Inspect a whole salmon for discoloration, and avoid fish that is green or yellow. Check the edges for drying or darkening. Do not buy dry or dark fish with a “mushy” appearance.
Look at the flesh and the gills. The flesh should appear firm and shiny, while the gills should be bright red and without slime.
Check the eyes of the salmon. The eyes should be clear and dark, not cloudy or milky. The eyes should not be sunk in.
Smell the salmon. The fish should smell fresh like the ocean and a little salty. It should not smell fishy, ammonia-like or sour.
Press your finger lightly on the fish to determine how firm it is. A fresh salmon when pressed in will spring back and retain its shape. If a dent remains, do not buy it.
Inspect the packaging. Do not purchase any salmon with torn, open, punctured or crushed packaging.
Select a package from below the “freeze line.” The Food and Drug Administration recommends that you avoid the packages at the top and back of a store's freezer shelf.
Look for frost or ice crystals on the fish, which could mean the salmon has been thawed and refrozen or stored for too long. Avoid these packages.
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