Salmon is undoubtedly one of the most popular and most delicious options for a hearty seafood meal. Many people picture salmon fillets and think of the pink, moist meat, but if you put a plate of salmon in front of them with the skin intact, their enthusiasm would come to a screeching halt.
“Can you eat salmon skin?” most would ask. Many people believe it’s toxic or unsafe to eat this part of the fish. However, there are numerous benefits to enjoying the skin, so here are some answers to some of the most burning questions regarding this controversial topic.
Do People Eat Salmon Skin?
Great question! If you are wondering if people eat salmon skin, you are not alone. The short answer is, yes, salmon skin is healthy and safe to eat.
Is It Edible?
It is definitely edible and absolutely nutritious! Packed with omega 3 fatty acids and numerous vitamins and minerals, it has amazing health benefits. Some healthcare professionals even advise using salmon, specifically with its skin still on, as a replacement for red meat.
What Does It Taste Like?
Most people shy away from fish skin because they were taught from an early age to remove it before consumption. But the skin adds a delicious and crispy dimension to an otherwise ordinary salmon fillet. Salmon skin has a high fat concentration, which means it adds a punch of flavor if left on during the cooking process.
Additionally, the skin helps fish contain its moisture, solving an age-old problem of dryness that many chefs struggle with while cooking salmon.
Is It Safe to Eat?
The main safety concern is whether it has been contaminated with pesticides or pathogens from its source water. Studies have shown that these contaminants specifically accumulate in the skin and fat, so extra care is needed to ensure quality if you are considering eating the skin.
If possible, wild-caught salmon is preferable to farmed salmon. If you are eating salmon in moderate amounts, which is generally considered to be three times a week or less, there is very little risk of any adverse side effects from skin consumption.
However, most experts agree that people who are more sensitive to potential contaminants–mainly pregnant or nursing women–should be wary of salmon and other seafood. You may be asking, “What if I caught the fish myself?”
First of all, congratulations on your achievement. Secondly, the most important consideration is still the source of your salmon. Are there known pollutants or pesticides? If not, your salmon is likely safe.
Can You Eat It Raw?
While you can eat both salmon and salmon skin raw, there are very specific guidelines for preparing the fish correctly. One of the most common ways to ensure safety is through a process called blast-freezing, or shock-freezing. This involves rapidly lowering the temperature in order to kill off harmful pathogens and parasites.
If you catch your own salmon and plan to eat it raw, it is recommended to blast-freeze before consumption. If you are buying store-bought salmon, make sure the packaging indicates that it has been blast-frozen.
Again, for people who are in higher-risk categories, such as pregnant women or immuno compromised individuals, it is better to be on the safe side and avoid salmon skin altogether. But most people with a robust immune system are at no risk from correctly handled salmon skin.
Salmon skin is a nutritious, delicious addition to any meal. Anyone considering adding it to their diet needs to be intentional and careful about the source of the fish.
If eating raw, make sure you follow the guidelines for preparation and storage. But otherwise, enjoy the health benefits, taste, and new experience of enjoying your next meal with the juicy, flavorful salmon skin included!