When making Gravlax, a mixture of sugar and salt is used to coat the fish and cure it. After the curing time has passed, the curing mixture is washed off together with any spices used and the excess fluids secreted from the fish.

Does the sugar penetrate the fish and add to the caloric value of the final product, or is it used only to draw fluids away and is all washed away? And if yes, to what extent?

A similar question goes about the salt and sodium content of the final product.

  • Interesting question, despite all the salmon I've cured I have no idea. You could determine it through some measurements though, by measuring salmon before and after curing, factoring in the moisture lost and the weight of the sugar/salt used.
    – GdD
    Commented Jun 16, 2020 at 8:56

1 Answer 1


The salt and sugar used in gravlax will largely be absorbed into the salmon. Gravlax doesn't produce a lot of brine, and in my experience none of the dissolvable components of the surface treatment remain undissolved after curing.

  • 1
    really, there's usually a large amount of sludge made of salt, sugar and liquid after curing ?
    – Max
    Commented Jun 15, 2020 at 22:01
  • 1
    In the latest batch I did I lost slightly more than 20% in the final product. Starting with a 980 gr. piece of fish, adding 100 gr. of sugar and salt each and spices in addition. After washing I had 780 gr. of gravlax, (~36 hours in the fridge) and there were a lot of fluids. So at least for me, It did produce a lot of liquids and there was a thick layer of salt, sugar and spices on the fish to wash off.
    – SIMEL
    Commented Jun 15, 2020 at 22:02
  • There's some, but not much compared to the residual water in the fish. (Compare something like kimchi.)
    – Sneftel
    Commented Jun 15, 2020 at 22:03

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