Category Archives: Fishy facts

Curb the carbs at breakfast time

When it comes to the first meal of the day there is no shortage of mixed messages as everyone has a view on what’s healthy, and what’s not.

Take cereal, for instance. Marketed as a healthy start to the day it’s a quick and easy option yet the irony is that many of the ready-to-eat cereals found in shops and supermarkets throughout the UK are full of carbs, high in sugar and arguably the worst way to start your day.

So, what’s the alternative for those who are high on hunger but low on time in the mornings?

Quite simply, it’s protein.

Scrambled egg and smoked salmon on toast

Protein reduces hunger as it’s filling and means that you consume less food. It also takes more calories to digest so the more you eat (in tandem with reducing your carb intake, of course), the more energy your body burns to process it.

And that’s why smoked salmon is the ideal protein partner. After all, it’s ready-to-eat, so you don’t have to spend precious morning time preparing it like you would do with other protein sources such as sausages and bacon. It’s also lean and delicious, too.

But what do I eat it with?

Smoked salmon works well on its own, accompanied by a sprinkling of pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. But if the thought of going ‘carb cold turkey’ or ‘binning the bread’ is too much to bear, then you can complement your smoked salmon with a low carb option – such as rye bread, which is both delicious and filling.

If time is on your side then you could of course go for smoked salmon and scrambled eggs or even add smoked salmon in an omelette. Both options are healthy and will leave you feeling full without depending on sugars to power you through your day.

For a full range of smoked salmon breakfast options click over to our smoked salmon  category.

John Ross Jr master smoker lighting traditional kiln

The rise of smoked salmon

Despite being around for centuries (John Ross Jr’s brick kilns, for example, were smoking salmon as far back as 1857) smoked salmon is now the most popular it has ever been.

Why then has it taken so long for it to become a popular dish not just within the UK but also worldwide? Recent reports suggest that since 1993, the value of farmed salmon has risen by five times and the worldwide retail value of Scottish farmed salmon is currently over £1 billion.

Now, in 2014, those looking to buy smoked salmon online are faced with a huge range of smoked salmon and smoked fish products. So, what’s behind this massive leap in demand?

Having smoked salmon for decades we’ve seen a number of peaks however this trend only seems to be going one way. Here are three points as to why we think smoked salmon continues to rise in popularity.

1.    Less luxury, more lifestyle

The days of smoked salmon being reserved purely for the festive season now seem to be over. Whilst sales are still very much seasonal (according to a recent story Sainsbury’s predicts that it will sell over 1.7 million packs of smoked salmon at Christmas), smoked salmon has become more accessible and faces greater demand all year round. From ready-made party snacks and canapés to an abundance of sushi platters now available everywhere, smoked salmon now has a wider presence in shops, delis and supermarkets throughout the UK.

2.    ‘Foodies’ are growing in numbers

Not only are tastes changing but attitudes to quality of food are, too. There is now a growing move towards quality over quantity and people are increasingly committed to buying food with a rich history and strong provenance. Food is becoming less about function. It’s now about pleasurable experiences, socialising and, of course, the taste. Smoked salmon sits across all three.

3.    It’s healthy

In an age where people are more conscious than ever before about what they put in (or what they don’t put in) their body, smoked salmon is very much at home. A high protein content combined with the fact that it’s a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids make smoked salmon a healthy – and tasty – food.

As smoked salmon’s popularity rises so too does the number of producers looking to capitalise on this surge in demand. If you’re looking to buy salmon online we would recommend that you make sure it’s locally sourced from the cold, clear waters of sustainable farms – preferably off the coast of  North West Scotland  where it is rugged and remote. Here, the salmon will be hand reared and fed by hand and the farms’ low stocking densities will ensure that the fish have the room to move freely and grow up healthily.

Finally, to fully ensure you buy a smoked salmon packed with a natural smoky flavour and tender texture, choose a smoked salmon that has been naturally cold smoked in traditional brick kilns if possible – a notable difference in the final taste.

The Art of Smoking

John Ross Jr's Master Smoker lights the traditional red brick kilns, which date back to 1857 and have been listed by Historic ScotlandIf you’re looking to buy smoked salmon then make sure you choose one that is traditionally prepared using time-honoured techniques and delivers a rich, succulent smoky flavour and a firm texture.

After all, smoking salmon is not a scientific process. It’s a craft and one that John Ross Jr has developed for over 150 years. Using traditional brick kilns dating back to 1857, here’s how we do it:

  •  The salmon arrives on boats in Aberdeen’s harbour and is then taken to the smoker
  • Each fish is then hand filleted and dry salted
  • Once the dry salting has finished the salmon are rinsed off and sprinkled with Demerara sugar
  • The salmon are then hung in brick kilns to be cold smoked over a unique blend of oak and beech chippings. With our traditional smoked salmon this is all we use to create its distinctive flavour although our specialist flavours require a little something extra. Our Tea Smoked Salmon is smoked over Lapsang Souchong Tea whilst our Balvenie Whisky Smoked Salmon is infused with Balvenie Whisky.
  • Depending on a number of factors including weather and climate, the salmon is then smoked for up to 24 hours
  • The Master Smoker then inspects each salmon by lightly squeezing the tail. By doing this, he knows whether or not they need to be smoked for longer

The entire process is down to an intuitive technique that has developed over years and years of smoking; the result of which has made John Ross Jr the connoisseur’s choice throughout 36 countries across the globe.