Saturday, February 5, 2011

Salt in Costco Wholesale almonds, Trident Seafood fish sticks

Blanched almonds.Image via Wikipedia
Blanched almonds, like those sold at Costco Wholesale.


A half-dozen or so roasted almonds are one of my favorite snacks -- alone or with fruit and cheese -- and I rely on Costco Wholesale in Hackensack for these crunchy treats.

But in looking at labels, I've discovered that the more expensive Kirkland Signature Marcona blanched almonds from Spain have twice as much salt as the Kirkland dry-roasted almonds from California.

A 28-gram or 1-ounce serving of the Spanish almond contains 9% sodium, compared with 4% for the same serving size of the California almond (on the daily value scale). 

The former costs $7.99 for 17.63 ounces, while you'll pay $8.89 for 40 ounces of the latter. They are both delicious.

I believe Costco sells a 3-pound bag of raw, unsalted almonds, but I've never bought them or checked out the label. Next time.

Update (2015)

For the last couple of years, we've been buying the raw almonds at Costco to cut down on our sodium intake, and roasting them in the oven at 275 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

After they cool, we put them in a container on our kitchen counter and dust them with plenty of ground Saigon Cinnamon, also available at Costco.

Fish shtick

Costco is the only retailer I know that publishes a magazine, and the February 2011 issue  of Costco Connection has an upbeat story on Trident Seafoods, the Seattle, Wash., company that supplies fish sticks and other products to the warehouse store.

I read about The Ultimate Fish Stick from Trident and asked my wife to pick up a package this week. Four pounds or 60 breaded fish sticks are $12.99. 

I prepared some last night. I found them tasty, but think the name is overblown. 

They are finger-length and cut from fillets of snow-white Alaska pollock, the largest wild fishery in the United States. 

Pollock tastes like cod, but is cheaper. Salted pollock, for example, retails for about half the price of salted cod.

A sad footnote is a 2008 incident that killed 120,000 wild king salmon when they were caught in pollock nets, according to "Four Fish, The Future of the Last Wild Food," a new book by Paul Greenberg.

The Trident package calls the fish sticks "crunchy" and "more fish, less breading." They are 65% fish, but they weren't crunchy. 

I didn't preheat the oven to 475 degrees, so that may have been a problem, though I baked them for much longer than indicated in the directions. 

Costco also sells Trident's tilapia-fillet fish sticks, but the package doesn't say whether they are made from farmed fish. They appear bigger than the pollock fish sticks. 

I've seen wild-caught tilapia at H Mart, the Korean supermarket chain, but most tilapia is farmed. It also is called St. Peter's Fish.
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  1. Found you through Foodie Blogroll. I've enjoyed reading your blog posts. As another that tries to feed my family whole foods, and frequents Costco and Whole Foods for some of my sources...I am happy to find a blog that does food reviews.

    We've been quite happy with the Pacific Salmon Burgers at Costco (Trident - Wild Pacific Salmon). Those were a new find.

    Excited to be a new follower here!!

    Denise @ Creative Kitchen

  2. Thanks for your comment, Denise.

    We like those salmon burgers, too.

    I heated those fish sticks at 475 degrees, as the package says, and they were crunchier and tastier than last time, when I mistakenly used 400 degrees.

    When I can't find fresh wild-caught fish at Costco, I prepare the frozen stuff -- mahi-mahi and sockeye salmon -- by steaming them with an Asian marinade or just lemon juice and seasoning.

  3. I have recently eaten the Panko Breaded Tilapia Fillets that I found out after eating are a farmed and imported fish fillet. I cooked them per the conventional oven method at 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes. I ate them with a different condiment each time, tartar sauce, ketchup and fresh tomato salsa. As far as taste goes they seemed fine. However I started feeling nauseated within 20-30 minutes of consuming the fish. The first time I had eaten them I could not say what might have made me feel ill but it was serious as my symptoms woke me up within 1-2 hours. The second time I had only one fillet and had symptoms of nausia gas and bloating. The third time figured out it was most likely this fish. I had symptoms as bad as the first including nausia vomiting, gas, bloating, diarrhea, muscle cramps and headache. I eat sushi regularly and eat other products that this company sells without problems. I have been trying to find out what might make me sick after complete cooking, whether it is heavy metals, toxin producing micro organisms, contaminated feed the fish are eating or contaminated water where the fish are raised. I have done much reading on this subject and it is hard to narrow down because these fish are gathered from multiple farmers and processed in massive quantities. Here are a couple links on the industry -

  4. I try to avoid farmed tilapia. The Costco fish sticks I eat are made from wild-caught Alaskan pollock. I love them and have never had a problem.

  5. Also, farmed fish from the US are generally recommended over foreign fish.

  6. Has anyone ever noticed a chemicaly taste, sometimes like a glue, in the Costco packaged raw almonds. and today there was a different weird taste/smell from the blanched almonds in the mixed nuts. So strong I had to spit it out and rinse my mouth.

  7. I've had one or two raw, but always roast all 3 pounds in the oven at 275 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes. I stopped buying mixed nuts or anything else to avoid sodium. The Costco raw almonds have nothing added. You should go back for refunds if you taste anything funny.

  8. My husband ate the dry roasted almonds and got serious food poison!

    1. Sorry to hear that. We've been buying 3-pound bags of raw, sodium-free almonds from Costco ($12.99 each), roasting them at home and dusting them with Kirkland Signature cinnamon.

  9. I do like the Costco a trident fishsticks but ignore the instructions: preheat your oven grill or barbecue to 400, place fishsticks on preheated grill for 10 minutes. Turn and grill for another 10 minutes. Serve immediately- 6 sticks per person is the recommended portion. Crunchy and tasty!

  10. I have eaten the Costco trident fish sticks twice now since purchasing them. Both times I did not feel very good after eating them. Sleepless nights, tossing and turning a general feeling of being on the edge of being really sick. Anybody else? Maybe I got a bad batch?

    1. I have some in the freezer and looked at the back of the bag. The fish sticks have to be cooked, not just heated up. I've never had any problem with them when following the directions, and usually do them in a conventional oven until they crisp up outside and sizzle.


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