Eating fish is a special treat for us land-locked, rural Wisconsin homesteaders. When we do indulge in a salmon dip treat, we want real food and clean fish on our plate. Choosing fish that is both sustainably harvested and free from toxic mercury can be challenging to find, but fortunately innovative new technologies can now determine what’s healthy for our plate.
The list of underlying health benefits of fish runs long, from being high in omega-3 fatty acids for heart and brain health to providing a wealth of vitamins and minerals. The hidden dark downside remains increasing high levels of mercury found in fish, a toxic substance that you can’t see, taste or smell. Coal burning power plants kick mercury into the air that then settle into our waters where it is eventually ingested by fish.
Mercury exposure can be especially harmful to pregnant women as it can lead to brain development disabilities, so much so that the FDA and EPA recommend pregnant women and women of child-bearing age avoid fish with notably higher levels of mercury.
Mercury Testing Technology for Fish
The challenge is how can you really know what fish is safe to eat? Fortunately, innovative sustainability entrepreneurs are forging new paths to connect us to healthy fish choices good for our planet. From chefs on the Gulf Shores of Alabama generating awareness of underutilized regional fish to San Diego sushi chefs featured on culinary tours who exclusively working with local fisherman, you can find increasing safe fish options while dining out.
When dining at home, we like to choose options from SafeCatch, a company blending technology with better seafood choices. SafeCatch revolutionized the industry by developing a process to test every can of fish they produce, which enables their tuna, for example, to have a mercury limit 10-times stricter than the FDA. They also use sustainable sourcing and harvesting practices that follow Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program guidelines, the global authority on ethical and sustainable standards.
Keto and Paleo Friendly
The growing popularity of diets like paleo and keto now further champion fish as a low-fat protein choice. SafeCatch’s ready-to-eat, shelf-stable products work well with today’s busy, on-the-go lifestyle and also for hardworking homesteaders. Take your garden-fresh salad greens, tomatoes and cucumbers and pop open a can of tuna already seasoned with tantalizing flavors like chili lime and habanero mint and you have a quick, healthy harvest supper.
The recipe below is our take on the classic Salmon Dip, highlighting the fresh salmon flavor. We use fresh, organic dill from our Inn Serendipity farm, but the recipe could be readily adapted with your favorite herbs as seasonings. We also use cream cheese and sour cream from Organic Valley for the recipe.
Salmon Dip Recipe
- 12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature (1½ packages)
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 tablespoon capers (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cans (5 ounces each) SafeCatch Wild Alaska Pink Salmon
- Cream the cheese in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until just smooth.
- Add the sour cream, lemon juice, dill, capers, salt and pepper, and mix.
- Add the salmon and mix well, but allow the dip to still have some small chunks of salmon.
- Chill and serve with crudites and/or crackers.
Yield: About 2 cups
Lisa Kivirist, with her husband, John D. Ivanko, a photographer and drone pilot, have co-authored Rural Renaissance, Homemade for Sale, the award-winning ECOpreneuring and Farmstead Chefcookbook along with operating Inn Serendipity B&B and Farm, completely powered by renewable energy. Kivirist also authored Soil Sisters. As a writer, Kivirist contributes to MOTHER EARTH NEWS, most recently, Living with Renewable Energy Systems: Wind and Solar and 9 Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living. They live on a farm in southwestern Wisconsin with their son, Liam, and millions of ladybugs. Read all of Lisa’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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