the meat assaults your nose, we’re willing to bet that it will do the same to your stomach. Be sure to throw out any salmon that doesn’t smell right. Scents that are sour or ammonia-like are a definite no-no.


If the salmon has passed the sight and smell tests, you can go ahead and touch it. Give the salmon a quick rub with your fingers. Don’t be shy… it won’t hurt you!

How does it feel? If the fish has a slimy, milky-white residue on the outside, it’s likely NOT fresh. Note that a good quality cut of salmon will be oily to the touch. This is the Omega 3 fatty acids which are a big reason for salmon’s great taste of nutritional content.

Next give the meat a quick prod to check for consistency. Fresh salmon should always be firm and spring back when pressed. If it feels loose and falls apart easily, it has probably gone bad. 


And there you have it! How to determine salmon freshness is not difficult but getting it fresh can be. Don’t assume that your salmon is fresh, just because you bought it from the grocery store. Think about it: who knows how long that fish has been sitting on the store shelf?

Take the guess work out of the equation! You never have to fret over the freshness of your seafood if you order from Seafood Crate. Our fresh seafood delivery service ensures you’re getting honestly fresh salmon direct from the fishermen – no shelf display, no unnecessary processing, and no wasted time.

Let the seafood experts over at Seafood Crate make a difference in your kitchen.  If convenient seafood delivery and “shore to door” freshness sounds amazing, we’re just one click away! Click here to get started.

Have you tried this recipe or enjoyed our products? Let us know by leaving a review! If you have any questions, please contact us.

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I absolutely love how informative your website is, I keep landing here while searching hard topics that a lot of fishmongers hop over. Thank you for covering hard topics like "tasteless smoke" and glazing. People deserve to be informed about the food they are consuming. Much appreciated

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