Consider adding Michigan whitefish to your healthy diet for the new year

Michigan Whitefish is a great choice for those wanting to eat local and healthy food.

If you are looking for new recipes that feature local, healthy foods, consider whitefish. Michigan whitefish is a versatile fish for cooking with a light, mild flavor that even people who don’t like to eat fish can enjoy. Whitefish can be prepared in a variety of ways, including frying, steaming, smoking, grilling and pickling. The health benefits of eating whitefish include the consumption of heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids and lean protein.

Michigan whitefish can be found across the state, fresh or frozen, at many fisheries, grocery stores and restaurants; however, Michigan whitefish is not offered at all vending locations. Consumers may want to talk with restaurant chefs and grocery store managers about adding Michigan whitefish to their product offerings. The Michigan Sea Grant Program and the Michigan State University Product Center helped a cooperative of Michigan fisherman develop the Legends of the Lakes  brand. Legends of the Lakes frozen, boneless whitefish filets can be found at several retail and wholesale outlets.

The Michigan Sea Grant Program, a collaboration between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University that helps to foster economic growth and protect Great Lakes resources, released a cookbook of Great lakes Whitefish recipes. The cookbook is a collection of recipes from chefs, fisherman and culinary educators based in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. It is available for ordering online.

Kendra Wills, Michigan State University Extension community food systems educator based in Grand Rapids, Mich., feels that one of Michigan’s signature dishes is whitefish. She said, “One of my favorite events in the summer is attending a fish boil at Cherry Point Farm and Market located in Hart, Michigan. This year I’m going to add whitefish to my winter menu at home. We are so fortunate to live next to the largest freshwater system on Earth. I’m going to try to support our local fisherman and eat more Michigan whitefish.”

For more information about Great Lakes fish and ecosystem, visit the Michigan Sea Grant website; for information on Michigan-grown fruits and vegetables, visit the Michigan Fresh website and the MSU Extension website.

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