What makes salmon orange? What is the difference between farmed salmon and wild salmon, in terms of nutrients and price? Where can you buy wild salmon? How do you know if what you've paid for is wild or farmed?
These questions have been twirling in my head for quite some time now, and this post is an aggregate of my desktop research findings plus conversations with chefs and fishmongers.
First question - how to pronounce salmon? Sell-mon? Sull-mon? Actually, the L is silent, so it's Sau-mon. Like "palm" and "psalm" where you don't sound the L. (Did you know Thailand is pronounced Tai-land, not Thigh-lern?)
The actual colour of salmon flesh ranges from white to pink to orange, depending on the level of asthaxanthin, something that the wild salmon fish get from feeding on crustaceans (shrimps, lobsters, etc..). Those that are farmed are fed with an orange dye (how horrid is that?!) so they look like wild salmon!
More than 80% of salmon in the market are farmed, some sites say up to 90%. If it's an Atlantic salmon, it is highly likely a farmed one. Any nutritional differences? Loads. Farmed salmon are far inferior, providing less beneficial Omega 3 fats than their wild kin. Pumped with antibiotics and dyed orange, they are also more exposed to pesticides. The wild salmon boast 20% higher protein content and 20% lower fat content than farm-raised ones. The US Department of Agriculture confirmed these unfortunate statistics.
Canned salmon are likely wild salmon as the farm-raised ones are not suitable to be canned.
Where does this leave us? Well, I don't even know where to buy wild salmon. Do you?