How to Clean Salmon Before Cooking: All Misconceptions Busted!

How to Clean Salmon Before Cooking

Debunk all the misconceptions and get effective salmon-cleaning techniques through our comprehensive guide based on how to clean salmon before cooking.

Salmon is not only delicious but nutritious fish that offers versatility in cooking. This superb-tasting fish also features numerous health benefits. Being a good source of zinc, iron, fatty acids, and multiple vitamins, salmon can be considered an excellent cooking option.

Despite all these benefits, improper cleaning and cooking methods for salmon can deteriorate its nutritional as well as taste values. Apart from that, people also observe certain myths regarding the cleaning process of salmon. Not all of them can be justified when you’re handling meat.

Through this comprehensive guide, we’ve tried to debunk all those myths and let you learn how to clean salmon before cooking effectively. Also, you can get help from expert tips and tricks for efficient salmon cleaning. Read on to learn more:

Need For Cleaning Salmon Before Cooking

So, the initial question remains— what’s the need for appropriately cleaning salmon before cooking? Well, cleaning before cooking is always recommended no matter what is being cooked, especially when it comes to cooking meat, fish, etc. However, certain more reasons are also responsible for this, and here are some of them:

  • Removal of scales: Scales are an unpleasant part of the salmon fish that neither enhances its texture nor can be eaten. When you clean the salmon perfectly, you don’t need to witness such issues and get a better eating experience. 
  • Elimination of Contaminants: There could be numerous bacteria, parasites, and other harmful contaminants on the salmon’s surface and cavity. To prevent the ingestion of these harbored bacteria, proper cleaning is highly recommended.
  • Enhancing Flavor: A cleaned salmon can get an enhanced flavor. It allows better penetration of seasoning and its absorption allowing you to have a cleaner taste and better overall experience. 
  • Improved Presentation: When a salmon is cleaned properly, it gets cooked even more perfectly. As a result, the final presentation becomes more attractive and appealing to people. 
  • Food Safety: Properly cleaning the salmon fish prevents cross-contamination with other food particles. This becomes even more important when it’s served raw or undercooked. 

Debunking Misconceptions of Salmon Cleaning

You must have come across some misconceptions regarding the cleaning requirements of salmon. Needless to say, they require a more than thorough cleaning. We’ve busted some of these misconceptions in the following section. Have a look:

Misconception 1: 

It’s considered that cleaning salmon through warm water is essential to kill bacteria accumulation. However, it can’t be cleaned properly just by using hot water, instead, you need to opt for optimal cleaning followed by proper cooking. 

Misconception 2: 

It’s not that if you leave the salmon’s skin, it’s cleaned. Instead, you must know that salmon’s skin will only act as a barrier, and germs, bacteria, and harmful microorganisms might be present on the skin as well as inside it. 

Misconception 3: 

Freezing the salmon fish doesn’t guarantee to kill parasites and bacterial buildups. It’s true when you freeze the salmon fish, parasites get reduced but they won’t vanish completely. So, it’s always suggested to perform a thorough cleaning before you cook your favorite salmon fish. 

Misconception 4: 

If you think that your pre-packaged or pre-washed salmon is completely safe to consume, then the reality check for you is they still contain harmful contaminants. Avoiding cleanups can put your health at stake and will also badly impact its taste. 

How to Clean Salmon Before Cooking Properly

How to Clean Salmon Before Cooking Properly

Until now, you might have gotten all your doubts cleared regarding salmon cleaning. Now that you know why cleaning salmon is so important, without wasting more time let’s jump into the answer to your curious question— how to clean salmon before cooking. Here’s all for you:

Workspace Preparation: 

Before beginning, know what you need to do to prepare your workspace. Additionally, we’ve also provided a list of necessary tools that might make your cleaning process easier and faster. Your workspace should be well-lit ensuring optimal air flow to avoid bad odors. Also, consider working at a stable place. You’ll need:

  •  Fish Scalar
  • Cutting Board
  • Sharp Knife
  • Cold Running Water Source 
  • Paper Towels
  • Clean Tweezers
  • Fish Pliers 

The Steps:

