The term superfood gets thrown around with impunity sometimes, but salmon is one food that deserves the super label. Wild salmon specifically, most of which (a whopping 90 percent) comes from Alaska.
Salmon is one of the best sources of protein around because it’s a natural source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. In addition to being good for the heart, omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent or reduce inflammation in the body, which may be important not just for preventing heart disease, but also type 2 diabetes, cancer and other diseases that may have chronic inflammation as a root cause. Wild Alaska salmon contains higher levels of omega-3s than most other types of seafood.
A Record-Breaking Season
Alaska’s wild salmon summer harvest season started May 14, and apparently this is a banner year for the omega-3-rich fish. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game predicts that 2015 will be the state’s second-largest salmon harvest ever—to the tune of one billion pounds. That’s a 40 percent increase over the 2014 season.
The rich, robustly flavored sockeye and king salmon come first, followed quickly by the milder and more delicate pink, keta, and coho salmon. The entire season continues through October.
Shopping for Salmon
Quality salmon can sometimes be a bit pricey, so when it goes on sale at Whole Foods, we snap it up (if you live near a Whole Foods, make sure you get their emails about weekend sales!). Costco is another place we like to get high-quality seafood at a good price. If you are on a tight budget, salmon prices tend to go down as the season progresses.
As much as we love fresh salmon, frozen and canned salmon are a great way to extend the season—especially this year! We’ve successfully bought large pieces of fish, cut them into two-person servings, wrapped them well and frozen them for later. If that feels like too much effort, then you’ll be glad to know that all species of Alaska salmon are available frozen year-round. Flash-freezing techniques preserve salmon’s quality and nutrition while sealing in flavor. Canned salmon is one of my essential pantry staples, perfect for making salmon salad, salmon cakes or simply tossing on a salad.
I talk about eating more fish, salmon in particular, with my patients all the time, and I often hear, “Well, I like salmon, but I don’t know how to cook it.” If you’re nodding your head and thinking, “Me, too,” then never fear:
- The Alaska Seafood website has some fabulous salmon recipes, which include detailed instructions on how to cook salmon. (The sockeye salmon with Northwest spiced coffee rub looks especially interesting.)
- If you feel like you need more help learning to cook salmon (and other Alaska seafood), they have a page ALL about cooking techniques…including videos!
- There’s even a special section on recipes and cooking techniques using frozen salmon that will help you get dinner on the table super quick.