Not for the dogs: Why you should be adding chum salmon to your dinner plate

Holistic nutritionist, and Skipper Otto’s member, Melissa Evanson continues her series of nutrition-focused blog posts with a look at our wonderful chum salmon. Have questions about seafood and nutrition? Email us at info@skipperotto.ca with your questions and Melissa will answer them on our Facebook page.

Chum salmon, also called keta, dog or silverbrite, tends to be the least known of the five Pacific salmon species and receives little love – this may be because of its “dog” moniker, based on sled dogs being fed chum in the north and the sharp dog-like teeth of spawning males. But don’t be fooled, fresh or flash-frozen chum caught during the silverbrite phase (see below) should be on your salmon rotation despite misconceptions that it isn’t a “good” salmon. It’s high time we shed chum’s pet food image!

The backbone of the chum salmon industry has been focused on its highly prized roe (salmon caviar), as well as canned and smoked products. To maximize roe quality and quantity, chum are are often caught later in their life cycle, during their spawning phase, when flesh is softer and less flavourful. This is the chum that’s sometimes fed to the dogs. But when chum salmon is caught in the open-ocean, far from their spawning location (the ‘silverbrite’ phase), the flesh is of high a quality and it’s outward appearance is often indistinguishable from its better known sibling, sockeye.

This silverbright chum (top) was still a long way from the spawning grounds while the dark, striped chum (bottom) was in it’s spawning phase ready to spawn and die within the week.

Nutritionally, chum has a lower fat content than sockeye and chinook, giving it a milder, more delicate flavour while still providing comparable sources of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as essential micronutrients like selenium, niacin and B121. Its lower fat content and milder flavour means chum is well suited for those who may not like the intense flavour of sockeye and for recipes that retain moisture such as curries and chowders. Chum can also make a mean burger and is fantastic grilled or broiled, especially when marinated.

So, how does it really taste?

Well, feel free to ask one of Skipper Otto’s staff members who participated in the 2016 side-by-side blind taste test! Chum was often chosen as staff’s favourite or second favourite out of all five salmon species and some even went as far as calling it “the perfect salmon!”

Bottom line: Given bountiful returns of chum salmon on the central coast, its affordable price point, and highly versatile nature, chum salmon is most definitely not “for the dogs” and should be a staple in your Skipper Otto’s checkout basket.

 

Here are a few more recipes using chum if you need some inspiration:

Tasty looking chum salmon fillet on salad.

Chef Ned Bell’s pan-seared chum salmon fillet makes an easy, delicious, nutritious meal anytime.

 

Per 100g cookedChumSockeyeChinookCohoPink
Calories (kcal)237335356247185
Protein (g)4042404232
Total Fat (g)7172185
   Omega-3 (mg)9491424214311141455
   Omega-6 (mg)771131365664
   Omega 3:61213162023
Vitamin B125897488358
Niacin (B3)4333504043
Potassium1611141212
Selenium6754675482
Zinc43445

 

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Melissa Evanson, D. Env., R.H.N.

melissaevansonrhn@gmail.com

melissaevanson.com

www.facebook.com/melissaevansonrhn

 

References:
1 – https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb; http://nutritiondata.self.com

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