What Makes Trader Joe's Frozen Salmon Stand Out From The Rest

Who doesn't love a good Trader Joe's haul? From their cult-worthy favorites like Speculoos Cookie Butter and Peanut Butter Pretzel Nuggets to refrigerator staples like bagged salads and pantry musts like Everything but the Bagel Seasoning, TJ's has it all — and with an affordable price tag and convenient experience.

One section of their stores that rarely disappoints is their frozen food aisle. Typically requiring a little cart-maneuvering and soft elbows amongst the crowds, shoppers are eager to rummage through the frigid bins and stock up on their freezer favorites. Wild salmon tends tops most people's list of healthy icebox provisions to have on hand, but many may not know Trader's Joe's variety is top-notch.

According to a Trader Joe's podcast from March 2019 on the topic of their frozen foods selection, the salmon you find in those waist-high freezer bins is wild Alaskan salmon. But what's so special about that?

Trader Joe's wild Alaskan salmon is once-frozen

We now know that frozen fruits and vegetables that are picked at their pinnacle of ripeness are just as good for us (if not better as there is no travel time when nutrients may be lost) as their fresh friends (via BBC Good Food). And the same premise may apply to frozen fish. When handled properly and professionally, frozen fish is immediately flash-frozen once out of the water, per The Better Fish. The nutrients and moisture are retained in the flesh of the fish with no effect on the texture when it defrosts and is cooked.

The one caveat to this? According to Wild For Salmon, there really is no way to verify that frozen fish has not been defrosted and then refrozen at any point, sometimes even more than once. This practice will affect the texture and possibly some nutrient loss in the process. How does Trader Joe's get it right? "They catch the fish, they freeze the fish, that's it. There's no freezing it and mass slacking it off into portions and refreezing it, which you can find elsewhere," Catherine Rhodes, Trader Joe's product developer, said on the podcast.

This process is known as "once-frozen" in the fish world. And, while it may be found elsewhere now, Trader Joe's was once the only grocery retailer in the U.S. that sold it.