If you had to pick up a precooked, trimmed and ready-to-serve protein at the supermarket, you’d expect to pay a premium for the convenience. After all, someone else is doing the prep work, so you should be paying more.
However, it’s nice to know that the opposite can also be true. With canned salmon you get wholesome, almost instant protein but at half the cost of a fresh salmon steak.
If you still believe that canned salmon is the cheap alternative to fresh, it’s time to change your thinking. “Canned salmon has a considerably higher concentration of calcium than fresh salmon (about 10 to 20 times higher),” says Sandra Harrison, MSA, RD, the Clinical Nutrition Manager at Lakeland Regional Medical Center. “This is because salmon is canned with its calcium-rich bones; the canning process softens them so they are easily ingested with the meat of the fish.”
In addition to the calcium and protein, salmon provides a healthy amount of omega 3 fatty acids. “Evidence has shown us that consumption of about 8 oz. per week of a variety of seafood, which would provide an average consumption of 250mg/day of omega 3 fatty acids, is associated with helping to reduce cardiac deaths among individuals with and without pre-existing cardiovascular disease,” Harrison says.
“People sometimes mistakenly assume that fresh salmon retains more nutrients because it has been less processed than canned,” she adds. “However, depending on the method used to cook fresh salmon, canned salmon can potentially have more omega 3 fatty acids. This is because the omega-3s are stored in the moist areas of the meat, and fully cooking fresh salmon can dry it out, eliminating these nutrients.”
On the canned fish aisle, you’ll find salmon in cans or foil packets you can slip into a lunch bag. You can choose from plain salmon or versions flavored with lemon or other seasonings.
“Canned and fresh salmon are typically used for different types of recipes,” Harrison says. “Fresh salmon is often cooked as an entrée, used raw in sushi or smoked and served with bagels and cream cheese. Canned salmon is often blended with other ingredients to make dips or used in salad sandwiches.”
Other options include combining canned salmon with cold pasta. Add chopped raw vegetables and vinaigrette dressing, and you have a filling entrée salad.
Chowder tastes just as delicious when you use canned salmon instead of fresh. So, keep your fish facts straight this summer and save some money while making nutrient-rich canned salmon meals.
by JIM FROST
4 small red-skinned potatoes, cut into quarters (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon butter
1 celery rib, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 large shallot, chopped
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
1 (14.5-ounce) can sockeye salmon, drained and flaked
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon minced fresh dill weed
Place the potatoes in a small pot with lightly salted water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook for 10 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Drain and set aside.
Melt butter in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Add celery and shallot and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, or until celery is tender. Stir in flour. Stir constantly until butter absorbs flour. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly. Stir in frozen vegetables (don’t bother defrosting), salmon, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Add dill weed. Cook over low-medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, or until vegetables are hot and milk is slightly thickened. Do not boil. Makes 4 servings.
story by BEV BENNETT