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Shelf Life of Canned Salmon


How do I determine how old my can of salmon is?

Look at the code that is either embossed onto the lid or printed onto the bottom of the can. The third digit in the top row of numbers and letters is the year it was canned. For example, 343TP would have been canned in 2003, 365TS would have been canned in 2005, etc. Some companies are now printing an expiration date on all products to make this process easier.

What is the shelf life of canned salmon?

Canned salmon is a very shelf-stable item. Quality will remain good for at least 6 years, however the actual shelf life can be much longer, provided that the integrity of the can is not compromised. The flavor may diminish after that length of storage time. Once you have opened the can make sure the leftovers are properly covered, refrigerated and consumed shortly after. Once opened canned salmon can be stored in a refrigerator for about three days if it has been properly wrapped. It is also possible to freeze canned salmon in a zip-lock or other type of freezer bag for consumption within a few months (just remember to dethaw it). As with most perishable food products canned salmon should not be left for long time periods at room temperature.

What species of salmon are canned? Why is Red Sockeye salmon more expensive than Pink, Chum and Coho Salmon? What are the differences between them?

Pink and Chum Salmon are available in greater numbers than Red Sockeye or Coho salmon, making them lesser in cost. Red Sockeye salmon is known for its deeper red color, firmer texture, and higher oil content. Coho or Silver salmon may also be known as Medium Red salmon. It is a softer texture than Red salmon and has a light medium red color. Pink Salmon is more delicately flavored and lighter in color. Chum salmon, also known as Keta salmon, is also lighter in color but usually has a firmer texture than Pink. All species are considered healthy sources of nutrition, such as Omega-3 fatty acids, and may be used interchangeably in most recipes.

How can I tell if my canned salmon is wild salmon or farmed salmon?

Most of the canned salmon found in supermarkets across North America is sourced from wild salmon fisheries. However, there are a few companies that may use farmed salmon in their cans. One of the best indicators of whether your salmon is sourced from the wild or from a fish farm is by looking at the labeling on the can. Many companies will indicate directly on the can that their salmon is wild caught. In addition, it may be helpful to know a little bit about the company and whether it has any corporate principles that prohibit them from using salmon caught from salmon farms. If the can is not properly labeled or vague you may want to pass. Alaska does not allow salmon farms, so when you see the lid that says “Alaska Salmon USA”, you can rest assured that these fish were not farm raised.

Why does canned salmon sometimes have glass looking crystals in it?

Every so often some people may find and be curious what the glass-like crystals are in canned salmon. These are called struvite crystals and might be mistaken by a consumer for a shard of glass. A variety of canned seafood products sometimes contain these naturally made crystals. Struvite crystals are formed after the salmon has been put in the can and are made of magnesium ammonium phosphate. They have a hardness compared to table salt and can be crushed into a powder with your finger. They dissolve in water and in your stomach.

What are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Omega-3 fatty acids are long chain fatty acids (DHA and EPA) that are known for their health benefits. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least 2 servings of fish a week to protect your heart, particularly fish that are known to contain high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon.

Canned salmon is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids.

Our good friend Linda at Chinook and Company in Ketchikan is a wonderful source for canned salmon.


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Small Space Cooking

The hardest part about transitioning to living aboard has been learning to cook in a small space, and with a diesel burning oven. Really, I should show you my space. Maybe once I get it all clean! But the upside is, it’s so small that even when it’s dirty, it cleans up really quick.

So how do I manage to cook in my boat’s tiny galley and turn out meals that I’m accustomed to eating?

Let’s start with telling you what my galley kitchen space is like on the boat.


The boat is 32 feet long and 14 feet wide, but my galley measures 4 feet long by 5 feet wide. My counter space measures a total of 3 square feet. My galley is sorta triangle shape.

It includes a small foot and a half wide by 2 1/2 foot tall fridge and a freezer that is 5 inches tall by 11 inches wide and 1 foot deep. It maybe small, but boy can it pack and sure beats storing condiments in an ice chest.

I cook all our meals on a diesel burning oil stove that uses the same fuel as our main engine. The top of the stove measures 18 inches by 21 inches. It has an oven with a side opening windowed door. It measures 11 inches wide by 12 inches deep. An 11 x 7 pan fits perfect in my easy bake oven. I have a sink that measures 9 1/2 inches deep by 14 long and 10 inches wide. It comes complete with hot water as long as the engine is running.

