Wild Sockeye Salmon
Fresh wild Sockeye Salmon has the firmest, reddest flesh of all wild Pacific salmon and is my personal favorite. It is a delicious, full-flavored fish which lends itself to a wide variety of cooking applications. In the Pacific Northwest we look forward to each new Sockeye Salmon season which starts in mid May with the opening of Copper River Salmon. It is considered the most valuable of US salmon species and much of it is shipped to Japan where it is relished. The name "Sockeye" is a butchered pronunciation of the Native American name "Sukkai".
Wild Sockeye Salmon Flavor Profile
Sockeye Salmon is a succulent, full-flavored fish with a high fat content which contributes to its rich flavor. It has a firm-texture with medium sized flakes and flesh which ranges in color from orange to deep red.
note: wild salmon for sushi should be frozen for 24 hours at -4° F (-20° C) to kill any potential parasitic larvae.
Typical Cooking Methods
Blueback, Red Salmon, Kokanee Salmon if it is landlocked, Quinault, Jack Salmon (they return to the river earlier than expected and are usually males).
Sockeye Salmon Description (Oncorhynchus nerka)
Sockeye change color as they migrate from saltwater to fresh water. In saltwater they are blueish-green on their top half and silvery on the bottom with with a light speckling of spots on the back and tail. In fresh water they have a light green head and bright red bodies. Sockeye Salmon can be up to 33" long and weigh up to 16 lbs but average around 6-8 lbs. They have an average life span of about 5 years, and all sockeye die within a few weeks of spawning. Follow the link for a video on how to identify species of salmon.
Image courtesy of BCSalmon.ca
Image from Wikipidia-click for licensing
Fresh Wild Sockeye Salmon Availability
The chart below shows the annual availability of fresh wild Sockeye Salmon: green areas show peak availability, light green show limited availability, gray indicates not available fresh. Frozen available all year long.
Sockeye Salmon Butchering Yield Percentage and Recovery
|Item||To Skin/On Fillets||To Skin/Off Fillets||Notes|
|Whole Head/On gutted
||69% - 72%||63%|
|Skin/On Fillets||--||85%||If you have additional yield info on this fish please leave a comment below.|
|Yield % varies according to a number of factors including: size of fish, season, sex, and the skill of your fishmonger.|
Range & Habitat
Sockeye Salmon inhabit the North Pacific from: northern Japan to Bering Sea and to Los Angeles, California, USA. Landlocked populations in Alaska, Yukon Territory and British Columbia in Canada, and Washington and Oregon in USA.
Typical Wholesale Products
Whole Head/On gutted, Whole Head/Off gutted, Filets, Steaks
Sockeye Salmon Sustainability Info
This window is a link to the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program info on Salmon.
based upon a 6 oz (171 grams) raw edible serving
|Alaska Dept of Fish & Game||National Marine Fisheries Service|
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