Learn How to Tell If Your Salmon Is Bad and Should Be Thrown Out

Learn How to Tell If Your Salmon Is Bad and Should Be Thrown Out

Salmon is one of the most delicious and healthiest fish in the market. Many people love to eat it raw, but they are also popular canned or cooked. However, do you know how to tell if salmon is bad? How can you distinguish the fishy smell from the fish smell?

These are important questions to ask especially if you are planning to have raw salmon Japanese style. Surely, you want to get the health benefits from this fish, but not the bacteria that start to grow once it is left out of the freezer or fridge for a certain amount of time.

Here are ways to tell.

Is it Fish or Fishy?

When it comes to food spoilage, the scent is often the first thing we check. However, this approach is tricky when it comes to fish. How can you tell if it’s the natural scent of the fish or if it is actually fishy?

Edible and safe salmon smells fresh. They almost remind you of the sea and salt because of its mild and delicate scent. Actually, it should not smell ‘fishy’.

The ones that you need to throw away, on the other hand, are the ones that smell sour. They will remind you of ammonia and just by instinct, you will know it’s no longer good.

The cooked and canned variety of salmon also has the same mild and neutral scent. Smoked salmon, specifically, has a nice smoky aroma. Canned salmon sometimes looks good even if it has expired. This is why always it’s important to check to see if the scent is off.

Visual Signs of Spoilage

Sometimes, the visual signs of spoilage can take a long time to manifest. This is why you should not take it lightly when the fish looks passable but the smell is bad. A fresh and safe salmon should be pinkish in color. It should not have any signs of discoloration or dryness.

Be cautious for signs like slimy residue or the growth of mold on the fish’s skin. Take notice of sticky, milky-white residue particularly near or around the gills. Check the eyes for any signs of cloudiness. Fresh salmon should have clear eyes.

Another way of knowing for sure is to gently press the fish’s flesh. If it is firm and springs back after you press it, it is still good for eating or cooking. However, if it leaves a dimple or a mark where you pressed it, it is a very good indication of spoilage.

Storing Raw Salmon To Keep It Fresh

To prevent the growth of bacteria, you need to store salmon in the fridge within two hours from the time you purchased it. This will slow bacteria from growing and prevent the quick spoilage of the fish.

When stored in the refrigerator below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, raw salmon remains good for up to two days. You can also wrap raw salmon in plastic or aluminum foil and expect it to last for up to nine months.

Know that salmon that was left at a room temperature between 40 – 140 degrees develops bacteria in just an hour. It will remain spoiled even if frozen or refrigerated afterward.

Keep your #kitchen happy! How to tell if salmon is bad? Something fishy comes this way. 🍣

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Storing Cooked and Canned Salmon

Once opened, canned or smoked salmon can last up to six days in the fridge. Cooked salmon should not last more than three days. It is best to throw it away after this amount of time as it is likely unsafe to eat.

When you have taken salmon home from the restaurant, however, you may have no idea how fresh the fish was prior to cooking. At the same time, you don’t know how long it has been left out or stored before being served.

In this case, it is highly advisable to consume the food within two days. Allowing it to stay any longer may not be a safe choice.

Another option is to freeze cooked salmon if there is too much of the leftover. Cooked salmon can last up to two months in the freezer. However, you will need to pack it well since not doing so will have an effect on the taste of the delicious dish.

What you can do is cutting the leftover salmon into smaller pieces before putting them in the freezer so they will be easier to thaw. This way, you don’t have to take out the entire leftover if you don’t plan to eat all of it at once.

First, wrap these smaller pieces in parchment paper. Then, place the wrapped fish in an airtight container or a sealed freezer bag.

Finally, make sure you write down the date when you started freezing the leftover. This would be very helpful since you are most likely going to forget when you packed it.

​Keep in mind that the longer you freeze cooked salmon, the soggier it will be once you thaw it so try to consume the left over as soon as possible.

Signs It’s Time to Throw Cooked Salmon

If cooked salmon that has been stored for more than two days begin to smell sour, it is best to throw it away. Also, do not take slimy texture for granted as this is a big indicator of spoilage. Remember that eating spoiled salmon can result to food poisoning.

Illnesses Due to Eating Spoiled Salmon

While the expiration date is written on the package or can, it is still best to rely on your instincts to tell whether a food is safe to eat or not. Sometimes, due to errors in the packaging process, the food can expire sooner than the date indicated on the package.

Remember that spoiled salmon develop bacteria and mold, which can have very bad effects on your health.

Scombroid poisoning is one health danger that can happen as a result of fresh salmon not being refrigerated or frozen properly after it was caught. Because of this, toxins and bacteria build up in the fish.

Please keep in mind that toxins do not die with heat. This is why you need to make sure the raw fish is still good before you cook and eat it. Make sure to cook the food to 145 degrees Fahrenheit. This will kill most, if not all, harmful microorganisms.

Final Thoughts

Salmon is arguably one of the best fish in the market today. However, as with other seafood, it is a bit complicated to be stored and kept fresh. Make sure you buy only from reputable markets and those that only serve fresh and well-stored fish.

Nonetheless, be cautious with the fish that you cook or eat. Your health is within your control. 

Hopefully, this article helps you remember and be informed on how to tell if salmon is bad.

If you have any additional information on the topic, feel free to share it in the comment section below. Please leave any questions and comments you have so we can discuss more and help other people avoid eating spoiled salmon.


Keep your #kitchen happy! How to tell if salmon is bad? Something fishy comes this way. 🍣

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