Warning Signs Your Salmon Has Gone Bad

Like with most foods that aren't fermented or preserved, fresher is better⁠ — and fish is no exception. However, most of us don't have the capacity to go out and catch our daily fish (much less to gut and clean it), and thus must rely on supermarkets and fisheries for our seafood cuts. Salmon is one of the most popular fishes, and for good reason: it's tasty, easy to prepare, and also is full of good-for-you nutrients like omega-3s (via the Harvard School of Public Health).

Due to salmon's mythic popularity, it's readily available across the country, and you can usually even skip the fish counter and find filets of salmon in the grocery refrigerators or freezers that are plastic-wrapped and ready to go be stocked in your own fridge before you're ready to prep a meal. However, if you ever find salmon in your fridge that you've neglected for a day or two, you may want to check first if your salmon has gone bad before cooking the fish.

Look for these warning signs when inspecting salmon

According to seafood delivery company Oshen Salmon, there are some clear warning signs anyone can look for when determining if a piece of salmon has gone bad or not. Use your eyes and sense of smell when inspecting your salmon cut; specifically, be wary of any salmon that has turned grayish in color and that emits an overly fishy smell. These two telltale signs should have you making alternative plans for dinner.

Further, Home Cook Basics also notes that if you detect the slightest hint of ammonia or any muskiness, trust your nose and your gut and toss the salmon. Also keep an eye out for any milky residue, strange looking dark spots, or mold, as these are all obvious signs that your salmon has sadly gone off, and should not be consumed.

Lastly, once your salmon's passed an olfactory and aesthetic test, you'll want to press down on the flesh. Per Simply Healthy Family, salmon should be firm in texture; Oshen Salmon advises to look for a "bounce" to the salmon's flesh. Salmon that's gone bad will be so fragile, it'll basically fall apart when you touch it — yet another warning sign the fish has, in fact, spoiled.