  1. Start by holding the salmon firmly by using the tail. Using a fish scaler, scrape towards the grain of the scales, starting from the tail in the direction of the head. Repeat till all scales are removed. Rinse the salmon under cold water to take away loosened scales and residue.
  2. Lay the salmon on the slicing board with the stomach facing upwards. Make a shallow incision alongside the stomach, from the anus to the gills, with the use of a sharp knife. Be cautious not to harm the inner organs. With your palms or a spoon, gently scoop out the entrails and discard them.
  3. Thoroughly rinse the cavity and exterior of the salmon underneath cold walking water. Use your fingers to ease into the cavity, getting rid of any last blood, slime, or debris. Rinse until the water runs clean.
  4. Run your hands alongside the flesh to discover any small pin bones. Use clean tweezers or fish pliers to grip and pull them out lightly. Check for any overlooked scales, entrails, or bones, and trim any extra fats or fins if preferred.
  5. Once the salmon is cleaned, use paper towels to dry the entire salmon’s body. This will help in removing excessive moisture resulting in a well-cooked salmon.  
  6. After the completion of the process, you’re suggested to sanitize all the tools, cleaning surfaces, utensils used, your hands, etc. This is essential to avoid cross-contamination of harmful bacteria. 

Tips and Tricks for Efficient Salmon Cleaning

Some additional tips and tricks can work efficiently in delivering an irresistible cleaning experience. You may consider the following tips for better salmon cleaning:

  • Always try to use a sharp knife for the scaling and gutting steps. This will make your task easier and prevent you from getting injuries. Dull knives slip unexpectedly leading to accidents and uneven cuts.
  • Whenever you’re scaling the salmon, consider doing it under running water. This prevents mess and makes scaling faster and simpler.
  • No matter whether you’re scaling, gutting, or removing the pin bone from the salmon fish, always move from tail to head. This will help maintain the salmon’s integrity causing zero damage to the flesh. 
  • It’s better to invest in tweezers and pliers especially meant for pin bone removal. It’ll accomplish your task even more easily than you could do using your fingers.
  • You must be firm while holding the salmon fish during its cleaning process. The better your grip is, the smoother it will be cut and cleaned. 
  • Sanitization remains crucial while cleaning salmon. Once it’s done, all the used supplies and tools must also be cleaned accurately to avoid further contamination.

Also Check: How to Clean and Boost Your Midsole for Maximum Comfort

Safety Measures and Hygiene Practices

To ensure optimal cleaning, abide by the recommended safety measures and hygiene practices. That being said, we’ve outlined some of them here:

  • You need to work in a properly sanitized workspace. This is why invest time in preparing the space in which you’ll carry out the cleaning process. 
  • Don’t forget to clean and sanitize your hands properly both before and after the completion of the salmon’s cleaning.
  • Consider using disposable gloves whenever you’re handling raw salmon. This will protect you from the risk of cross-contamination.
  • When you’ve got the raw salmon from the market, store it in a cool place until initiating cleaning or cooking. This will prevent further bacterial growth. 
  • Whatever waste particles are collected, take immediate action to dispose of them. This is important to prevent bad odors, pest attraction, and contamination. 
  • Once you’ve cleaned the salmon fish, don’t keep it in any open place. Instead, store it in your refrigerator if you’re not going to cook it immediately. 
  • It’s highly advised to clean the salmon fish right before cooking it. This will not let any bacterial growth and will also maintain the taste of the salmon.

Also Read: How to Clean Greasy Tools

What To Avoid?

Take a look at the points that should be highly avoided when cleaning the salmon fish. These things include:

  • While warm water is considered to be effective for cleaning, it must not be used when cleaning salmon fish. Always stick with cold water when cleaning salmon. 
  • Avoid using any kind of commercial cleaning products including mild soap and detergent to clean salmon. Doing so can leave harmful residue on the salmon’s body making it taste poor.
  • Dull and dirty knives must also be avoided as these will increase the risk of accidents and will unevenly cut and scale the salmon.
  • Never keep raw salmon with any other food particles. It can transfer the bacteria and parasites to them. Even your salmon can get dirtier. 
  • Don’t leave salmon exposed to room temperature as this will give a boost to residual growth and may also cause foodborne illness. 
  • When dealing with the salmon, be careful and don’t damage its internal organs. This will not only lead to a compromised quality but also deteriorate its taste. 
  • Wire brushes, scouring pads, and other tools must not be used when cleaning salmon. It’s suggested to use gentle techniques so that the quality remains intact. 

Final Conclusion: How to Clean Salmon Before Cooking 

No matter where you’ve got your salmon or what cooking preferences you have, learning the most appropriate method for how to clean salmon before cooking remains undeniable. People often believe certain myths related to cleaning salmon fish adequately.

However, we have tried to help you combat these things through the above-mentioned tips, tricks, and methods so that you can have an unexceptional salmon cooking and eating experience. 

Akshay Verma

Akshay Verma is a full-time blogger & Affiliate Marketers. He founded and leads Master Blogging. With over 3 years of blogging expertise, he has assisted numerous aspiring bloggers in achieving their dreams of creating successful blogs.

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