Fish has always been a popular and healthy source of protein, and two of the most commonly consumed types of fish are walleye and cod. Both are delicious, nutritious, and offer a host of health benefits. However, they are quite different in appearance, habitat, taste, texture, nutritional value, mercury levels, and cost. In this blog post, we’ll take an in-depth look at the differences between walleye and cod to help you decide which is better for you.
What is Walleye?
Walleye (Sander vitreus) is a freshwater fish species native to North America, particularly in the Great Lakes region and the northern parts of the United States and Canada. It is a member of the perch family and is highly valued by anglers for its delicious taste and challenging sport fishing.
Walleye is a relatively large fish, typically growing to a length of 20-30 inches (50-75 cm) and weighing between 2-10 pounds (0.9-4.5 kg). It has a distinctive, elongated body shape with a large mouth and sharp teeth. The back of the walleye is olive green or brown, while the sides are a lighter gold or yellow color. It gets its name from the reflective layer behind its eyes, which gives them a distinctive “walleyed” appearance.
Walleye are known for their excellent eyesight, which allows them to see in low-light conditions and to hunt for prey such as small fish, insects, and crayfish. They are typically found in large, deep lakes and rivers with clear water and rocky or sandy bottoms, and they prefer to feed near the bottom.
In addition to being a popular game fish, walleye is also a sought-after food fish. Its flesh is white, flaky, and mild-tasting, making it a versatile ingredient in a variety of dishes. It is commonly prepared by grilling, baking, or frying, and is often served with butter, lemon, and herbs.
What is Cod?
Cod is a saltwater fish that is found in the northern Atlantic Ocean, particularly in the waters of the North Atlantic, the Arctic Ocean, and the Baltic Sea. There are several different species of cod, but the most common and well-known is Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua), which is widely consumed and fished commercially.
Cod is a relatively large fish, typically growing to a length of 2-3 feet (60-90 cm) and weighing between 5-10 pounds (2.3-4.5 kg), although some individuals can grow much larger. It has a distinctive elongated body shape, with a broad, flat head and a slightly pointed snout. Its color varies depending on its habitat and age, but is usually brownish or greenish-gray on the back and sides, with a white belly.
Cod is a predatory fish that feeds on small fish, crustaceans, and other invertebrates. It is found in a variety of marine habitats, including deep sea, rocky reefs, and sandy bottoms. In recent years, the populations of some cod species have declined due to overfishing and habitat destruction, leading to concerns about the sustainability of commercial fishing practices.
Cod is prized for its mild, delicate flavor and flaky texture, which make it a versatile ingredient in a wide range of dishes. It is commonly prepared by baking, broiling, or frying, and is often served with lemon, butter, and herbs. Cod is also used to make salt cod, a preserved form of the fish that is commonly used in Mediterranean and Caribbean cuisine.
Walleye vs Cod: What’s The Difference?
Appearance and Habitat
Walleye has a distinctive appearance that sets it apart from other freshwater fish. It has a sleek, slender body that is olive-green in color with a white belly and sharp teeth. Its eyes are large and reflective, which allows it to see well in low light conditions. Walleye are found in freshwater lakes and rivers throughout North America and prefer clear, cool waters with rocky or sandy bottoms.
Cod, on the other hand, has a more traditional fish appearance. It has a long, slender body with a brownish-green back and a white belly. It has a large, bony head and sharp teeth. Cod are found in the cold, deep waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and prefer sandy or gravelly bottoms.
Taste and Texture
The taste and texture of walleye and cod are quite different. Walleye has a distinctive flavor that is often described as sweet and nutty. It has a delicate, flaky texture that is similar to other freshwater fish like trout or perch. Walleye is a versatile fish that can be prepared in many ways, including grilling, baking, frying, or broiling.
Cod, on the other hand, has a mild, slightly sweet flavor with a firm, dense texture. It is a popular fish for making fish and chips, fish tacos, and other fried dishes. It can also be baked, broiled, or grilled.
Both walleye and cod are nutritious sources of protein that offer a host of health benefits. Walleye is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for heart health. It is also high in vitamin B12, which is important for the nervous system and brain function. Walleye is also a good source of selenium, a mineral that is important for immune function and thyroid health.
Cod is also a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. It is high in vitamin B12, which is important for brain function and nervous system health. Cod is also a good source of phosphorus, a mineral that is important for bone health, and niacin, a B vitamin that is important for energy production.
One important factor to consider when choosing fish to eat is mercury levels. Mercury is a toxic metal that can accumulate in fish and cause health problems if consumed in high amounts. Both walleye and cod have low to moderate levels of mercury, but walleye from some lakes and rivers can have higher levels. It is important to check local advisories and guidelines for safe consumption of fish in your area.
The cost of walleye and cod can vary depending on where you live and where the fish is sourced from. Generally, walleye tends to be more expensive than cod. This is partly due to the fact that walleye is a freshwater fish that is more difficult to catch and transport than cod, which is often farmed or caught in larger quantities.
Other factors that can affect the cost of walleye and cod include seasonality, availability, and demand. In some areas, walleye is considered a delicacy and is only available during certain times of the year, which can drive up the price. Cod, on the other hand, is available year-round and is more widely consumed, which can make it more affordable.
So, which is better: walleye or cod? Ultimately, the answer depends on your personal preferences and dietary needs. If you prefer a mild, slightly sweet flavor and firm texture, cod may be the better choice for you. If you enjoy a nutty, delicate flavor and flaky texture, walleye may be more your style.
Whether you prefer the freshwater flavor of walleye or the ocean taste of cod, both fish offer unique taste and texture profiles that can be enjoyed in a variety of preparations.