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Difference between red salmon and pink salmon, in cans?

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I was reading a recent post on canned salmon, and began to wonder about the difference between red and pink salmon. I guess that based on my long-time bias for "solid white" tuna, I always assumed that "red" salmon was the better quality, and "pink" was the equivalent of the cheaper tunas. But now I keep seeing the pink variety in boneless and skinless form, which is easier to work with. Anyone know the difference?

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  1. They're two different species - "red" salmon, also known as sockeye, are Oncorhyncus nerka; pink salmon, also known as "humpback" or "humpies" due to the rather odd looking humped back characteristic of spawning males, are Oncorhyncus gorbuscha. I think the consensus is that of the two, reds are a better food fish. The other common Pacific salmon species are kings (Chinook) and coho (silvers), both of which seem to get better reviews than reds and pinks, and dog salmon (cohos), which seem to be at the bottom of everyone's list.

    3 Replies
    1. re: FlyFish

      Thanks for the very interesting and informative answer. I had always assumed that the "pink" salmon was just lower quality. But I'm also wondering if people have had good experience with the pink salmon, in cans? I have to admit, getting it boneless and skinless is a big plus in my book.

      1. re: winedude

        I really can't comment on the overall quality of canned pink salmon, but I just noticed a typo in my earlier reply . . . dog salmon are also referred to as CHUM salmon, not coho (which I had correctly identified as the same fish as silver salmon).

        1. re: winedude

          Of course, a huge percentage of the omega 3's is right under the skin, and the bones are FULL of calcium. I used to love those little crunches when my mother made salmon croquettes from canned salmon...