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Jul 26, 2014 10:19 AM

What color should fresh Wild King Salmon filets be??

Hey all,
I was at my local grocery store and saw they had wild caught King salmon on sale ($14.99/lb). However, I noticed that the filets were NOT red/pink...they were more of a yellowish color. I saw the filets of the "farm" Sockeye salmon next to it and they were very pink.

Is the wild caught King salmon supposed to be that type of color or is the red/pink farmed Sockeye injected with some kind of red dye to make it look like that?

Also, they said they would cook it for me ...but I noticed they had a George Foreman grill and that they used the actual kitchen for frying stuff. Is the Foreman grill ok to use?


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  1. King salmon is sometimes white, but I've never seen yellow and would pass it by. (And yes, farmed salmon are fed various dyes to make them pink/red.)

    4 Replies
    1. re: pikawicca

      It was probably more of a white color, definitely not pink or gold colored.

      1. re: skunker

        Hi, skunker:

        If it's indeed fresh white king, jump on it at that price.

        The whites are a genetic mutation that results in even higher fat content than is found in the non-mutated fish of the same run. Different runs vary in fat content (usually as a function of the length of river from ocean to spawning ground). IMO, whites from long rivers like the Yukon and Columbia are about as good as salmon can get.

        Whites formerly were treated as junk fish because of the washed-out color. Now they are in great demand.

        OTOH, use your nose. Washed-out color (especially any brownish tinge) can mean less than fresh.


      2. re: pikawicca

        Farmed salmon feed contains the same colorants that make wild salmon pink. These same colorants can also be found in "color enhancing" goldfish food. Wild salmon gets the color from eating krill containing Astaxanthin. We used to have a jellyfish tank and we bought blocks of krill for feeding. You had to be really careful with it because it would stain easily.

        1. re: ferret

          No one is feeding farmed salmon krill; they are getting a synthetic colorant that is suspected by some researchers to cause eye problems in some consumers.

      3. Could be what is known as "White King Salmon".

        Farmed salmon are often fed additives to make their flesh pinker. It's not an injection.

        1 Reply
        1. Even wild sockeye is a kind of neon orange naturally, King salmon much paler by comparison. I think there's farmed king salmon out there now, and the price you quote is exactly half what it sells for around here, fresh in season.

          1. Way back when I was commercial fishing we would give the 'white' Springs away at the dock. Only the 'you-know-whos' would take them. They would be waiting for them before we got moored at the dock.
            Funny old world.
            There is something odd about the price.
            I'd check around.
            LOTS of scams happen in the fish industry.

            1. Mine is always an orangish color. Pink is generally from dyes put in farmed.