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Flavor and texture of many common fish

Incorporating fish into your diet is important. Fish come in many different types, flavors and textures, and are high in protein and rich in heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. Read on to learn about the flavor and texture of different kinds of fish, and find the best match for your tastes.

Fish flavors and textures

The way fish is prepared or served affects the flavor and texture of the fish. The flavor of fish can range from mild and sweet (lean) to rich and strong (fatty), and the texture can range from delicate (very flaky) to firm (very meaty). Also, mercury levels can affect which fish to eat and how often to eat them.

Fish with very low mercury levels:

  • Catfish (farm-raised) –Mild and sweet flavor with a firm texture
  • Cod – Mild flavor with a tender texture
  • Herring – Full, strong flavor and a tender texture
  • Mackerel, Atlantic (includes canned) – Medium flavor with a firm texture
  • Pollock – Mild flavor with a medium texture
  • Salmon (Atlantic and Pacific) – Rich, buttery flavor and a tender texture
  • Sardines – Full, oily flavor and a tender texture
  • Tilapia – Mild and sweet flavor with a medium to firm texture

Fish with low mercury levels:

  • Bullhead – Mild flavor with a firm texture
  • Crappie – Mild flavor with a tender texture
  • Lake herring (Cisco) – Medium flavor with a soft texture
  • Sunfish, bluegill – Mild flavor with a soft texture
  • Tuna (canned light) – Full flavor with a firm texture
  • Yellow perch – Mild and sweet flavor with a delicate texture

Fish with medium mercury levels:

  • Bass – Medium flavor with a medium to firm texture
  • Catfish (Minnesota caught) – Mild and sweet flavor with a firm texture
  • Chilean sea bass – Rich flavor and a tender texture
  • Grouper – Mild and sweet flavor, with a firm texture
  • Halibut – Mild and sweet flavor with a firm texture
  • Lake trout – Rich flavor and a tender texture
  • Marlin – Rich flavor with a firm texture
  • Northern pike – Medium flavor with a firm texture
  • Tuna (canned white) – Rich, full flavor with a firm texture
  • Tuna steak – Rich, full flavor and a firm texture
  • Walleye – Mild flavor and a firm texture

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