Cooking in a small space takes thought and planning.

Good food and desserts is a fun and essential part of boating. Whether you are going out on your boat for a weekend, a week, a month or a year, someone has to plan what you are going to eat, shop for it, store it, fix it, serve it, and then figure out what to do with the trash.


One of my favorite things has always been cooking, and I thought I’d go nuts on board with my normal style, so I have adjusted to a more relaxed style: Less things on the plate, higher-quality ingredients (when available), and great flavors. We eat as healthy as possible and most always from scratch. With basic ingredients onboard, you can make anything you want and with a couple of cookbooks that use everyday ingredients, can give you a lot of confidence.

One of the challenges with small space cooking is to learn to have multi-function items including basic food ingredients. A can opener that also has a bottle opener on it, I’ve used a wine bottle many a time for a rolling pin.

Basic ingredients that can be used for a lot of different recipes is what inspired my first cookbook Alaskan Rock’n Galley. 200 recipes that give simple ways to keep your grip in the galley. Catch, prepare and present from a tiny space, real food that would not be ashamed to have come from a gourmet kitchen many times the size. If you can cook these delicious recipes in a galley, you can cook them anywhere. They are simple and gourmet, a perfect combination for the homemaker.

Cooking real food from scratch also leads us to eating better and we feel better.

On hot days, I try and use the stove as little as possible. In fact, some days we just turn it off. I then turn to the grill, eat up our leftovers and make quick cold foods. When it is cold and raining out as long as the weather is cooperating, I make soups, stews and bake up a storm. We eat good when it’s cold out while staying warm!

I do however believe in a few good kitchen tools, because it makes a huge difference how I feel cooking on the boat all summer. I recently bought a raspberry colored mini food processor. Just looking at it makes me smile! I have a couple of good knives that are the workhorses in my galley kitchen.

I also don’t give space to things that take up too much room. As the groceries are going on board, I throw away all the cereal boxes. I use a permanent marker and mark what is in the package. I use small and large zip bags to store leftovers in my refrigerator. Containers take up too much room.

Yes there are many challenges cooking in a Rock’n Galley, but without the challenges there is no adventure.

It’s really not all that bad once you get the hang of it.

Here’s a scrumptious recipe from Alaskan Rock’n Galley cookbook you are sure to enjoy!

Chicken with Caramelized Apples

4 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/4 c. butter
3 apples, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch thick wedges
1 Tbl. lemon juice
3 Tbl. pancake syrup

Place chicken between 2 pieces of plastic wrap; with flat side of a meat mallet, pound to flatten chicken to 1/2 inch. Place flour on a small plate, add salt and pepper.

Dip chicken in flour, shaking off excess.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken; cook 5-6 minutes or until no longer pink, turning once. Place on platter; cover loosely with foil.

Add the apples to the same skillet; cook 2-3 minutes without stirring or until lightly caramelized. Stir the apples; cook one more minute. Stir in lemon juice. Add pancake syrup; stir to combine. Serve sauce and apples over chicken.

Serves 4.

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Seafood Freshness


WHILE TOP CHEFS INSIST ON USING FISH THE SAME DAY IT’S PURCHASED, that standard is sometimes unrealistic for mere mortals without a daily fishing boat service.

A good rule of thumb for the rest of us: Keep offerings from the ocean for no more than three days refrigerated.

They key to keeping seafood fresh is to buy it at the end of your shopping trip, so you can get it home quickly. Then put it in the coolest part of your fridge. If you’re really zealous, store it in a pan of crushed ice (put waxed paper between the fish and the ice). Some experts even advise giving the fish a rinse in salty water if you’ll be storing it for more than a day.

The more intact the fish, the fresher it will stay, so if you can find whole fish and are up for the deboning challenge, you’re better off buying that than precut. Larger fish, such as tuna and salmon, keep better than small fish, even if they are cut into steaks. Shrimp, scallops and crab deteriorate the fastest of all. The chefs are right on the money, don’t plan on keeping these for more than a day.

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