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Oct 21, 2007 10:51 AM

canned salmon strangeness [Moved from Home Cooking Board]

I was deboning some canned salmon for salmon salad sandwiches...and found a bunch of little white round balls in the flesh of the salmon. They are about the size of the round head of a seamstresses pin (you know, the kind with the balls on the end). They are soft and fall apart when pushed. Are they just fat, I wonder?

Anyone ever experience this?

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    1. Possibly bone fragments. If so, harmless to eat. Good source of calcium.

      1. After eating it, and then worrying about it (not a great approach), I did some research. I found on the Gold Seal web site (a maker of canned salmon, I presume):

        What is the curd-like substance found in canned salmon?

        A white or creamy coloured substance resembling coagulated egg white is sometimes found on the surface of canned salmon. This substance is commonly mistaken for congealed fat. In fact, it is a protein-like material present in the natural juices of raw salmon flesh that gets separated out and coagulates during the cooking process. The coagulation of these proteins is similar to the coagulation of albumen protein in raw egg white when boiled

        Well, perhaps this is what I saw...let's hope it wasn't parasites!!

        3 Replies
        1. re: chowaholic

          If the white balls where indeed found imbeded in the flesh and not on the surface then these are nothing more than cysts due to prasites....some runs of salmon are notorious for having v. many of these in their flesh....once cooked these are harmless....more of a "cosmetic" issue....

          1. re: Pollo

            Yes, in the flesh...not on the surface, really. Ew! Your explanation seems likely. But glad to hear it's harmless. Thanks for the low-down.

            1. re: chowaholic

              Just out of curiosity what was the brand and/or species of salmon? Does it say where it was packed? Most of the time I have seen this type of cysts with Sockeye salmon but it is area specific...some river runs alomost never have it...others are full of it If you want you could complain and I'm sure they would send you a case for "your troubles".....

          1. Sounds like struvite.

            From Trader Joe's website:
            Struvite is a mineral compound. It is formed when minerals found in fish (commonly tuna and salmon) bind together during the canning process. At first glance, it can resemble glass. Upon a closer examination, these crystals are no harder than ordinary table salt. You can generally break the crystals apart with your thumbnail.