Everyone knows freshness is essential to good eating. From lettuce to chicken to bread, the freshness of our food is directly linked to its quality. With fish, freshness is even more important.
Fish are fragile creatures and their quality begins to deteriorate within minutes of being taken out of the water. So, it’s essential to know how to buy fresh fish.
Where to buy fish?
Choosing where to purchase fish is as important as choosing which fish to buy. First, you want to buy fish that spends the least amount of time from the boat to the plate. Secondly, you want to buy fish that has been handled properly. Moreover, you should make sure that it's a place with a high turnover.
Fresh Fish Signs
Freshness is the key to preparing delicious seafood. Selecting the best fresh fish is easy once you know what to look for:
- The fish's eyes should be clear. If the eyes are cloudy, the fish was probably harvested more than five days ago and is beginning to get old
- The fish's interior gills should be moist and bright red. If the gills are pink or brownish gray, the fish has either been mishandled or is old. In addition, gills should be clean and clear of any mucous
- The skin should be shiny, moist, and even slippery. Also, the scales of the fish must not be missing and must be firmly attached to the skin
- There should be no unpleasant odour. Fresh fish does not smell bad. Generally speaking, it should smell moist and sea-fresh. If there is an unusual odour then the fish is probably old and should not be purchased
- The fish's flesh should be firm and elastic to bounce back when touched. If an indentation remains after the fish is touched, the fish is beginning to get soft and is probably old
- Fresh fillets or steak cuts should look moist and firm
- Don't forget to check for bruises. Dark red spots that appear on fillets indicate bruises, which are caused by mishandling. These fillets are still edible, but do not measure up to the highest quality standards
Storing Fresh Fish
It is best to cook and eat the fish on the same day of purchase. If this is not practical, after buying, wrap fish in waxed paper or place in a covered dish and store in the fridge. It is important to cook as soon as possible, although fresh fish can be refrigerated for a day or two. Frozen fish may be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months.