Salmon: What’s the Difference?

If you have ever fished for, eaten, or even looked at salmon, you probably know that there are various types of salmon. Some of the most well known species of salmon are chinook/tyee, pink, coho and chum. Let’s take a look at both the physical and behavioral differences between each type of salmon as well as which one to choose for a specific taste for dinner.

Chinook/Tyee Salmon

Also known as king salmon or spring salmon, chinook/tyee salmon are the largest species of salmon; they can be up to 125 lbs.! Chinook salmon also have one of the smallest populations in North America, so you have a much better chance of catching one of the other species in the wild. You can spot a chinook salmon by the pink on the lower part of their belly.

When Cooking

Many people think that chinook salmon is the best tasting of the salmon species. Chinook salmon are especially high in fat and have a very rich tasting flesh. The texture is relatively smooth due to the high fat content.

Pink Salmon

Pink salmon are also known as “humpies” because of the noticeable hump on their back. This species is the most prevalent type of salmon. However, they are also generally the smallest. Aside from the bump on their heads, you can distinguish a pink salmon by the overall pinkness of their bellies.

When Cooking

Pink salmon have a low fat content. For this reason, they are not generally eaten in the same ways that chinook are. When purchasing canned salmon, you will generally find that it is pink salmon. However, pink salmon can also be smoked, frozen, or even sold fresh.

Coho Salmon

Also going by the nickname of “silvers”, coho salmon are known for their silvery look. This species usually spends a year or two in freshwater before moving on to the wide waters of the sea. While coho salmon were once the most eaten species of salmon, a decrease in their numbers has led them to be less consumed now.

When Cooking

Coho salmon has bright red fresh that should be treated with a little more care than other species of salmon. As for its taste, people find that it is reminiscent of chinook salmon while maintaining a pleasantly milder flavor.

Chum Salmon

Due to their sharp-looking teeth, chum are commonly referred to as “Dogs.” This species of salmon has one of the larger swimming areas, being found anywhere between Korea and California.

When Cooking

Chum have a drier flesh than other species of salmon, which makes them perfect for smoking. However, because of their lower fat content, chum can also be canned or sold frozen. A smaller fish, this type of salmon usually weighs only about 8 lbs.
As with most types of seafood, eating salmon fresh is always going to be preferred. And now that you know exactly which type of salmon to eat on which occasions, you can enjoy all the greatness that each species has to offer.

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