What salmon should I pickle and jar for the best color and flavor?

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Many recipes for pickled salmon (including the one on our blog) don’t specify a salmon species, which indicates to me that any variety will probably work.

Atlantic salmon is probably traditional for many salmon recipes, but is paler in color and has a more mild flavor. For these reasons, as well as the serious environmental concerns associated with farmed salmon, we strongly recommend using wild Pacific salmon instead.

As to the “best” salmon for pickling, it probably depends on what sort of finished product you’re hoping for.  Sockeye salmon has the brightest color and superb flavor, but is one of the most highly regarded varieties (and thus expensive).  King salmon has a distinctive striped appearance, great flavor and is the other best/most expensive variety.  Coho is a nice middle-of the road variety that will be much more affordable.

Keta’s flavor and tenderness aren’t nearly as good, but the firmer texture might be an asset if you’re looking for a firmer finished result, and it’s one of the cheapest wild varieties.  Pink is very mild and fragile, and thus may not be a good choice for pickling.

Check out our Salmon Species Guide for more info on how the different types differ.

– Question Submitted by Rhoda

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